What was the scope of their involvement?
We gave them our first contract two days before Christmas. It had a two-week deadline and it needed to be shipped in four. That was our first challenge: nobody was working in Germany because of the season, but Manufactura's team did. There have been other, smaller ones, for prototyping, each involving two to four weeks of work. They were all web projects with a focus on design rather than technology.
Manufactura designed and developed our prototype in an Agile way, maintaining its extensibility. We had an initial discussion and gave Manufactura a one-month deadline to bring the existing code we had to a production-ready stage. By that, I mean that it needed to look nice and appealing enough to be featured in Google Play and Apple Store. Manufactura redesigned our product completely and recoded the frontend.
After it was shipped, market acceptance was good, so we came to Manufactura for a second time in order to further expand the product. We planned new features and some bug fixes, extending Manufactura's involvement to actual feature implementation. Four months into the collaboration, we assigned Manufactura a part of our backend implementation. After another four months, everything was working well so we reduced our on-site staff and gave more tasks to Manufactura. It was a very good decision business-wise, but our strategy remained to test everything developed by Manufactura since outsourcing comes with risks.
The team size varies from project to project. We have a backend developer, two iOS and two Android developers, a QA resource and an overall manager with a product owner role. For smaller projects, we tried to get the work completed as fast as possible. Manufactura decided how many people should be assigned. We've made an effort to become acquainted with Manufactura's team since they would be working with our internal developers.
How did you come to work with Manufactura?
I'm from Russia, so I'm familiar with the technical scene there. I had been trying to convince the board to select the best outsourcing company possible. We tried a few others, including a German developer, and had been burned a couple of times. It was a process of trial and error, and finding Manufactura came through blind luck. I got to know the company's CEO and found that we not only had a business fit but also had similar cultures.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with Manufactura at the end of 2015. We've had one big project with Manufactura, which is still ongoing.