Handcrafted software for remarkable companies

PromptWorks is a software consulting shop specializing in Ruby, Python, JavaScript and related technologies, with offices in Philadelphia, New York and Austin. With unmatched technical chops and a serious commitment to Agile practices, we are able to deliver high-quality software with low risk at a predictable pace.

In addition to helping businesses build new web apps and APIs, we solve problems with existing apps like scaling, testing and automating development operations. We also build software for machine learning, big data, and DevOps projects.

PromptWorks software engineers are highly experienced full-stack developers. They write automated tests for every feature and deliver code continuously, so you can always see the latest progress on your application live in your own browser.

Software development is a big investment and code quality is vital to not having to rewrite the application in just a few years. PromptWorks software stands the test of time because our developers are outstanding!

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2013
Show all +
Philadelphia, PA
headquarters
  • PromptWorks
    1211 Chestnut St, Ste 400
    Philadelphia, PA 19107
    United States
    888.915.7768
other locations
  • PromptWorks
    600 Congress Ave
    Austin, TX 78701
    United States
    512.357.7768
  • PromptWorks
    315 W 36th St
    New York, NY 10018
    United States
    646.585.7768

Portfolio

Key clients: 
  • Comcast
  • Twitter
  • Cisco
  • Sony Mobile
  • Datacolor
  • JW Pepper
  • Sungard Availability Services
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • The University of Pennsylvania
  • Successful startups including PicwellThrive TRM, and Clean Markets

Datacolor: $1MM in sales opportunities (and growing)

Datacolor relied on PromptWorks' discovery process to help define and develop a connected mobile app in just 4 months. Being laser-focused on speed-to-market for the greatest market capture, our product development strategy needed to parallel Datacolor’s ambitious product vision without compromising adoption factors such as quality and usability.

Learn more about how PromptWorks' discovery process helped Datacolor

IaaS Portal: A cloud computing service

A leading provider of business continuity, information security, IT disaster recovery, and cloud systems needed a new customer-facing portal that would allow customers to use its public cloud infrastructure for developing, running and testing new applications. The company’s goal was to go beyond the offerings of its competitors by layering on additional management capabilities, eventually unifying all of its customer portals into a single portal.

Click here for further details.

Picwell: Helping a Healthcare Startup Overcome Their Development Bottleneck

As an emerging healthcare startup grew, Picwell turned to PromptWorks for the expert developers they needed to build their healthcare recommendation engine better and faster.

Find out more.

Clean Markets: Building efficiency retrofit modeling

Clean Markets needed an online tool to predict the return of their clients’ energy efficiency retrofits over time. PromptWorks built a statistical model and web-enabled forecasting software to help building owners understand the financial impact of making their buildings more energy efficient.

Find out more.

Thrive TRM: A talent relationship management platform

Thrive TRM provides the software industry’s first true talent relationship management platform for executive recruiting firms, venture capital and private equity firms, and human resource recruiters in enterprise environments.

Find out more. 

Roost: Making smart devices even smarter with a new Internet of Things platform and mobile apps

Roost is smart home device company with a novel proposition: they believe that anyone should be able to afford smart home functionality.

Their flagship product is a “smart” 9V battery with built-in WiFi. Just pop it into your existing “dumb” smoke alarm, and now you have a “smart” smoke alarm that’s connected to your phone and can alert you to smoke, fire, and a low battery no matter where you are. Instead of replacing smoke alarms at $200 each, you can purchase the smart battery for $30 and in about 10 years, a battery replacement for $10. It’s a simple, elegant, cost-efficient solution.

