Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.
I brought the architecture of the software to them. I had an idea of how I wanted it to operate, and they started building it in sprints, which we'd deploy to our customers and users. kohactive did some design work, and a lot of back-end work. It's a very complex piece of software with many user roles and permissions. We have many stakeholders in our user base that have different reasons for using it. They helped design the best UI [user interface] and UX [user experience] for our needs at the time.
They did some front-end design as we rolled it out to more users. It had to look a little bit friendlier than a minimum viable product. They didn't do any training for the software. I handled that myself.
[Editor's Note: The project also involved UX/UI work and was completed using Ruby on Rails, Anjular, and Heroku.]
How did you come to work with kohactive?
I had been working with a few freelance developers. They were terrible. I had project requirements that I delegated to a few people and, typically, things didn't work correctly, if at all. It wasn't up to my standard. I had one freelancer who was basically a fake. We kept spending money, and I never received updates. That was the last straw.
My business partner also suggested we should hire a development shop as this was going to be a bigger project than we'd thought. In March 2015, I started looking up web development firms on Google. I saw that kohactive had been rated best in the previous year. I spent a couple of hours on their site, looking through their testimonials and previous work. They worked with startups and built minimum viable products, which they actually called minimum lovable products. That term really stuck out. I would be having people using it, so it shouldn't look crude. I wanted it to be loved and to be able to log in and play with things.
I sent them a message on Sunday afternoon. I didn't expect to hear back, but I got a note that night, and we had a meeting the next morning.
I looked up John [Koht, principal and creative director of kohactive] online, and saw that he was a whiskey lover. I picked up a bottle of Chicago Whiskey, and brought it to the meeting, saying I was in desperate need of their help and wondering if they could work with me. We worked it out and signed a contract the next day.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
To date, we've invested $70,000 to 80,000 into the project.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in April 2015. The work is ongoing. We have kohactive on a monthly retainer.
We have a minimum viable product and people are using it, but we've had a lot of notoriety within the federal lab system because of kohactive's fine work. We've won many awards for our platform on a national level and more people want it. kohactive continues to enhance the existing features, and also add new things.