Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
We don’t have any post-launch stats, but we’re not at the end of this project. I can tell you how many days hedgehog lab has been developing for us, but that’s not very helpful. Hopefully, later, we’ll be able to come back and say they’ve built something that’s now used by X amount of people, but not yet, unfortunately.
How did hedgehog lab perform from a project management standpoint?
We use Basecamp primarily, but we have weekly calls with their project manager and weekly reports that are very succinct. It’s a very friendly and personal relationship with Tom, our project manager. He’s fantastic. We had a slightly more distant relationship with the previous project manager, who possibly had less time. Our relationship with the new project manager is better than the last one. Other than that, I think they’re possibly equally competent. Regarding personal approach, this guy is working in the way that we like to work. We have frequent email exchanges, and we’re on Skype all the time, so we have quick communication. We feel we can call whenever we want. We use Zoom for screen sharing on the weekly scheduled calls to update us on what’s been done.
The team at hedgehog lab is perfect for staying on budget and within deadlines. In the early days of the project, there were some delays. On the budget side of things, we’ve had no noises. Personally, I think we’ve gone out of scope in a few areas, but we haven’t had any worry about the budget. The things that went out of scope were possibly in the original scope of our tender and therefore should have been included.
It has taken longer than we wanted. I think we possibly could have had better UI design, which would have made that process quicker. There have been delays on our side as well, but now that we’re in development, we’re up to speed. We’ve got a project manager we like, and it’s running very smoothly indeed.
What did you find most impressive about hedgehog lab?
The team at hedgehog is excellent in a few areas. First, their general attitude; they’re simply happy, satisfied, driven people. I think they hire good people. They keep those people happy, and that is reflected in the attitude of everyone you deal with at the firm. Their culture is fantastic. Secondly, they are not clock-watchers. They put in extra effort to get a project on time. I think they share the vision first, and that has to be the way it’s being communicated to their team. From a people perspective, hedgehog is absolutely doing the right thing, and you feel that across every aspect of dealing with them.
Regarding technical competence, I have to admit hedgehog lab is very autonomous. We do not have to be sitting there, holding their hands, and telling them what needs to be smartened up. Everything they’ve delivered so far has been very polished. They’ve been using their heads. They’ve done little UI touches that you could have specified in a lengthy document and done all the thinking for them. Instead, they’re just doing it properly from day one because they’re good people using their heads and their experience. They know the unspoken things of how it should look, how it should feel, and the little touches. That’s very refreshing to see because we’ve been with developers before who built something bare bones, and it comes out missing those little things.
Are there any areas hedgehog lab could improve?
The communication surrounding the UI at the beginning of the project was not as good as it could have been. We had to step in with some app design help at a late stage because the visual app design wasn't quite what we were looking for. I’m not sure if that’s down to particular people at hedgehog, but I felt that was a bit of a weak point. I don’t know if we could have had more meetings around that. The previous project manager had a slightly different attitude related to getting it done without much dialogue and rolling it out for us to look at. It could have been better to have more in-person or on the phone communication rather than in Basecamp. It’s not a massive issue because we got what we wanted in the end. I feel that ultimately, the way that hedgehog lab was thinking and acting over the UI was correct and very thorough. So, it was a minor issue.