What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We did have a really tight timeline. We had to launch by August 1st because we operate under the school calendar. It was a really tight timeline and this was a huge project. We have a lot of things we track. We give out over 50,000 pounds of basic needs items a year and with 2100 students, it can mean a ton of phone calls that we have to track and a ton of services. They really were amazing. They hit the timeline no problem, and the system is so much better than what we had with Access. We are nonprofit and we have had to make do with what we have, and I think they really helped us streamline some processes which has saved staff time. The amount of data entry that we do is time-consuming, and they really helped us to minimize that and make our processes make a little more sense.
Another thing that was really fruitful is how great they have been with throwing in things that they haven’t necessarily charged us for. They recognize that we are a nonprofit and they have been willing to work with us on a budget, and I think they have built a lot more functionality than what we have paid for.
They allowed us to have all of our files digitally. We have been very paper-heavy in our program for a long time and it actually benefited us tremendously because when COVID-19 hit, it completely changed our service model because we are so in-person, school-based, and paper-heavy, and with all of us are working from home, it was really nice that they had thrown that in. We had this way to track all the things online instead which has been tremendously helpful and useful. We haven’t had to scramble to build that post. That has been pretty amazing.
How did Goji Labs perform from a project management standpoint?
Really great communication and attention to what we do, and actually care for were two very important things that we were looking for. Goji Labs has really knocked it out of the park.
They are super communicative. David met with our staff who are working on this project one to three times a week when we were getting close to launch, and now they meet once a week. I talk to him at a minimum once a month and there is a ton of email communication. I definitely think they are awesome communicators. When I have questions about billing or budget, I don’t hesitate to ask David. He is really transparent about where the cost is coming from and it has been really nice to work with developers who have that care. They really listen to us. I think our system is definitely reflective of our needs and so far, it has been working really great.
What did you find most impressive about them?
They showed an extra level of care. They built a really great system for us. I think it is really user friendly. We work with people who are 12 years old, all the way to people who volunteer for us that might be of retirement age or older with completely different levels of computer literacy. It has been really great that the system is super approachable to all of these different stakeholders which is really awesome. They have generally done a great job of that too.
Are there any areas they could improve?
They use a system called Figma to outline all of the wireframes which is really helpful because it’s visual, but a bit of learning on how to use that tool would be helpful and the only thing that comes to mind. Other than that, we did okay with Figma, but it was just a learning curve because we had never used it before.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Definitely let go of the old way of doing things.We can get so into doing things a certain way because we really want to help students and just having a little bit of a more open mind is really helpful. Goji Labs was really helpful through that, but we could have maybe just been a little more open to ideas. We did get there, but we had a little PTSD from our last developers. It is okay to let an old system go. We had spent money on three systems in the last five years or so which gets costly, but in the long run, holding onto a crappy system is going to cost the organization more. Really committing to spending the money is worth it, but it is definitely going to cost money to build a really great system that is going to be long-lasting.
People should really communicate what their needs are and not be afraid to ask all the questions. Goji Labs was super responsive and receptive to what we had to say and what we had to ask. There was no question that was off the table and that was really helpful.