Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
For the most part, customers have been pleased with our work and, indirectly, OCSICO's. One of our projects together for a green energy application went on to receive an EPA award for innovation. OCSICO was a part of that success.
How did OCSICO perform from a project management standpoint?
OCSICO typically appoints project managers for either single projects or multiple ones, depending on how many are running concurrently. We work with that person in order to ensure that the deliverables and timelines are met across all projects. Typically, there are monthly written and verbal communications around our status.
What distinguishes OCSICO from other providers?
Overall, we've enjoyed the technical sophistication of OCSICO's team. They're a tactical and solution-oriented team instead of being low-end coders. OCSICO's CFO is a part of many of our biddings. By having higher-level people involved in the development process, OCSICO has helped us come up with more innovative solutions for the addressed and implied needs of customers. Oftentimes, a prospect will come to us with an idea and some key features. In doing so, they will not be aware of certain requirements and intangibles that need to be built in support of that solution. OCSICO brings in business analysts and CIO-level people to the table. By having a team like theirs, we've had the best of both worlds.
Is there anything OCSICO could have improved or done differently?
With any business relationship, there will be hiccups along the way and the one with OCSICO is no exception. There are things we've brought to their attention that could or should have been better. In most cases, OCSICO had adequate explanations for any lack in accordance with our desires. Oftentimes, when digging deeper into an issue, things that could have been done better on both sides will appear. We've always talked through these issues with the relevant project manager and other people involved. In most cases, we came up with overall solutions. I can't point to any specific issue or challenge, other than going over the estimated or budgeted number of hours for specific features. In some cases, we have underestimated scopes based on customer requests.
Do you have any recommendations for others considering working with OCSICO?
When working with outsourced providers, it's important to understand the environment and that there will be communication gaps and barriers. Customers need to understand and articulate what it is they want. Communication is best done in writing, so verbal conversations should be followed-up with emails or documents. This practice ensures that terms and requirements are understood and agreed to on both ends.
For example, stating what features should be included in a UI is a high-level approach. We need to get into a more granular space when dealing with outsources providers because they will often take what the client says at face-value. Not thoroughly elaborating needs and requirements will lead to gaps. After working with a provider for some time, they will come to understand what an organization is looking for and what their best practice standards are.