What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We have about three million users on our web platform, and we’ve managed to successfully engage about 120,000 monthly active users on the app. We consider that a successful collaboration.
As far as quality, currently, our Android app is several rolling releases ahead of the iOS app, so we’re attempting to solve that issue in-house.
How did MLSDev perform from a project management standpoint?
When we first engaged them, they did really well because the work was well defined and very contained. When we engaged them again to continue working on our apps, it was more challenging because the business requirements and hence backend API kept evolving. When the scope of the project is very clear, the API is stable and well documented, and the requirements don't have a high complexity, MLSDev works very well. They are able to give close estimates and work to that target.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Our initial partnership with them went really well. They gave us pretty good work on deadline at the estimated budget.
Are there any areas they could improve?
The first issue we had was when we switched over to scrum and tried to integrate MLSDev into our team. Where MLSDev has issues is generally when the scope becomes ambiguous - the API and business requirements are a work in progress and constantly evolving. Also, it's challenging for them to work on a staff augmentation model where MLSDev has to integrate into the client's processes. MLSDev really has its own processes - project management tools, internal build systems, etc. They work very well as a standalone team with few dependencies.
The second and larger issue was their pricing model. They unexpectedly raised our rates because they claimed they were doing our project management for free and we were now expected to pay for that. We didn’t think that was appropriate, given we had worked with them for over a year and project management had always been included in our rate. Their pricing adjustment made them no longer competitive as we could afford to hire in-house development staff for the same price.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
If you have a very well-defined project and timeline, with few dependencies on your internal team, MLSDev works wonderfully well. But if your project is evolving rapidly, or you need a team to augment your own, it's a bit more challenging.