Tech Strategy and Implementation for Web & Mobile

We work with a small number of long-term clients, so you'll work directly with our founder and CEO to determine which technology stack is best for your product and whether Lockstep is a good fit. Looking to build your MVP, integrate services across multiple APIs or improve the scalability of your existing application?

Depending on your needs we will either make our engineers available on a flexible month-to-month retainer basis, estimate a fixed price for your build or recommend appropriate alternative firms if our core competencies don't align with the needs of your venture.

Lockstep was born out of the same frustration you're likely feeling now—it is extraordinarily difficult to find competent engineering talent at a reasonable cost even if you know what you are looking for...which you may not. Do you need Rails or Django? Or was that Drupal? Why is one firm estimating $10K and another $100K for the same project?

Stymied by these questions (and having blown a significant chunk of money screwing it up) our founder Paul abandoned his initial VC career to pursue web development full time, working under a talented Bank of America technologist and fighting into the top 1% of freelancers on vWorker (now Freelancer.com) before founding a series of B2B companies as CTO (most recently Lockstep Labs).

Paul's business-oriented, entrepreneurial background combined with his strong technical training and his rock-solid team of 15 full-stack web and mobile engineers make for a compelling long-term partner for your venture. We love to talk tech even if you don't have an immediate need, so feel free to get in touch even (and especially) if you are just starting to wade into the challenging world of custom software.

 
$25,000+
 
$50 - $99 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2015
Show all +
Boulder, CO
headquarters
other locations

Portfolio

Key clients: 

NOTE - Site availability may vary (depending on age of this list/summary):

TrustBooks: Cloud Accounting - www.trustbooks.com |

Pathgather: Enterprise Learning - www.pathgather.com |

Bungalow: Renters Insurance - www.bungalowinsurance.com |

Quick Key: Mobile Assessments - get.quickkeyapp.com |

Coming soon (Feb/March 2018):

AfterThird: app.afterthird.com |

Tressle: www.tressle.com

Reviews

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Platform Dev & Support for Clinical Trials Services Company

“Their ability to be more than just a development firm is incredibility helpful.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Mar. 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Lockstep Labs developed a sales platform and communication channel. They advised the design process and delivered a product per the finalized wireframes. They provide ongoing software support and maintenance.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Brooklyn, New York
Jason Moreland
Co-Founder, CoraMed Solutions
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Lockstep Labs guided a startup company through the development process and delivered a high-quality platform. Customers appreciate the software’s unique functionality and flexibility. Executive-level engagement adds a collaborative dynamic to the project that yields innovative solutions.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the co-founder of CoraMed Solutions. We work in the clinical trial services space to create a sales channel between pharmaceutical companies and clinical supply manufacturers.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Lockstep Labs?

Key elements of our business model include enablement through technology and the digitization of processes. However, neither I nor my co-founder had a technological background. We needed an outside firm to develop our platform and maintain it after launch.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Lockstep Labs built our custom software solution from the ground up. The platform is intended for different stakeholders in the clinical trial services industry to create profiles and develop sourcing plans that inform their decisions. We drafted some initial design mock-ups and Lockstep Labs helped us figure out how to build everything from there. This included advising our final round of design review and detailing the functionalities that would need to be built into the platform. They’re responsible for figuring out how the software manages data, integrates systems, and drives communication between users. We specifically required a solution with the flexibility of allowing anonymity, but also the capability to share buyer and seller information depending on the project.

Lockstep Labs has been a crucial partner throughout the process. They worked within a relatively complex space to deliver the platform per our specifications. They’re receptive to our ideas regarding script sequencing and work within allotted timeframes. Their founder even acted as our interim CTO during conversations with customers. Having a technical voice in the room to hear, understand, and react to client concerns supported our efforts to obtain new business. This kind of face-to-face customer engagement enables them to incorporate constructive feedback into future feature designs and other types of roadmap planning activities.

What is the team composition?

Their CEO and two developers are our primary points of contact.

How did you come to work with Lockstep Labs?