Reviews

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Backend Development for Financial Application

"Overall, it was a seamless, easy, and quick process collaborating with them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June - Dec. 2017
Project summary: 

PromptWorks completed Ruby on Rails development for a financial services performance management tool using provided wireframes. The MVP included heavy use of data sets and a payment system for customers.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Bethesda, Maryland
Richard Essig
Founder, Hubble Financial
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

By establishing a flexible collaborative relationship, PromptWorks created a working environment that was both pleasant and effective. They were willing to allow other team members to be involved in editing the code, and their fantastic project management skills served the project’s timeliness.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the founder and CEO of Hubble Financial, which is an information technology company that provides performance management software tool for the financial services and insurance industries.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with PromptWorks?

I needed a software development firm to build out the backend for the application that was to be our end product. Thanks to my coding background in data science, I was able to build a lot of the data sets that were then deployed into the application, but I needed a team of people to develop the software, particularly the ongoing payment system for my customers.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

With my background in Ruby on Rails, I was able to build a skeleton of the application. On my own, however, I was only able to complete two percent of the end goal, so I engaged PromptWorks to build a complete minimum viable product. They took the wireframes I created and expanded upon that using Ruby on Rails, as well as HTML, CSS, and jQuery. Some of the services we used to complete the work included Heroku, GitHub, and PostgreSQL for our relational database, as well as Amazon Web Services and Strike.

What is the team composition?

I worked with about three people from their team.

How did you come to work with PromptWorks?

When I was living in Philadelphia, I came across Jason Garber [COO, Promptworks] during a localized search for a separate project. I just really liked both him and his approach to software development, and it was important that I find someone in the mid-Atlantic region with whom I could discuss the work face-to-face.

What is the status of this engagement?

The project lasted from about June to December 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The one big measurable impact that they had was completing the MVP and allowing my company to have a working product to sell.

How did PromptWorks perform from a project management standpoint?

We had weekly check-ins to go over the backlog of items that we had to complete. They were very good about allowing me to prioritize what they completed first, and then they would set out their schedules for all tasks being discussed. I appreciated their consistency in telling me ahead of time what their various estimated times of completion would be, and they were always able to deliver within the deadline. They were just fantastic to work with. Their employees are very easy to talk to and are good at conceptualizing what it is you are trying to communicate, which makes for a straightforward collaborative experience.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They were very flexible in our working relationship, an arrangement that was inherently unusual because of my experience with coding. Because I was going to be involved in writing the code, I think there was likely a certain amount of concern that my ability to assist in that work would ultimately take away contract revenue from them—which was likely true. But, they knew that going into the engagement and agreed to work with me anyway. That was important to me because I wanted to be able to contribute to the project and be able to learn intimately about the end product that we were developing. Overall, it was a seamless, easy, and quick process collaborating with them. Customers are buying my product and my business is profiting, all of which is a testament to the good quality work provided by Promptworks.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Be very clear at the outset about what you want from any collaboration, and spend a lot of time prior to the start of a project figuring that out before you begin development. This is true for any contracted work, not just with PromptWorks, and it is vital in order to avoid frustrating your partners and to prevent the project as a whole from taking far more time than necessary.

5.0
Overall Score My product is proof of the quality of their work.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They always met their deadlines.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    By focusing on getting the core items completed, they were able to avoid going over budget.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They always delivered.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have already referred them to a colleague or friend.

Modernized Platform for Arts & Entertainment Business

"They bring the right tools for the right job."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Aug. - Sept. 2017
Project summary: 

PromptWorks modernized an existing app, beginning with an audit before refactoring its code-base. System upgrades create the potential for monetizing downloadable content.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Exton, Pennsylvania
VP, e-Business & Strategic Operations
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

A cleaner code resulted in an improved experience. Conceptualizations and executed deliverables reflect sophisticated awareness of niche functional requirements. Productivity, accuracy, and timeliness are consistently on-target. Expect dedicated customer service with customized solutions.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am vice president at a sheet music company, which operates in publishing and music education.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with PromptWorks?

