Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Momentum helped significantly with the overall look and feel of the application. Many of our users are going to be very interested in how to build these models and what the setup is for them, but Momentum didn't focus on those issues. Instead, they focused more on the aesthetics and the application interaction.
They worked on how menus are controlled and on how many things should be put on a particular menu. They looked at all of the configuration options that would appear on the left-hand navigation, how fly-outs are controlled, and how our detailed master is organized. They weren't responsible for the actual setting up of the model and the nuts and bolts of how to build a model, although that's of course a big part of what the users care about.
The application is not going to come out until 2017, but we do have a dozen or more advisory council customers, and we have shipped an early version to a couple of them. We had our annual conference in June , and the feedback on the look and feel of the application has been very positive.
How did Momentum Design Lab perform from a project management standpoint?
They executed the project very well. The owner wasn't engaged on a day-to-day basis, but he stayed engaged enough so that we felt we weren't just sold and then left alone. We had one main designer who was working with our team. Once the initial understanding was put together and the teams got to know each other and how people worked, the project settled into a comfortable weekly rhythm.
We had meetings every week during which we would lay out what we wanted from Momentum for the next week. They would talk back and forth about that and come to an understanding of how our customers would use what we wanted, what the purpose was – they would just get a good feel for the requirement. They then would typically go off for about a week and work on that. They worked with an online tool that allowed them to build prototypes that are relatively interactive but not hooked up to the database – there's no code behind it. It provides a good idea as to what something is going to look like which, in turn, is what they would give to the developers.
We had our UI person on their team who was their main contact throughout the week for any follow-ups or questions they might have. Then we'd meet the following week. Momentum would show us what they did, and our team would provide feedback, perhaps suggesting some changes or modifications, then we would talk about what we wanted Momentum to do the next week. That cycle continued from start to finish.
What did you find most impressive about Momentum Design Lab?
Their project management was good. They did have a separate project manager as well who kept things on track. There was good transparency into the money, how it was being spent, and where we were along the way. That part was all good.
Ultimately, what distinguishes Momentum from others we've worked with is that they put together nice designs. We've had a lot of in-house attempts to execute designs for multiple products, and although what we did was OK, nobody got excited. That also holds true for external consultants we've used.
I would say that for the first time in the two-plus years that I've been here, the designs that Momentum put together got people, even our CEO, excited, even to the point where people said our other products should look like this. That's where the second engagement came from. We wanted to keep the identity of those other products but, in some way, be compatible with the look and feel of our flagship product.
Are there any areas Momentum Design Lab could improve?
If I were to give a reference for them, I wouldn't point out any red flags or anything someone would have to worry about. I think they're a little bit on the high side as far as price is concerned, but you get what you pay for. In the end, it's money well spent if you get a good design. I don't think in any way they're overpriced for the quality of the service they provide.
I don't really have any criticism. People can always improve in terms of communication, execution, and speed, but we never got complaints from anyone that we're going too slow or we're not getting what we asked for. I definitely give them high marks overall.