What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
I come from a world of large corporations, where consulting firms come in and out without adding that much value. ORBA, on the other hand, tried to add as much value as possible. The project manager understood our needs and was quite pragmatic when it came to what needed to be done. I liked the workshop they had in May 2018, where they made a proper analysis of the situation.
They’re working on fixing bugs right now, and we’re getting further and further to the end of this. That's been painful, but that has nothing to do with ORBA. It’s just a big transformation. They’ve done a great job.
How did ORBA perform from a project management standpoint?
The communication is very good. I may want more at times, but I can also understand their situation. I can’t get a status report every hour. For example, in the last two weeks, I’ve been quite dramatic with the launch of the new site, but they’ve been good at giving me long status summaries every on what was happening. The project manager I’ve been working with has been extremely good.
We’re using an internal communication tool ourselves. There’s an external view mode as well, where I can observe work. They’re using it internally, and I can see time reports and everything else. From a communication point of view, we used emails during the last project. That’s worked perfectly for us since I’ve been solely in charge of the communication part from our side.
It would be different if we were working with larger clients with a lot of stakeholders, possibly with developers on the client side who need to be involved in the workflow. We would’ve needed to use more complex tools on a project like that. For the larger project we’ve had with ORBA, we’ve mainly used email, for status reports.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Anyone can do a good job, but, when it hits the fan, then we can see who’s actually pulling in their weight, determine what’s important, and start working and helping out. ORBA has been extremely good at that, and I’m impressed.
The project manager has been great, but I’ve also got the feeling that they have a lot of good people internally, who know what they’re doing and are good at their skillsets. They’re large enough to have those teams, but still manage to work quickly, and integrate the right people into each team.
Are there any areas they could improve?
It’s hard to say. In retrospective, this project was bigger than what both them and I anticipated. It developed out during the year, and I think that that’s natural to happen when a project runs for more than a year. There are also many outside factors that can change things, like Magento deciding to upgrade their system from 2.1 to 2.3. It came in the middle, and no one could really know about it. That wasn’t taken into consideration, and it couldn’t have been. I’m happy with ORBA, and I don’t have any real suggestions for improvement for them.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
I recommend that clients go to meet them. We visited them in Warsaw, and we’ve tried to go back at least once a year. It’s important to get face-to-face contact and get a project manager that we can work with.