We initially found them through the design firm we hired to create the platform’s UI/UX mock-ups. They connected us with several development firms to consider and interview. After talking with 4-5 different companies, Lockstep Labs caught out attention with their focus on working with startups. They understood our needs and had the flexibility to scale their resources up or down as the project evolved. Furthermore, their CEO’s willingness to support us by talking to clients was a significant selling point. Finally, their ability to commit resources to a long-term engagement sealed the deal for us. We knew the platform would likely need to be refined upon launch and didn’t want to hire another team to provide that service.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent around $100,000 thus far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in March 2018 and the engagement is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They worked within our incredibly aggressive timeline and delivered a functional platform in as little as four months. Then, they helped us launch the tool and immediately started working on the second phase of developments. We’re in the early stages of our business in terms of revenue, but what’ve gotten positive responses from clients regarding the product’s current iteration. Lockstep Labs’ work is a vital component to that success.

How did Lockstep Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

We hold meetings with them twice a week and they’ve been super helpful in guiding us through the process. We ask a lot of questions, so they’ve taught us about sequencing approaches and our platform’s technical requirements. They manage to reliably hit deadlines as we develop more complex features. Our needs seem to be ever-changing, but they’ve done a great job of delivering what the project requires. Jira and Slack are our primary communication tools, but we also use WebEx for video conferencing.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I’ve seen other development companies take a roughly sketched UI and build it exactly as they see it without any thought involved. Lockstep Labs takes an active role in our projects and can think on their own to solve issues. They help my team better understand the technology being used and frequently suggest ways to improve the final product. They’re also forthcoming with communication and make themselves readily available during evening hours. Their ability to be more than just a development firm is incredibility helpful.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

While they’ve been able to provide some design work for us, development is their true strength. We used another third-party firm for most of the design work and that approach has worked well. Considering all parties involved were open to the idea, we had Lockstep Labs join our later design meetings to provide technical feedback and guidance regarding our approach to everything. This strategy helped us proactively identify design issues and facilitate a seamless programming phase.

5.0
Overall Score Their CEO’s involvement brings a personal element to the engagement.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We’re appreciative of the value we’re getting for the money.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Their products are better than anything else I’ve seen so far.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve referred them several times.

Custom Software Development for Trust Account Application

“The team was there for us every step of the way and were fantastic.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Lockstep Labs developed a custom accounting software platform, working from mock-ups and then conducting all the coding and development work required.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Raleigh, North Carolina
Tom Boyle
Co-Founder, TrustBooks, LLC
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The product has been excellent, meeting all the requirements and demonstrating the success of the team’s development work. The ongoing collaboration is a testament to the team’s skill and expertise, as they provide advice, communicate well, and execute projects quickly and professionally.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m a co-founder of TrustBooks which is accounting software for lawyers’ trust accounts. We help law firms simply and easily manage their trust accounts and stay compliant with their state bar.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Lockstep Labs?

We wanted to develop software, but we’re all non-technical, so we needed to find a development team to build the app from the ground up.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We came to them with design mock-ups, which they took and figured out the coding and development for the entire product, and established how it would work. We’re a Software-as-a-Service business and needed a login portal and application that our users could go to on daily basis. In our market, trust accounts can be a scary and overwhelming concept for attorneys, so are a big deal. Mistakes with them are the number one way they can get disbarred. We couldn’t simply create an MVP and hoped that it worked most of the time. The math and logic had to be 100% right, all of the time. This was a challenge and was really at the forefront when we were thinking through the development side.

What is the team composition?

We haven’t locked into a retainer model which was how it evolved. We go through development sprints and we keep a backlog, then every month or so we figure out what items we need for the sprint. We then have a conference call and decide who is needed to make up the right number of hours for a sprint, set the priority levels, and go from there.

How did you come to work with Lockstep Labs?

We were one of their first clients. I found them through my network and really appreciated the combination of resources they brought to the table. We could leverage the development team overseas while communicating with Paul.

How much have you invested in them?

We’ve spent around $60,000 so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in early 2015 and the relationship is ongoing. They’re still our development team.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We’ve had no issues with our product, which I think that is a testament to how it has been developed and how it has been managed. We also have more challenging integration type projects in place for the future and they are our team to go execute on all of those.

How did Lockstep Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

The team was there for us every step of the way and were fantastic. They’re a development team, but more than that, they were a sounding board that we leaned on. It’s a real bonus for us to develop and brainstorm together to figure out the right strategy, and then their team executed it.

If any challenges did occur, they were very in making sure that they were resolved, with solutions rolled out and communicated across our user base. We used Basecamp at first and it worked well.

What did you find most impressive about them?