We acquired a content management system and portal – which is a Python-based tool for digital sheet music – and subsequently needed to transition to a new vendor due to limitations. We required an external team with Python expertise to modernize the platform.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The first stage comprised a 1-month code audit to standardize documentation. The previous company built the tool but did not document its functions and structure properly. Subsequently, we initiated a 2-week discovery phase. We provided them with: user viewpoints, use cases, empathy maps, etc. They then submitted a proposal based on this information.

The proposal revealed the project’s vast scope. Due to our time and budgetary constraints, we compartmentalized the project into 2-week units. The team did code refactoring over a 6-week period in order to modernize the Django and Python systems. These upgrades were based on findings from the audit.

The upgrades resulted in a cleaner and more stabilized code without many forward-facing changes. That process supports our business plan to self-manage the tool going forward. Moreover, we moved into another discovery phase to build out the tool as a portal for music publishers; but we haven’t executed anything yet.

Currently, the tool renders sheet music into an image-based format, but we are working with them to sell other downloadable content.

What is the team dynamic?

During the discovery phase, we had a business analyst, two developers, a UI specialist, and a scrum master. For code refactoring, the team shrunk to one business analyst, one UX specialist, and one developer. Our current backend project requires a business analyst and a senior developer. More staff aren’t needed because there’s no interface aspect to it.

The company assembled these teams as our needs changed between phases. Their business analyst interviews us to determine which colleagues to assign. For example, we had a strong Python developer during code factoring, but now the team includes someone with Amazon S3 expertise.

How did you come to work with PromptWorks?

Our search initially target 5 companies, but we quickly narrowed it to 2. The team’s agility fit well with our own in-house operation. Furthermore, they’re also based in Philadelphia. Proximity was plus as I prefer face-to-face communication in business.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?
 

Work started June 2017 and is on-going.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The structural improvements are not conducive to measurable results. Qualitatively, the tool runs better with its cleaner code. New UI features may yield data at a later date.

Their productivity and accuracy are consistent. Deadlines and budgets are consistently on-target. Due to their agile operation, the team hasn’t missed a step as we continually refine our budgets and timeframes.

How did PromptWorks perform from a project management standpoint?

They bring the right tools for the right job. We use GitHub for source code management and another digital tool to share user stories. They produce weekly test reports that have “pass/fail” stats on finished user stories.

The CEO and COO were involved early in the engagement. The executives’ interest demonstrated that they valued our relationship. They included a developer at meetings to ensure that the eventual hand-off – after we established mutual trust – went smoothly. We’ve had the same project manager since then.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They efficiently learned our niche market position with music educators and professionals. Their efforts may have not been unique, but were very well-done.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, because they were flexible and easily adapted to changes we made with the scope. Hats off to them.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Do it agilely. Do not go for waterfall project management.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Product UX Design for B2B Startup

“We were on the same page throughout the engagement.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
May - July 2017
Project summary: 

PromptWorks redesigned the frontend and UX of a B2B sales application, improving the customer experience, refining the features, and increasing the ease of functionality, all within a tight timeframe. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founder
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new user interface is much easier to navigate, receiving positive feedback from users. Though the work ran into the upper end of the timescale estimate, it was completed in to the highest quality in effective weekly sprints, with regular meetings to review the progress, and good communication. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We have a B2B sales application that matches vendors with sales professionals. I’m the founder.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with PromptWorks?

At the time I engaged PromptWorks, I had a developer on staff and one who had yet to accept my offer. We had pretty much built the application to get it ready for launch. Neither of us had much experience with UX [user experience] or with design, and the more I kept reviewing and testing the product, the more uncomfortable I became with the way it looked. It worked perfectly, but my feeling was that this wasn’t the perception we wanted to give people. I started thinking about bringing someone on to help us with the product.

We ultimately engaged them to put a new design and frontend framework on the product that we had built. We had a fully functioning prototype and needed them to refine the customer experience.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We talked them through the application we had built and showed them its functionality. Then we started talking about the timeline and they estimated 4–12 weeks, but I wanted more precision. We narrowed it down to 4–8 weeks depending on what comes up and prioritized the features. We had to leave out some features that we built from a backend standpoint and based on that, we moved forward. We decided to more or less cut most of the vendor side of the application. We focused the scope of work on the sales professional side.

