Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
We have had a functional build at the end of every sprint, with well-known features being added according to plan. We also had a well-known set of issues that were very clearly managed. I’ve had quite a lot of experience dealing with external entities, extended parties, and partners. There are a few things that really caught my attention. They are very good communicators, which is absolutely a must, especially if you’re not in the same building, let alone in different time zones. If they’re facing an issue in a design area, they will have a very well-written JIRA ticket with concise information. It’s very natural and straightforward to understand what they want and to then respond. I’ve had situations with other suppliers where it would take 3-days to finally understand exactly what we needed to work on. The clarity of communication and their use of tools is amazing. They use very good processes and are very much on top of it. That’s why we keep working with them and will continue to work with them. The more budget I have, the more work I can award to them.
How did Perfectial perform from a project management standpoint?
Their discipline is amazing. Speaking of discipline, they are truly agile when it comes to development. They really understand the way to go about it, breaking down stories into small, realistic user points. They understand the velocity to the point where if somebody gets sick or goes on a leave, they understand that if we had 60 points, for example, we’re only going to do 56. They’re usually right within 5%. Projects are dynamic. If you have very disciplined short stories, you’re at the top of your game. You understand how to manage the developmental organization and the project itself. If you communicate effectively, you can very quickly correct the course and adjust. We use Google Hangouts to communicate. Although not everything was right, it was very quick to see when things were not going right and very easy to adjust. That’s a basic principle of being Agile. You want visibility and the ability to react to it.
What did you most impressive about Perfectial?
They're fairly unique in their pragmatic use of Scrum and Agile techniques to run a project. Combine that with their communication skills and discipline of documenting succinctly, being clear, and having a very open and wide channel, and it’s really good to work with them. The real pleasurable thing is that they are genuinely nice people. They’re not abrasive or aggressive. It’s an open dialogue with them and they’ll always say what’s going on. If something is going to be blocking them, they take it in stride. They don’t get upset or bent out of shape. They are very much part of our team.
Are there any areas Perfectial could improve?
There were times when they would spend a large amount of energy making sure that we have a good definition. Sometimes, they would be lost. For example, in UX, we could see that sometimes there was a flaw. They wouldn’t be upset about it. They would go back and fix it. It would’ve been great if they had done it from the get-go, but it was a very small thing in a big way.
As we have been successful with them, we want them to be more a part of our extended staff and use our tools. Otherwise, it becomes a little more challenging when they’re developing an app and I find a bug or I want to do something specific, but they’re on a separate system than ours. We haven’t quite figured out how to make the integration better. They’re open to going either way, but there’s no one easy solution.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Perfectial?
There are two critical things. One is if you want to give something to anybody that’s outside of your office, make it as self-contained and well-defined a mission as possible. That makes it easier to build a team and to know when you’re successful. That also reduces the number of interdependencies. It’s really hard to say, “I’ll do development and you do testing,” or “I’ll do this part of the workflow and you do that part of the workflow,” because there’s too much dependency there. The second thing is having a good technical lead on your side to be a touch point. There’s going to be issues and challenges, so you don’t want five people exchanging emails. All you do is lose time.