What was the scope of their involvement?
They took over the management of the site. We hadn’t done any development work for about a year, so they gave a lot of advice about things we should be updating, like new versions of Ruby. They did that initial review to pinpoint main concerns. At the same time, they allowed me to make comments and request some of the things I was more interested in, like the features and everything we ultimately wanted. It was a balance between the two processes. They took on everything and we started from the beginning in terms of objectives.
We totally changed the flow of our signup process, including all the data fields that we collected and had structured into profiles. We did lots of work on reporting so that I could actually extract the information I needed in order to run the business well. It was a whole different way of looking at the data.
We also added various payment methods. We added description options, bundles, and did an overhaul of some of our regular scheduled emails, optimizing and speeding them up. Netguru did lots of refactoring.
There was tons of old code that they audited, picking and choosing what was worth keeping. They made the software a lot simpler. Prior to working with Netguru, we didn’t have automatic tests or scripts. So after each feature, they put in place automatic testing. Now, instead of us having to manually test, those key features are automatically tested to see if anything is broken. They focused on the user, especially making sure nothing broke during the payment process. We are now having a bit of a break from development and they are helping with maintenance.
What is the team dynamic?
We had two senior developers, one junior developer, a designer, a project manager, and a tester. That was the maximum that we had at any given time.
They have a rotation policy at Netguru. After a certain period of time, the lead developer will be changed so that everything is seen by more than one developer. This method ensures there’s more than one person working on the code, giving a different perspective. We had a project manager that I couldn’t stand, but she left the company, so we ended up with a new one. There was also always a backup project manager that knew the project to a certain level, which was useful. If someone was on a day’s leave, the backup person would always be available.
If we wanted to add or remove anyone on the team on short notice, that was always very easy for Netguru. An in-house team would’ve been a different commitment. I like the flexibility, the availability, and the cost savings of office space.
How did you come to work with Netguru?
I spoke to various freelance developers and contractors; I was looking at all the options. There was one other remote company I was considering, but they didn’t compare when I spoke to them about how they operated. Wiktor [Schmidt, Co-Founder & CEO, Netguru] reached out to me via email just in time, told me a bit about what they do, and we began the engagement.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working together in July 2016 and the work is ongoing.