There is a really good balance of being able to brainstorm, collaborate and leverage their team to go execute. It has been a huge win for us and really makes us feel comfortable and confident that we have a good development partner.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No. We’re very happy.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

The kickoff calls are very helpful. Before we go into a development sprint, we jump on a call and spend an hour with the Lockstep team to kick off the sprint. This helps align everyone on the same page with expectations when rolling out or upgrading a new feature.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have already recommended them to plenty of friends.

Ruby on Rails Dev for Parenting Startup

"They invest in their own methods and help clients reap the benefits."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Oct. 2017 - Mar. 2018
Project summary: 

Lockstep Labs created a service marketplace MVP using Ruby on Rails, transforming conceptual designs and market research into a responsive e-commerce platform with chat functionality and engagement rubrics.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Jersey City, New Jersey
Karolina Belwal
Founder, OneHatched Co.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The ready-to-launch platform has attracted overwhelmingly positive user feedback on its modern aesthetic and intuitive navigation. Lockstep Labs’ accessibility, thoughtful advice, and strategic build plan contributed to a successful partnership.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I’m the CEO and founder of OneHatched Co., a company focused on providing support and services to new parents. Our main product is AfterThird, a marketplace for services for new and expecting parents. I don’t currently have any employees, so I am responsible for all aspects of building the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Lockstep Labs?

I hired Lockstep Labs to build my minimum viable product (MVP), a service marketplace. My company is a single-founder startup, so Lockstep Labs took the place of a CTO within my limited budget. I brought market research and conceptual designs to the engagement.

What were your goals for this project?

I needed to build a robust, friendly, marketplace MVP leveraging responsive design, e-commerce capabilities, and chat functionality. The marketplace had specific rules for engagement across users and for information handling and visibility. We used Ruby on Rails.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

An acquaintance recommended Lockstep Labs after using their services. I interviewed a few other companies and contractors suggested by a staff-augmentation agency. From the beginning, Lockstep Labs stood out. Paul (CEO, Lockstep Labs) spoke with me several times before we finalized a contract and answered all of my technical and best-practice questions. I had a fair understanding of his approach and appreciated his willingness to act as an advisor in addition to an implementation partner.

Describe the project in detail.

My company provided low-fidelity mockups and high-fidelity designs for a few pages. There were gaps in the design, so once work engaged, I also provided hand-drawn mockups for the missing pages. We started by working on the designs and figuring out which pieces to build first. Paul took the lead in suggesting the build plan.

The whole process was agile, which offered many points of communication and feedback. Paul gave valuable recommendations about usability and customer experience in addition to technical suggestions as we went through the build. They tracked the project through Jira, and I was involved in all key decisions. The developers at Lockstep Labs did a great job building my MVP and keeping me informed throughout the process.

What was the team composition?

Paul was my primary point of contact. Two other developers were engaged during the project, and I interacted with them primarily through Jira. Paul coordinated everything for me and communicated with the other developers as needed. This approach worked well.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What outcomes or results can you share that demonstrate progress and/or success?

The MVP is built and ready to launch. My initial users have shared overwhelmingly positive feedback on the platform. It is user-friendly, works well, and looks professional. This experience exceeded my expectations, and I plan to continue to work with Lockstep Labs as I expand my platform.

How effective was the project management?

Lockstep Labs is professional and responsive. They managed deadlines well and communicated effectively throughout the process. We used Slack, Jira, GitHub, and Google Hangouts and connected over the phone and email. The team is offshored, but Paul is in the U.S. Since he coordinates all communication and acts as the main point of contact for the client, I did not experience any negative aspects of the offshoring.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

They prioritize partnering with their clients. Paul takes the role of an advisor. Working with Lockstep Labs is not just about hiring someone to implement or build according to certain specs. To take advantage of what they have to offer, work through design and usability decisions together and ask questions about best practices.

I also appreciated that they took advantage of available tools to improve the development process (e.g., automated testing solutions). They invest in their own methods and help clients reap the benefits.

What tips or recommendations do you have?

I am content with how the work progressed. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They're very responsive and make scheduling easy.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The price is on par with other companies. They offer different pricing plans for greater flexibility.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The MVP exceeded my expectations.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I'd recommend them without hesitation.