They took us through sort of a step-by-step process where they helped us document what we called user stories or features. For the product and the business to really even function, assuming we’re doing all the legwork for the vendors, the sales professional has to operate autonomously which is why we focused our efforts there.

What is the team dynamic?

There were 2 people on the team who we worked face-to-face with a lot of times. In terms of their technical ability, they were top notch developers and designers. 

How did you come to work with PromptWorks?

What tipped the scales in their favor was something on their website, where it says they make their space available to clients to do some paired programming and side-by-side work.

We have an office which is about 4–5 blocks away from theirs. Since we had a very aggressive timeline, it was good that they were a few blocks away and were willing to make their space available. That way if any questions arose or they needed us to review something, we were there.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent $44,000 on the total project.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in May 2017, and the project was completed 8 weeks later in July 2017. I keep in touch with them, for example, if we might need additional features. They are available. I wouldn’t have a problem working with them again if it were the right situation.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

People that see the product like the design and say it looks really nice and professional, particularly for an MVP [minimum viable product]. That's what my goal was. Before we used them, we had a product that was fully functional and could be used, but from a user interface standpoint, it just looked primitive.

It’s hard to say if our increased traffic is directly related to the new design because we didn’t make any effort to attract users or to market it prior. However, I think their work is certainly a part of it. Right now, our focus has been less on getting more users and more on getting the right users.

How did PromptWorks perform from a project management standpoint?

There were a couple of hiccups along the way, which is what turned 4–8 weeks into 8 solid weeks. A lot of that was to be expected. You can only plan for so much at the outset and then you learn some things as you’re going through and you have to adjust accordingly, which has an effect on the timeline. I don’t blame them for that. I think that’s just a natural part of the software development process. We communicated using email, phone, in-person, and Slack.

They really knew what they were doing. They were able to grasp our business and what it is that we were looking to do very quickly. We hit the ground running. They were very good from a technical standpoint. As you’re going through the process and you’re testing things, there’s always bugs here and there. They fixed them and everything’s been very clean. As far as the work goes, I have nothing but great things to say about them.

What did you find most impressive about them?

One thing I liked was their close proximity to us. The communication was great and we were regularly in touch. We went to their office several times a week, depending on what was going on. Every Friday morning we had a weekly demo set up in their office. We made it a point to be there in person. We’d go over the week's sprint and plan for the upcoming sprint. We were on the same page throughout the engagement.

Are there any areas they could improve?

The only thing that I didn’t like, and I’ve expressed it to them, is the billing on a time and material basis. It makes it difficult to wrap our head around what the budget looks like. I told them I understand why they do it that way because there is the unknown element in these projects.

However, I went into the relationship with the expectation of spending between $20,000 and $30,000, and it came into over $40,000. I really don’t feel like there was any scope creep or anything that really ballooned out of control along the way. I told them they are not doing this any worse or any better than anybody else, but I think at some point they need to use their experience and expertise to narrow that range a little bit so people could take comfort in it.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I can't say they didn’t hit deadlines. We had weekly sprint meetings, sat down and things were delivered.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The quality of work was superb, but it was really expensive at the same time.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I couldn’t be happier with the quality of the work.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Staff Augmentation for Healthcare Tech Firm

"They're trying to help us build and grow our platform, which is what you need when you're a startup."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Feb. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

PromptWorks augmented staff to build two platforms with Python and Flask APIs, as well as data pipelines with Jenkins, Luigi, and scikit-learn. They also used Python and Pandas for data validation/engineering.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
CTO, Health Care Tech Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

PromptWorks strove to understand the platform's purpose, and consistently communicated. Their Agile coaching was thorough and precise, which ultimately aided in the company’s transformation. Their clarification, drive to excel, and expertise continues to help the product reach its full potential.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CTO and one of the founders of a B2B technology platform that developed an engine to generate personalized health insurance recommendations to fit consumers’ needs. We have about 20 employees, and we’re located in Philadelphia.

