Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
One of the first things that was hugely important to us in selecting Hakuna was that we needed to find a team that was going to be willing to work with a development methodology approach that was not scrum, or agile, but a hybrid. A key piece of that, and the way that I like to get things done, is deploying a ticket tracking system. It was really critical that we had a daily cadence of live conversation across the pond, where the point person from both sides was going to be able to have that live conversation and basically do the sprint for the day. This meant that every day we were going over, what’s been done, what’s in process, and what’s stuck. So we always had the most accurate and up to date information about the project.
These guys were wonderfully responsive in implementing a process like that. More often than not, the other offshore teams I’ve worked with, for a variety of reasons, weren’t comfortable with a number of those variables. They weren’t necessarily comfortable with getting on the phone and speaking that way verbally. Often they weren’t comfortable utilizing a ticket system; if they attempted to use it, they weren’t sure what to write in it, so the information wasn’t necessarily actionable.
With these guys, we would never have an open queue of more than a dozen, what I would call priority 1s. Priority 1 doesn’t mean the world stops and things aren’t working, it just means that these are the most critical things for us to work on next. I never saw more than a dozen at a time, and each time I’d get up the next morning and look at the list, we were back down to three or four.
The fact that they would put together some testing support on their side also lightened the load on our side. We weren’t losing a day every time they did something where we’d show up the next morning and say, ‘No, this isn’t quite right.’ They were already taking the first cut or two at the testing. Their efficiency, in terms of the timeliness and response allowed us to meet our own deadlines and deliverables with respect to client work, which was really powerful for us. We never missed a delivery deadline together. We never had delays that put project success at risk.
What distinguishes Hakuna Matata from other providers?
At Hakuna Matata there is a real, true, personal interest their entire team shares in your success as a client. There’s a lot of lip service paid to that idea in both the American and worldwide IT services market; Hakuna Matata is one of the few companies anywhere that actually works like that.
These guys understand what relationships are, and they understand what custom technology is, and not just for some person that’s looking for an app. They get it at an enterprise solution level, because that’s the kind of work that I brought to them each time. That’s very had to come by. It’s really easy for enterprises to get sucked into the myth of just going out to any freelance website and find some hack to do something. If it messes up, I’m paying next to nothing so I can afford to pay five people to get it kind of wrong until I get it right. Anybody can try and do that, a lot of them do, and most of them end up far away from their goal. These guys really put in the right time upfront to ensure our success, and our client's success.
There were plenty of experiences I’ve had, as I was looking for good relationships, where you basically get the door opening offer. However, with many of these, you end up feeling like a hostage. It sort of numbs you into this cycle that looks never-ending. That wasn’t the case with these guys. I was able to say very clearly what we were looking to do, and they told me what it was going to take. Even when there were situations where it was going to end up taking more time or money, they were always honest about the situation, and I feel that stand-up character very much deserves to be rewarded.
Is there anything Hakuna Matata could have improved or done differently?
It’s often challenging to be able to keep tabs on what the availability schedule is of team time, being able to have the visibility of who could be available this month versus next month or whether there are pre-scheduled vacations. That kind of coordination is something that I think we all can do better on.