Custom Dev for High-Value Assets SaaS Tool

“The quality of their work has been outstanding.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Sept. 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Having developed a SaaS web app that allows car collectors to organize and manage assets, Lockstep Labs is now implementing updates and integrating additional functionalities to enhance customer usefulness.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Austin, Texas
Gary Bixler
Founder, Cache Foundry
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The app is highly reliable, showing very few code-related issues or bugs. Lockstep Labs follows timelines effectively, remains responsive, and contributes to a relaxed work atmosphere. Their attention to detail and use of test-based methodologies continue to promote the product’s advancement.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the founder of Cache Foundry. We make software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms for collectors and enthusiasts to help organize and manage their assets. Our market is classic and high-value collectible cars.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Lockstep Labs?

We needed custom development for a SaaS web application.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They took care of the development. We gave them written specifications, including features that allow end users to build selections of vehicles and add/edit information, as well as add tasks, parts, papers, and events into vehicle records. The first version had four or five things built out as well as an admin interface for us to manage users and the underlying data.

We’ve continued expanding the functionality beyond those initial core features and have added a lot more to enhance the app’s usefulness for the customer. They’ve used Ruby on Rails to develop the frontend, as well as JavaScript, HTML5, and Angular for the rest.

What is the team composition?

I work with their CEO and several of his developers. We normally engage with them on a weekly basis but also interact daily during active sprints or heavy development work.

How did you come to work with Lockstep Labs?

We did a search and request for quotes on the work. We interviewed five developers and chose Lockstep based on those discussions.

How much have you invested in them?

We’ve spent around $65,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working together in September 2014 and are still actively developing. It’s been released for a while, but we’re adding and releasing new features as well as conducting maintenance and implementing updates.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

I’m very pleased with how good they’ve been at hitting timelines and estimates, both of which have been about 95% accurate. We’ve had very few code-related problems or bugs, so the product is very stable.

We’re also very pleased with their ability to translate our requests into functioning code. The quality of their work has been outstanding.

How did Lockstep Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

I’m very satisfied. They’ve been very easy to work with and responsive. We use phone and email to communicate.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their quality of work is the most impressive thing. Their excellent attention to detail, code quality, and test-based methodologies are also noteworthy.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Nothing comes to mind. We’re very happy with Lockstep Labs.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

We highly recommend them.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Development for Online Insurance Platform

“Everything related to this technology gets A+ reviews.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Mar. - June 2016
Project summary: 

Lockstep Labs integrated two websites using Bootstrap, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, and MySQL and set up Amazon Web Services for hosting. They also managed technical communications with a third party.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tom Austin
CEO, Bungalow Insurance
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Lockstep’s work resulted in news articles and recognition for an industry pioneer in user-friendly websites. Customers love the dependably fast and intuitive interface, consistently giving it five-star reviews. Lockstep’s combination of U.S. business acumen and offshore pricing delivered success.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the founder and CEO of Bungalow Insurance, an online insurance platform specializing in selling renters insurance to millennials.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Lockstep Labs?

Not having a technical background, my co-founder and I put together a basic frontend website to service another landing page. Ultimately, we had to integrate with insurance companies to be able to quote their prices on our website and allow people to buy directly on our website.

We were in a bind. We had spent a lot of money on another company and they put is in a bad position. The insurance company had a timeline for integration. They had their development resources lined up and it wasn’t moving.

We needed to get it done quickly. We needed intense, high-quality development work for 3–4 months. We also needed somebody who’d be able to interface with our insurance company partners and be credible as a skilled developer so the insurance company would be confident we were doing things capably.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We needed users to be able to come to our website and purchase insurance via direct integration with the insurance company. They did the coding and managed the process of communicating with the technical team at the insurance company. We also had them do some specific development for a dynamic frontend with dropdowns. It was done in basic Bootstrap, HTML, and CSS with some JavaScript. The backend was Ruby on Rails and MySQL.

The other requirement was that the insurance company required us to use Amazon Web Services for hosting. Another well-known development shop that we approached couldn’t implement this key element in the time frame.

We still contract with Lockstep on a monthly maintenance basis. Generally, we use 5–10 hours of Lockstep’s time per month.

What is the team composition?

Paul, the founder and CEO, is our main point of contact. He’s awesome. We worked with three other developers who are all in Thailand; one specialized in frontend and two built the backend.

How did you come to work with Lockstep Labs?