We’ve streamlined the purchase of health care by capturing a consumer’s basic demographics, then feeding this through our machine learning models to predict costs at an individual level. We then compare this with insurance policies in order to recommend an ideal product.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenges were you trying to address with PromptWorks?

We look at health insurance as an analytics problem. Consumers have trouble understanding insurance policies and forecasting what their healthcare usage might be. At the same time, insurance companies are designing new and innovative insurance products. Our platform is meant to solve these problems.

We hired PromptWorks for a team augmentation strategy. We needed talented developers to help us rapidly extend and develop our platform. PromptWorks collaborated closely with our engineering teams to help galvanize some initiatives and collaborate with us on a very tight-knit basis.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

PromptWorks worked side by side with our software engineers on our two main product lines. One line is a recommendation engine that helps senior citizens navigate Medicare. We have another line focused on commercial insurance, which is health insurance you might get from an employer or Obamacare.

PromptWorks helped us on the commercial product line and worked with our developers on many different things, including API development with Flask and Python. They also used Jenkins, Luigi, and scikit-learn for the work on our data engineering pipelines. Additionally, they helped with some data validation and data engineering work, which was done with Pandas and Python.

Our platform is HIPAA compliant, and although we handled most of the security policies and guidelines internally, PromptWorks was certainly collaborative in the process.

What is the team dynamic?

PromptWorks contributed 2–3 people for our team, which consisted of about 6–8 people in total. Currently, we only use one of their team members because we’ve hired full-time staff.

They use pair programming, and although they weren’t always on site, they were in the same city. For many of the Agile ceremonies, they’d come to our offices for retrospective meetings and sprint reviews. We were flexible in day-to-day locations, but they were in our offices more often than not. We had an assigned project manager, and account lead who was our main contact throughout the entire engagement.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in late 2015, and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

PromptWorks aided us in some Agile coaching and transformation workshops. We had experts come in and help us enhance our skills, which was really helpful for our company. It was a great partnership because they'd already had visibility into our processes. They had some thoughts on where we could improve, and helped guide us on ways to execute the transformation within our company. It was a very thorough, month-long engagement.

My experience with PromptWorks has been completely different than ones I’d had with other outsourcing firms. They have better communication skills, and they possess a willingness to truly understand the business we’re in. They make sure the products reflect an understanding of our company. They were engaged in understanding and creating requirements, as well as helping identify things that needed further clarification.

How did PromptWorks perform from a project management standpoint?

We communicate through Slack. We do video hangouts, and we’ve also been using Highfive for video conferencing. They are very amenable to using whatever tool we prefer.

Their founder is available via phone if I have any concerns or questions. The business relationship also works well due to being partners.

What did you find most impressive about them?

PromptWorks is a great partner for multiple reasons. As a CTO, I’m always concerned with the quality of the underlying code. They have seasoned engineers, so I felt comfortable that we were making the right decisions in terms of how we laid the foundation for our platform. The software-is-craft ethos is something both companies share, and their approach to test-driven development testing aligned well with our organization. They were willing to excel when we had deadlines to meet.

There's a mutual respect for what each company brings to the table. They're really trying to help us build and grow our platform, which is what you need when you're a startup.

