Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
We already had much of the solution in place when starting the work with ImageX. When we brought their team on board, it was for doing a code audit and review of the vulnerabilities that would arise with scaling up. ImageX finished that work under-budget, under-time and they over-delivered. Through their results, we identified some options for improving the product, not just simply scaling it.
We're now entering into a third phase which is looking into how we should move beyond our current platform into content syndication throughout the state and beyond. This long-term API vision is largely due to ImageX's effort and we're extremely grateful.
A lot of the work was behind-the-scenes. An important part of the effort was getting our product to an enterprise level and making sure that we were prepared for the kind of growth and scale required. It was a critical launch for us. We only had one chance to make a good impression with our new brand for the new commissioner of education, as well as the five million users within the state. ImageX made sure that our architecture and caching strategy were built to meet future demand. They were essential in setting up our Acquia solution.
How did ImageX perform from a project management standpoint?
We have an Agile development culture within our company. We use certain tools and methods for getting our work done. ImageX was willing to work around those methods. Their whole team was on board with us within a day, culturally speaking. It was as if we doubled our team overnight, without missing a beat. When it comes to meeting deadlines, they were spot-on every time. Not only have they never missed one, they've been very responsive to change requests.
I made sure that they understood our expectations from the beginning because we have to work with a government agency. Sometimes, we get requests that don't make a lot of sense. They're driven more by policy than necessity. ImageX was very flexible in keeping development going and allowing the changeover to be a back-channel type of process. Change is a linear process and every modification has to be taken through a specific procedure before even getting started on it.
We use Jira for project tracking and ticketing. We've set it up in a way which enables our project managers to coordinate closely with the ones from ImageX. Often times, this can be a bottleneck or a source of conflict, but the project managers from both our teams have been excellent. They've amounted to a unified front of highly competent people.
Slack is our primary communication tool. We've rarely had to use email because there was someone available for us directly most of the time. When we were going live, ImageX were by our side the whole time, including on weekends.
We've also used Basecamp for more formalized communication concerning specifications and exchanging documentation. It's better suited for this than Slack.
What distinguishes ImageX from other providers?
The level of trust we've established with ImageX made it seem like we were one unified team. The back-office work was handled fluidly throughout. They were constantly on time, within budget and were always flexible with us. They were a pleasure to work with, and I couldn't ask much more from a partner.
People like ImageX are hard to find. Whenever a developer becomes too big, the type of customer service we seek out goes away. We've worked with them for a period of time and hope that their culture will be maintained in the same way.
Could you share any tips for potential clients?
Any startup looking for this kind of work should look for a developer able to recognize that company's sense of urgency. There needs to be an understanding of what is truly important. Traditionally, different service or development shops tend to treat everybody in the same way, but ImageX was very good in recognizing our specific context. This is especially important for a young company: taking care of priorities and aligning towards the overall goal.
Looking for someone that is a good cultural fit is also important. We're a fluid and Agile shop, highly confident, transparent in our communications and fast-paced. We demand this from the people with which we work. ImageX has been a great fit for us.