Could you share any statistics, metrics or user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance?
Given our flexible design, the quality of the code was satisfactory. There were some communication gaps in some of the requests and requirements around unit tests, and what we would like to see delivered. Additionally, there were some problems because of poor overall upfront design on both our parts. If we had a stronger conceptual design going in, I think some of the quality reworking would not have been necessary. Our problems didn't stem from poor coding. We just had a poor design concept going in, which caused a lot of inefficiency in coding and problems with the system architecture.
The designs have been a collaborative effort. When we brought them on, the project was already in flux and had some design, but it was really changing. The right way would have been to stop and develop a detailed redesign, spec out everything that we wanted, including the look, the feel, the capabilities, and how to get those capabilities. But, we didn't do that. We immediately began working as a team with them, and consequently the design was very much in flux. So, there were a lot of things that had to be redone based on decisions made after the code was written. I don't hold that against them. It was just poor execution on our part.
There were areas on the second project where I don't think we had very good communication. Things changed, and we could have done better, but we worked through those problems. We sat down with the account management team and set clear expectations. We've been satisfied from that point forward.
Is there anything unique or special about Iflexion that really makes them stand out?
Even though they're based in Belarus, they have done site visits to maintain the relationship, and I think that really stands out as something that our other partners don't do. They really try to establish a solid rapport and efficient workflow.
In retrospect, are there areas in which they could improve?
The one challenge was that because they're based in Belarus, some of their developers do not have strong English skills and, of course, there are cultural differences. Their communication certainly could improve, both in linguistic skills and in styles of communication. We'd like to be able to reach out and ask questions more proactively. So, there were some cultural things involved but, overall, I've been satisfied with them as a partner.
What advice, if any, would you give a future client of theirs?
I would definitely say that they work really well in blended teams. I actually prefer that methodology because it provides a little bit of overall direction at the technical level. Have a strong design upfront before you engage and really understand exactly what you want to achieve. Have requirements, have mockups and things like that before you engage so you can structure the conversation. Also, have a very strong project manager on your side to manage expectations. We've had that from the beginning, and that's really helped our projects be successful. We're working in coordination with their project managers, but we're managing the projects overall ourselves.