What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
They were much more involved in the project than we expected, and put a lot of time and effort into creating a comprehensive and cohesive brand. We’ve only been live for a few months, so it’s difficult to provide any data yet. We’ve received significant positive user feedback on the design, functionality, and usability of the app, mostly focusing on its polished look and feel.
We have explored multiple ways of getting feedback on the app’s layout, but haven’t necessarily done so for the code beyond initial impressions from our internal team, which have been positive. In terms of error rate, we’ve only had one crash on iOS, which is impressive considering the number of downloads we’ve had. We are slightly behind schedule on Android, and there are a few bugs here and there. hedgehog lab doesn’t like to release products with serious bugs, and will often work outside of normal office hours to make sure everything is fixed before releasing.
Our general ability to see what bugs are prevalent is minimal, given that hedgehog lab has done everything they can to stop them from being released. When issues did come up, they were minute oversights like a formatting, using an inconsistent font, etc.
How did hedgehog lab perform from a project management standpoint?
Everything was built through an Agile process. At the beginning of each sprint, we were told who would be working with us, what their roles and responsibilities were, and what the deliverables were supposed to be. The scrum master/project manager kept everything in check, ensuring that we were informed of any delays, or if there were any starting issues for specific team members. We were always given notice when there was an unexpected change in development like bugs that took longer to fix.
Besides email and telephone calls, we’ve often communicated via online boards like Jira Service Desk. These allow us to log bugs, reports, concerns and change requests. We have a team in the U.K. and one internationally for monitoring this 24/7. We also use Basecamp as a day-to-day management portal. Everyone has access to certain projects and discussions. We’re able to upload and share screenshots, daily recordings, and discuss the project collaboratively. We have a product owner and a client partner with whom we can check in at any time.
What did you find most impressive about them?
The most impressive thing about hedgehog lab is their unity. There is a comforting feeling that the product—our blood, sweat, and tears in terms of money invested—is in the hands of a team of people who are well-connected. They all know each other, work well together and don’t view us as just another client. We feel like a part of their team, and there’s a lot of passion in what hedgehog lab does. This is evidenced by simple things like replying to emails during weekends and getting involved in social media. They’re driven by what we’re trying to achieve, and this comes across in everything they say and do.
Not only did they understand our end-goal as a client, but worked with us towards that end-goal like they were a part of our internal team. This started what became a strong working relationship where—unlike with other service providers we’d used in the past, who said yes to everything we asked for, but didn’t bring any meaningful input outside of cost and duration—they challenged and optimized everything we put forth. They became an ad-hoc part of our team, and we worked with them as our own developers, rather than as an agency we were retaining. I’ve gotten the impression that hedgehog lab is one of us—they take on anything that impacts or damages us, our product, our brand, or our user as a priority.
Are there any areas they could improve?
When it comes to testing and QA, they have a separate division for the task. This is not a massive issue, but we’ve found that the testing team is overseeing multiple products at the same time, and doesn’t have the same level of knowledge of the product. This means that following a 48-hour QA session, there may still be issues and bugs that weren’t found. We’ve discussed this with them, and they agreed to spend less time on QA with the universal team, and more time with the individuals who know the product back-to-front.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
If the client is willing to put in extra time for testing—which would normally be assigned to the QA team—the overall result will be higher-quality testing on an expedited timeline. This is not a criticism in itself, and it ends up being a bit of a positive in hedgehog lab’s case. They were willing and able to negotiate changes in internal processes to prioritize the best interests of the client.