Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
We have a staging server within realmealdelivery.com on which all testing is performed. The site offers the ability to sign up, check-in, check-out, look at the menu, and so on. It offers a good idea of the quality of work done by NextBits.
We put together a couple of focus groups during the design process and while features were being developed. We employed a page-by-page approach for this, focusing on a design feedback, rather than an expert view. We have made a few revisions as a result. NextBits was great in implementing changes.
Another important piece of feedback was provided by my co-founder, who also played the role of product owner.
How did NextBits perform from a project management standpoint?
Nine out of ten times, NextBits hit the deadlines. We are both technical parties, so we understood the complexities that led to scope creep. We reset our expectations and I was flexible in this regard. NextBits was upfront about estimating the time it would take to build or change features.
What distinguishes NextBits from other providers?
Magento is implemented by different agencies in Eastern Europe, many of them doing a great job. This was part of my thought process when choosing a company, but the reality proved different. With NextBits, we've followed guidelines on par with Silicon Valley practices in terms of engineering, project management, revisions, issue tracking, communication, contracts, and so on. The process was very familiar and homely to me, given that this is my background. Other offshore companies I evaluated were very makeshift, without a specific format. I think that they would communicate differently with each customer, based on what their demands were. NextBits had very specific procedures. Reports were available at any time of day through Jira. I had access to designs, screenshots, updates, comments, and so on. This is what I would expect from my own team. In the past, I coordinated a team following an Agile methodology. We had 2-week sprints, made releases, made scope analyses and repeated until the project was complete. We maintained flexibility and remained accountable for the work. None of this may sound extraordinary, but compared to other experiences I've had, it is.
Is there anything NextBits could have improved or done differently?
Automation is one place in which NextBits could improve. They don't have a dedicated resource for this. When writing a piece of code that needs to be tested right before it goes into the production server, NextBits relies on manual testing. I inquired about why they didn't engage in this. NextBits' owner told me that few clients expect it, given that a lot of their work comes from people who simply want to build specific tools. I am more technical and like to get my hands dirty. NextBits did a great job of managing manual tests and ensuring that issues were discovered. We have a test repository of 600+ test cases.