I called around to a few other places to get quotes. One of our business partners previously ran a startup with Paul before he founded Lockstep. I trusted my current business partner who said Paul would get it done. We had to do it; we didn’t have a choice, but it turned out awesome.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent $40,000 for the intense three months of development work. After that, it was an ongoing cost of $5,000 a month for another 2–3 months. Now we pay $2,000 per month for maintenance.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from March 2016 until June 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Uptime is higher than 99%. We never had an issue with the site crashing; it always works. Our user and customer satisfaction ratings are great because of the ease of use and speed of the website. All of our Yelp ratings across five geographies are five-stars.

We’re recognized within the insurtech industry as one of the original online easy to use websites. There are numerous news articles about how it’s easy to use our interfaces. Everything related to this technology gets A+ reviews.

How did Lockstep Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

Our problem working with the other development shop was that we were not experienced with managing developers. Paul understood the business problem and translated it to his developers. Everything was ahead of schedule. It was better quality than we expected. There was never a question about what was going on; the progress was clear.

During the most intense phase of development, we had a daily standup with Paul and the developers who were working on it. Before the end of the day, they communicated via Slack about what was done and what’s next. After we got everything running, our communication slowed down to phone calls once or twice per week. Now we communicate via email or Slack and we do a call once a month.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Paul is definitely the chief factor to our success. He has collected a great group of developers who are all very competent. They had the cost advantage of having several offshore developers in Thailand, but I could communicate with them through Paul and their U.S. based team. They had the context to understand U.S. problems while allowing me to get the offshore costs. That was amazing for us.

Are there any areas they could improve?

My dream for them would be to add .NET developers.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Trust Paul. We didn’t have much technical background, but it worked well for us because we trusted Paul on the technical decisions. Also, they have an insurance background and working knowledge so anyone in the insurance industry should certainly use them.

5.0
Overall Score It was all A+.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Everything was on time or ahead of schedule.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It was definitely a great value.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The website is great and exactly what I wanted.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve recommended them many times.

Web Dev for Search & Recommendation Engine

"I have been very appreciative of their candid work style, and I trust them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Sept. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Lockstep Labs developed a mobile-friendly website, executing all the frontend and backend work. They built the processes to manage the site’s daily operations as well.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York, NY
Founder, Birdie
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

They are transparent, honest partners, who are clear about expectations and adhere to project timelines. They were aware of internal limitations but still delivered a good Beta product. Although they adjusted and grew during the collaboration, there is nothing specific that they need to improve on.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the founder of a company called Birdie, which is a search and recommendations engine where users connect with people they know and trust as opposed to strangers such as on Yelp.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Lockstep Labs?

I needed to build a mobile-optimized site. I had previously had our site built as a native iOS app, but it wasn't built to my specifications or liking.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They started developing the site from scratch. They built the backend and frontend of the site. They also created the processes to manage the day to day operations of the site. If I decide to build an iOS app in the future, I will use them.

What is the team composition?

My main point of contact was Paul (CEO, Lockstep Labs). He worked with me to get the sprints put together. Sometimes other people were brought in based on their areas of expertise, so I’d go back and forth on a sprint with two people on average. I’ve probably worked with a group of three or four people throughout the collaboration.

How did you come to work with Lockstep Labs?

I was looking for a new team to help us move away from using the native app. I ended up talking to someone who recommended Lockstep Labs based on their own experience. They were also very complimentary of Paul. I take recommendations from my connections seriously, so we ended up working with them.

How much have you invested in them?

We have spent around $35,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

I started working with them in September of 2016 and we are still working together.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The site is still in Beta, but I have been happy using it. Work will increase significantly over the next few months because I’m shifting site work into a full-time project, and we are going to start working on a more mobile-optimized version of the site.

How did Lockstep Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

Their project management is fantastic, which is what I have appreciated the most. I don’t have a CTO, so Paul helped me navigate work and acted as an advisor. He knows my limitations and offered pushback when needed. He was also clear about expectations, timing, and resources.

Working with them has been a tremendous learning experience. I’ve truly appreciated Paul's patience. We communicated using email and Slack, but we mainly used Jira for communication and project management. During active sprints periods, we would have weekly calls as well.  

What did you find most impressive about them?

