Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or impact of the engagement?
We continually receive complements about our current application and how easy it is to use, which is as much a testament to iTechArt’s work as it is to our internal design work. We recently had to create a 1-off version of our app on a standalone device for a tradeshow but with a ton of added features while keeping it securely connected to our backend. iTechArt was able to turn around the additional build, and the only issues we had were related to the spotty internet. The application worked perfectly throughout the event, and we were able to increase our user base 3x over the course of 10 days.
It’s hard to quantify their contribution exactly, as we’ve been going through a show-and-tell process for obtaining investment money. Much of the PR interest we’ve received has been based on the overall design, flow, and responsiveness of the app. In terms of metrics, we’ve seen a lot of stickiness, longer session times, and people coming back to the app, specifically stopping on the screens that do the heavy lifting as far as aggregating data. But, it’s a consumer-based app, and we haven’t had a huge sampling yet.
In terms of launch, we are trying for a 10,000-user waiting list and are about halfway there. It’s an investment app, so we’re trying to convert somewhere between 20%–25% of users into investors once they’re inside the app. We have been able to do this with a small sampling.
The user-base now is in the low thousands. We’re exceeding the numbers we anticipated. Once we’ve passed this mark, we will be able to quantify metrics. I attribute this increase directly to what iTechArt has done up to this point. In terms of stickiness, return users, and their ability to invest without any fall-off, everything can be attributed to the ease-of-use created by them.
How did iTechArt perform from a project management standpoint?
We have a Slack channel on which we communicate constantly, weekly Skype video check-ins featuring both our teams, and daily check-ins when the feature development gets more intense. We also speak over the phone to give quick summaries of our goals.
We send iTechArt wireframes and basic architectures for what we consider to be our home screens. We have back-and-forth conversations about their interpretations, and they offer improvisation on-the-fly for making those features work.
During a sprint cycle, we receive builds daily or every other day and discuss them over the phone. Our workflow is a living process from start to finish, not a set situation of having all the designs, mapping, and outcome completed.
In the beginning of the contract, we communicated every day. As we jumped into the work more intensely, iTechArt’s team became comfortable talking to us and vice versa, which doesn’t always happen. They stepped into a situation where sprints had taken a different pathway. Recently, we moved to a web version of the app, which is a bit different. We had the option of adding more internal developers or continuing with the main team we had at the time.
iTechArt has been able to step in for high-level problems that need immediate solutions. We can deal with a project manager for anything related to billing, changing the structure of the contract, or adjusting the amount of work we need.
What did you find most impressive about iTechArt?
We originally thought of iTech as a way to get from point A to point B, but we now see them as a team that can grow as we grow. We fully intend to utilize their engineering resources as our platform continues to expand.
iTechArt has been way better at meeting our expectations compared to our initial team, and they were more open to conversations. If any issue comes up, they communicate what the roadblocks might be and what we should be doing. We weren’t getting this from our first dev team.
They have a great ability to improvise. For example, we have changed 2–3 complex features around account balancing and put in third-party API integrations, as well as a whole new design into what we already have. Around 4–5 days ago, right before the weekend started, I sent over a design for the 2 developers to look at. They were able to mock-up something quickly, without even needing PSD or production files, and maintain the path we were taking. The ability to come up with these solutions on-the-fly, based only on some quick sketches and conversations, has been incredible. iTechArt’s process of figuring out what we’re thinking and coming back with opinions or half-built solutions has been impressive and very helpful for us as a small team with a small budget.
Our relationship has been cordial, and we haven’t had an issue aside from being late an invoice. When we weren’t immediately available, iTechArt waited and didn’t press us.
Are there any areas iTechArt could improve?
Nothing’s ever perfect. The time difference has been tough, but iTechArt has always been available through some method of conversation. They’ve been able to compensate the 4- or 5-hour time difference in order to get things done. That may be a problem in the future, but it’s a common hurdle with outsourced teams.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with iTechArt?
The more details you can articulate building the MVP, the better the relationship will be. We’ve been in situations when we had the luxury of time while developing in closed beta, and a lot of the work was based on improvisation and communication with iTechArt. If we’d been working with a smaller budget and needed to get something done in a month, I still would feel confident handing everything to them.
When working through a remote location with developers speaking a different language, the more the client can deliver upfront, the better the handoff will be.