Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
It's hard to quantify the success of the software exactly but, from a time perspective, it was an improvement. We didn't complete the project using Leale Solutions because of budget constraints but, what they did for us helped eliminate many of the mistakes in our operations and helped us see certain elements in a new way.
How did Leale Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?
They became part of the overall project management process in our company. We use JIRA for all of our meetings and project management. We created a wiki for Leale Solutions, through which they could look at all of our notes. The daily collaboration with their developers helped us significantly.
My biggest concern when employing them was whether their developers could work with our company despite the difference in time zones. During our working hours, it's late at night in their region. I left the coordination mostly up to our applications development manager and architect. Overall, it proved to be a good experience.
What distinguishes Leale Solutions from other providers?
Our company proposed the direction that we considered most beneficial to us. In many cases, development firms would come in, listen to what we had to say and make that implementation, without proposing alternatives. Leale Solutions listened to what we had to say and came back with what they thought would work better for us. They made suggestions for reducing the development time while still getting to the goal. This has been a big plus in my mind. They were willing to stick their neck out and go against the grain.
Steven Bowman, their chief operations officer, seems to have a different set of strengths to their CEO. He was very adept at warehousing, mobility, and other elements with which we were just becoming familiar.
One of the companies I used to work for outsourced development to India. It was a disaster. People worked in 12-hour shifts, switching between working days and nights. With the first chance they got, developers would switch to day shifts. We always interchanged people as a result, which pushed our projects back. Leale Solutions have been able to hold their staff intact. Two years after I first worked with them, the same people are still there, which is highly unusual. Just like in the case of a sports team, if the status quo can be maintained, the group will be stronger.
Is there anything Leale Solutions could have improved or done differently?
At the time, they were more of a startup firm. We communicated directly with the developers, and they seemed to be weaker from a project management perspective. Now, they seem to have developed a much larger development staff. The biggest issue was to do with their overall processes. They've sorted this out since that time. Leale Solutions have brought on a couple of business analysts and project managers.
Engagement is key when dealing with a software developer. The client needs to know what the end results will be. It's important that they're open to the path that will get them there. Too often, in the development world, applications managers and the chief technology officer will know what's best. The IT [information technology] world is changing very fast, so IT consultants and contractors will tend to be on the leading edge of things. There are many different ways of getting from point A to point B, and it's very important to be open to listening to other solutions.
The overall management team of Leale Solutions was composed of people who had a vast business perspective. Their firm is now branching out to developing their own products.