I have referred them to everyone I know that is looking for software developers or a technology team. When Paul’s team doesn’t have the right skillset, he refers my friends and colleagues to other people, so I know the people I refer to Paul are in capable hands. He is transparent and honest, never claiming work that his team can’t execute. I have been very appreciative of their candid work style, and I trust them.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I have been very happy with everything, so I can’t think of anything in particular that they could improve.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Rely on them as partners. They might have an interesting point of view or a different way of approaching things, but trust them to advise you. With teams I’ve worked with in the past, I would give direction and they would just do what I asked. In contrast, there is more dialogue and engagement when working with Lockstep Labs because they have so much to offer and contribute.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They were diligent about keeping to timelines. They informed us if anything was taking longer to complete than expected.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Nobody’s perfect. They had to learn certain things along the way. I also do my own QA, which I had to handle for this project.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Multiple Outsourced Dev Work for Education Software Company

“Their performance is impressive, and it continues to get better as we work together.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
June 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Lockstep works on a variety of projects. Recently, they created a peer-to-peer marketplace for quiz questions, with features such as import capabilities, item hosting, and paid subscriptions.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Boston, Massachusetts
Isaac Van Wesep
CEO, Design by Educators, Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Lockstep’s consistent and straightforward hiring model makes them a reliable and dependable partner. Customers are satisfied with Lockstep’s work, and the platform’s B2B renewal rate is at 92%.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of Design by Educators, a software company that builds solutions for teachers, school districts, and schools to do rapid quizzes in the classroom. We were founded in 2012 and launched our first product in the fall of 2013.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Lockstep Labs?

Throughout our history, we hadn’t had a technical co-founder, so we used a mix of junior-level developers, engineers, and companies. We weren’t satisfied with our previous solutions, so we realized we needed higher quality and a deeper team.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The most complex project was a peer-to-peer marketplace for quiz questions, their only greenfield project. The platform content was the quiz questions used inside our assessment tool, similar to how iTunes plays a song on a device. It had to be massively and rapidly scalable because we have 55,000 teachers serving 2.5 million students. We’ve gotten about 55 million quiz responses, so we had a lot of potential content as well as data accreting to the content over time.

The platform lets users create their own quiz items and import them from Microsoft Word or PDF files. It also allows school districts and publishers to host their own private item repositories through a paid subscription form. Item object voting and tagging were crowdsourced, as well as the actual building and posting of assessments.

What is the team composition?

Our primary team consists of Ruby on Rail engineers and a mobile engineer. The team size changes as we scale to fit needs. Ever since we hired an internal CTO, a couple of people have been added to the project.

How did you come to work with Lockstep Labs?

We knew the owner, Paul, from a previous engagement. He consulted with us before starting Lockstep Labs. The engineer we were using at the time had a lot of respect for Paul’s engineering and architectural capabilities. That recommendation and our successful past engagements contributed to hiring them. Plus, I liked the idea of hiring remote full-time developers, month-to-month.

Previously, we would create a statement of work (SOW) for a project, go through a discovery phase, and sign an agreement. That was okay, but continuity of engineers became more important as the product became more complicated. So, when Lockstep offered a different model (fulltime, consistent software engineers instead of signing a SOW), we knew they’d be great.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent $20,000 per month on their services for the past year. The total cost has been around $300,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve been working with Lockstep since the summer of 2016. The quiz project started in April 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We’ve seen a 92% renewal rate on our B2B sales in 2016, our first year of selling. Before that, we were giving the app away to teachers. Lockstep was involved in scaling up the app for enterprise sales as a software as a service. Our customers are satisfied with the product and the service.

How did Lockstep Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

We had a lot of misdirection and disorganization from our side, but Lockstep handled all our startup growing pains with grace. We hired an internal CTO, so Lockstep didn’t do any management, although their CTO oversees projects and pull requests, reviews code, and helps with architectural concerns.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The Lockstep engineers are able to handle large quantities of work, which makes our jobs much easier. Their performance is impressive, and it continues to get better as we work together.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We weren’t able to get some services from Lockstep that we needed. It would be nice for them to extend their offerings and make them more accessible. For example, we needed to match certain enterprises’ existent software architecture and data models, but we weren’t able to pay for Lockstep’s CTO to do that. We had to turn to other sources to fill that need.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

For greenfield projects, Lockstep provides everything you need. You won’t have to hire anyone else to solve straightforward technical optimization issues. Even if you just need more horsepower for your engineering team, and already have the technical lead in place, Lockstep is a great fit.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer