What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
They’re currently working on the core flow through the application, which involves about five different user personas. We’re tracking them in terms of their ability to complete each of these steps of the user flow process, and each one has been assigned a point value. They’ve been doing very well with that. Obviously, it’s always going to be slower than what I wish they could do, but they’ve been good at communicating what they can accomplish during each sprint, given the resources they have.
When I push them and ask for a little bit more, they’ve been pretty good, and they complete things well. When they finish something and we look at it from the user point of view, they’re open to our change requests. We’re on the cusp of getting user feedback, which I’m sure will cause more changes. They’re friendly about our change requests and very upfront about letting us know when those changes will happen.
How did JetRuby Agency perform from a project management standpoint?
It always takes a little bit of time to find that rhythm between two teams on a project. One of the things I found with JetRuby Agency is that when they added a business analyst to come in, take the stories, and really start decomposing, we went from moving a bit slowly to hitting lightspeed. The interactions just clicked between our teams. They definitely brought in the right people at the right time to help us go through the inputs we were giving them and translating them into something they could build, and then coming back and showing us. They’ve been very good at helping to complete that loop.
We’re using Azure DevOps for all of the project management. We can track what stories we have handed them, and we can see when they’ve allocated that in the sprint. We’re using a variety of different tools as they decompose what we give them in Azure DevOps. For instance, we use Miro Boards for a lot of the business analyst flows so that we can look at the detail of the design. We do first-stage mockups, so more conceptual designs, in Sigma. Then, we do a lot of final UX/UI workflow in InVision, and everything from there goes into the queue for front- and backend development and then gets deployed to staging. It’s a very nice flow for us of requirements and stories we give them into these levels of fidelity that deliver the product.
What did you find most impressive about them?
This is the third time I’ve gone back to them; every time, I’ve had a pleasant experience with them. They’ve not only always kept me happy but have also given me the tools to keep my management happy and the investments going as we build these tools. They’re easy to work with. I’m sure if I end up going to another company in the future and need to develop something similar, I’d go right back to them.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I’ve given them feedback over time. Getting that project management just the way we wanted was important for us, and it took some time to get that going. We’ve developed a lot of templates that took us through our iterative design. Some feedback I gave them on this project in particular is that it would be helpful to have a repository of similar templates that they could provide new clients. They probably don’t do that because it potentially contains a lot of sensitive customer information; however, if they could provide some templates of how to communicate with us, it would be helpful.
Any advice for potential customers?
Spend a little bit of time planning and don’t jump right into development. Map out your plan into something that they understand how to execute against. The first time I worked with them, we went right into development, but the second and third times, we started slower and added staff as we felt confident that we had sufficiently documented what we were trying to do.
I’d also say to bring on their business analyst from day one; we waited a little bit to do that. That particular set of resources that they have at JetRuby Agency is worth every penny. They’re the most useful way to translate requirements from our lingo and lexicon into something that they understand how to develop.