Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
From my experience, you have to engage a lot with any external service provider. iTomych Studio was very receptive to this, especially their project manager. I would ask for daily calls, and I would get daily calls. It’s important for me to always work with them as if they’re my team. Igor’s other approach that I like is that he always starts with the business objective. He’ll say, “Forget about the product. Tell me what the business objective you’re trying to solve is,” and we’ll start from there. That’s something that I thought was different from similar services that I had worked with. Most of the others were very technical: “Give me the requirements,” and “What’s the product? These are the technologies or the stack that I will use to get it done.” Igor does this, but he always starts with the business side.
The third thing is speed. I was happy with the pace of work. With our product, we had to go through many iterations and things were designed in a particular way. We figured out that it was not the best workflow and that we had to change it; they helped with that. Of course, this was also a change of scope and we had to pay for it, but they were encouraged and believed in the product we were doing. They worked with us on the scope and sometimes would not charge if we had to do things again. I liked that flexibility. You have to have a very close communication line open with them; otherwise, things will slip through the cracks, or when things come back to you, it won’t be exactly what you had asked for. I was able to manage it well because I had regular, daily communication with them, which I think is important. They were very receptive to that mode of work.
How did iTomych Studio perform from a project management standpoint?
In terms of project management, we just had daily Skype calls and the frequent builds to monitor progress, but there’s no structured project management tool that we used. I don’t think this project required it; it was very informal in that nature. The project manager I worked with didn’t have very extensive project management charts.
It’s not a very complicated app, but it had its own challenges and a unique development path with all of the iterations. We had regular builds that we could test and go back to, and get a better version to work on other things. They have engineers with a good mastery of technical aspects, so they are able to use the latest technology and recommend ways in which to do things better. They were always open to suggesting newer or different ways of doing something, especially with what we were trying to achieve in terms of image processing and some complex stuff going on in the backend.
What did you find most impressive about iTomych Studio?
Of all the things that I’ve said, I would highlight two things. One is the way Igor always approaches things first by understanding the business objectives, and second is the speed. I’ve worked with a lot of other companies before, and I think these guys are very quick in their turnaround. From my experience, that has stood out.
Are there any areas iTomych Studio could improve?
If I was building a big enterprise-based system where it had a lot of functionality, we would need more elaborate project management practices to track projects. Maybe our web product will evolve to be that someday. One project manager and I could pretty much keep a handle on things here because it was a small mobile product with a technically complex backend, but not very complicated in the feature set where we needed to track a bunch of things. I haven’t seen that aspect of theirs where they have extensive project management processes that they follow, but that’s because I haven’t engaged with them in that way. It’s just my lack of knowing that part of technical development, more than anything else, with them. I can’t comment on it, but I’m hoping they are capable of it since I know there is a bigger project to do.