Their founders are more well-known in the Ruby community, so there’s a perception that they are primarily a Ruby on Rails shop. However, they have many polyglots at their company, which has been a great benefit for us. Some of the best Python developers I’ve seen in Philadelphia are at PromptWorks.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Integrated Product Ecosystem Developed for Datacolor

"[Their] people aren't just developers ...[they] also rapidly learn their client’s domain."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Nov. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

PromptWorks created native SDKs to integrate a Bluetooth-connected color-measuring device with mobile versions and cloud-enabled apps. They now focus on discovery workshops and maintenance.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Brian Levey
VP of Consumer Solutions, Datacolor
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Since the cohesive solution’s launch, new sales opportunities have quickly approached $1 million. PromptWorks’ rapid development process, attention to detail, and problem-solving abilities continue to promote a competitive product system. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are a 70-million-dollar technology company that makes instruments and software for the management of color in supply-chains for the paint-and-coatings and apparel-and-textile industries. We also have devices for photographers and designers that give accurate colors for their displays and printers. I am the VP of consumer solutions for the company. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenges were you trying to address with PromptWorks?

We’ve developed a new device that allows painters, architects, and interior designers to measure colors that are related to the nearest one in a fan deck. We call this product Color Reader Pro, and it’s a Bluetooth-enabled device that operates in standalone mode through an OLED [organic light-emitting diode] display. We had a partner who was going to develop a mobile app for us, but that didn’t work out. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

PromptWorks produced wireframes and architecture, a timeline, and a cost spec. We produced Android and iOS native SDKs [software development kits] that could interface between our device and the mobile app. A part of this also involved a cloud-based solution that integrated with the wider app system through a custom API.

We used a rigorous Agile process; if a story we chose required mobile-app elements and communication to the cloud-based app, both items would be worked on during a two-week sprint. PromptWorks also used a tool that allowed them to use the same code for the iOS and Android platforms.

There were four pieces to our puzzle: interaction between the connected device and the mobile app, the mobile and cloud-based apps themselves, and the interaction between the mobile and cloud-based app. It was a sizeable project and was delivered on time and pretty much within budget.

The mobile app allows users to measure a color on the wall and display the top-three nearest choices for the identified color. It allows the user to create a palette for their ceilings, walls, and so on. If the user has multiple fan decks stored on the mobile app, they can download those into the connected device, much like someone would load songs on iTunes, and see how much space they have left and how long the download will take. We’ve further enhanced the app to allow users to share their palettes with friends and stores, perform basic color coordination schemes, identify complementary colors for their existing schemes, and display the fan decks. The product is targeted towards paying companies and their networks of end-users.

PromptWorks assigned one UX designer, one senior developer, one regular developer, and a business analyst. Most of the UX was designed upfront, so after that portion, our designer moved off. I was the executive sponsor on our side, and we had a QA team engaged throughout the process, as well as product managers and a developer. It was a sizeable engagement, but the interaction was limited to sprint demos and planning once every two weeks. I performed backlog grooming with our business analyst in order to make sure priorities were set right.

How did you come to work with PromptWorks?

A colleague recommended that I go to Clutch.co and do a search there. I used the site’s filters in order to find a local partner in the Philadelphia to New York City corridor, as well as one who had experience with connected devices. I identified three or four companies, interviewed them over the phone, and proceeded to visit Jason [COO, PromptWorks] and the team. I made the decision to have a discovery workshop with them. It was a fixed-fee two-week process during which PromptWorks collaborated with our business owners and developers, basically scoping the strategy and implementation of the mobile app from top to bottom. It was an eye-opening and enlightening process for our company. We gave PromptWorks the project as a result, which entailed the development of a mobile app that would connect to our device.

How much have you invested with PromptWorks?

The discovery workshop had a cost of $10,000. With that, we received a 40-page presentation. The project itself was scoped at $225,000, which gave us a fully functioning product that we’re proud to sell. It satisfies 80% of our customers’ needs. We spent a bit more on PromptWorks’ services for extra features we wanted to incorporate.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with PromptWorks in November of 2016, after the discovery process. The first version that we could put in the hands of the sales team was delivered in late February of 2017. We then developed a hardened package for stores, which was delivered in mid-March. Both apps are live on app stores, and we’re taking our first orders.

