Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
It’s hard to get a good sense of their impact because it’s all tied up in our digital campaigns and marketing and stuff like that, but from the moment that we launched on November 1, we’ve had approximately 700 subscriptions into the game. We’ve received very good feedback on the style, illustrations, and design.
How did Program Ace perform from a project management standpoint?
They did onboard me to this platform they use for project management, but I didn’t really use it. In addition to that, the project leader would send me an Excel file, a time planning worksheet so I could have a sense of where everything is. So they did incorporate me into their project management side of things, but I preferred to work through the Excel sheet they provided. We also used Dropbox and Skype for more immediate communication.
What did you find most impressive about Program Ace?
One of their main competitive advantages is the cost of development. They’re certainly a lot more affordable than some other studios and they do have a good number of big brands in their portfolio. The value for money is a huge boon to them.
Are there any areas Program Ace could improve?
This is partly on me, and that’s outlining what you really need. This was the first time that we’d undertaken a project of this scale in this field. We would tell them that we needed XYZ assets in whatever manner, and they’d ask for more details for a cost estimation. But their ballpark figures were not very close. We did keep adding additional assets, so it’s very reasonable for that cost to increase. It’s also on us, though. We didn’t really know how to describe things so they’d know exactly what we wanted. Another area for improvement is their internal resourcing. There were two occasions where I needed something, once from their accounting person and once from the project manager, and in both cases they were sick. I’d send an email and they would reply that they were out sick. I asked if there was anyone else I could speak to and they told me no. They said they had to get better and then they’d send me the files when they were able.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Program Ace?
Be prepared to adapt your communication style. Their English isn’t always the best and we had a little communication issue in the beginning. But we did overcome the language barrier and we got better at describing what needed, and it was smooth sailing from there. It didn’t cause delays or anything like that. I’d be really descriptive or wordy and it wouldn’t click, so I learned to be more abrupt and straightforward and communication improved dramatically. This was only an issue when an actual problem arose. For instance, when it came up that their cost estimation was way off from the actual cost, we had a back and forth where we weren’t really understanding each other. That would have been expedited if someone on the team had a better proficiency in English, but it wasn’t a make-or-break deal for us.