Since the beginning, we’ve executed two additional discovery workshops. One is for the next major version of the current mobile app that PromptWorks developed for us for our lower-end consumer devices. The second workshop will focus on a different flavor of the device, one designed for quality-control measurements for businesses. It’s an entirely new app working with the same device and SDK. In addition to this, we retain a certain number of hours per month with PromptWorks for maintenance. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or impact of the engagement?

We’re at the beginning of our sales processes. The new product is our first true mobile app, and it’s also our first venture into the internet-of-things. Most of our instruments are high-end analytical devices which need to sit on a benchtop and cost $30,000. We’ve seen an absolutely enthusiastic response from our sales team, which is made up of 150 people worldwide. We track every opportunity and customer visited using Salesforce. We’re now close to $1 million in new sales opportunities for the next six to nine months. We want to grow the business from a white piece of paper to around $20 million in sales, but we’re still within the launch-plus-one-month stage. We don’t have many app-store reviews, bug rates, or sales metrics. We only took our first order yesterday.

How did PromptWorks perform from a project management standpoint?

I sit on the management team of data color, and what’s turned our heads has been the speed of the process. We no longer think in terms of 18-month software cycles but rather three or four months. Secondly, the process brought by PromptWorks has been impressive. Everyone talks about Agile and Scrum, but, when they’re really lived and performed with a partner like them, it generates a level of excitement with the team that is truly noteworthy. PromptWorks’ people are not just developers but also quickly learn the client’s domain. When we’re looking at a story, and their developers have questions about it, they can go to our applications people, who have 20–30 years of experience. We’re talking as equals, and PromptWorks’ people are very quick studies.

The way in which they’ve solved issues for some of our designs has allowed us to map out our business processes simply and have PromptWorks come back with wireframes. This is truly innovative and exciting to us. They get it and propose solutions that are delighting us as well as our customers.

We used PromptWorks’ internal tools, including a working backlog and a repository. Each story has feature points, and we have lines for sprint ends and launch dates. Everyone on PromptWorks’ team understands what each story is, and our platform is also a good tool for setting priorities. Beyond that, we also receive a weekly report which includes a burn rate, software-quality metrics, and completion percentages for each story and sprint. I track it quite closely since I don’t like feature creep. My philosophy is to keep it simple and figure out what doesn’t need to be done. We use GoToMeeting for weekly sessions.

What did you find most impressive about PromptWorks?

I have some experience with third-party providers, and one of the things that’s been helpful about PromptWorks is they have very skilled business analysts for driving the project, beyond simple project managers. During discovery workshops, we worked with high-level strategy and small details. We were solving a hard, complex problem, but, through two working sessions, we were able to come out with a beautiful spec and wireframes. I didn’t think it would be possible.

The care and attention showed by PromptWorks in our original estimates are another distinguishing factor. They put in the right amount of time upfront and managed the project within the timeline and budget.

PromptWorks kept a consistent team that quickly developed domain knowledge. We’re trying to integrate them as much as possible.

Are there any areas PromptWorks could improve?

Every once in a while, we will encounter a topic with a lot of swirl. They have passionate people, but I don’t appreciate looking too far into any small detail. It’s not a serious criticism, and it’s true for our side more than PromptWorks’ side. 

5.0
Overall Score It’s been a game-changer for the company as well as myself. We’ve brought someone in who could deliver not only mobile apps but also a new way of doing things.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They have expensive rates, but we couldn’t find the same value for a lower price.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    No one's perfect.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve been working for the company for 20 years and have a 30-year career in marketing scientific software and products. PromptWorks is one of the best partners I’ve worked with.

Website Development for IoT Home Safety Startup

"We're normally pressed for time, but PromptWorks has delivered on time and with great quality."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Dec. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

PromptWorks was hired to build mobile- and cloud-based solutions. Their involvement led to further dev and design work. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Sunnyvale, California
Vice President of Software
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Strengths include an exceptional talent pool made readily available and a thoughtful approach characteristic of boutique agencies. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Our company is involved in the Internet-of-Things home automation field. Our first product was a smart battery that was specifically designed for fire and smoke detectors. It's the same size as a normal 9-volt battery, but it detects when an alarm goes off, sending a notification to the user's mobile phone. Then some time later, we launched some fire detectors, and we're currently working on water leak detectors.

What is your position?

I am the vice president of software.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with PromptWorks?

Before we could launch our product, we needed to create a number of integrations with other service providers like IFTTT, in order to expand the services that we can offer.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

The first job that PromptWorks did for us was very quick. We were stressed for time, but PromptWorks moved very quick, told us what to do, and led the way. We've used them on a number of projects since then.

PromptWorks has developed mobile apps for us and helped with cloud software implementations as well as integrations with other services.

In total, we've worked with five people from PromptWorks during the course of our collaboration. At this moment, we have a three-person team: two full-time and one part-time resource.

How did you come to work with PromptWorks?

We got in touch with IFTTT and discussed how we could integrate their service. Their interface was quite complicated, so we asked them if they knew of any companies that could help us with the integration. IFTTT recommended PromptWorks, which led to our first interaction.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The total cost of PromptWorks's services has been between $150,000 and $200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with PromptWorks in December 2015. We have an ongoing relationship, using two full-time, dedicated resources from PromptWorks.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

PromptWorks has been a huge help for our company. I'm quite impressed with their ability to make estimations and with the flexibility shown by PromptWorks. We're a startup from a financial point of view and in terms of speed of delivery. We need some flexibility from our partners, which PromptWorks has shown. They were always available when we needed to work a bit harder and have charged us through a flexible model. Our first job was very small while the second one was much larger. It all goes back to the most important thing, namely that PromptWorks is a very skillful team. I'm very impressed with their technical knowledge, and we've been able to learn from PromptWorks going forward.

How did PromptWorks perform from a project management standpoint?

The assignments we've had with PromptWorks were fixed-price. They were completely within budget. We're happy with PromptWorks's way of working with us and their performance. PromptWorks works as an extension of our team. We agreed upon milestones, and then they would conform to them. PromptWorks has used our internal project tools, including JIRA for issue tracking, and GitHub and Parse.

What distinguishes PromptWorks from other providers?

PromptWorks has been able to come in, take on the work, and teach us during the process quickly. We're normally pressed for time, but PromptWorks has delivered on time and with great quality.

PromptWorks is a young company, and it's clear that their ambition is to build on competency. They have a thorough interview process, and it has been clear to us that PromptWorks's team is made up of very smart people. I've worked with other contracting companies that offered high-level engineers, but they seemed to focus on volume. I never got this impression with PromptWorks. Whenever I ask for additional help, I can be confident that the resources assigned to me will be good people.

Is there anything PromptWorks could have improved or done differently?

Not at this moment.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

User Interface Design for Global Technology Firm

"Having the principals involved in the projects from the beginning in overseeing the work stood out."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Mar. 2014 - Mar. 2016
Project summary: 

Using Ruby on Rails, PromptWorks designed a custom UI for a cloud-based solution. At the conclusion of the project, the team learned new technologies in order to develop more features.

The Reviewer
 
1001-10,000 Employees
 
Wayne, Pennsylvania
Project Manager
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

PromptWorks' employees showed continual dedication to their task and displayed a great amount of technical skill. The direct involvement of leadership throghout the partnership ensured fluid and effective communication. Overall, the project was a great experience. 

BACKGROUND

Please introduce your business and what you do there. 

I work for a large business group. It has a cloud engineering team which is developing a platform similar to Amazon Web Services, but with an angle towards managed services. Our business model is aimed towards medium to large businesses looking for IT outsourcing. Instead of having one or two virtual machines that a developer might use, we focus on bigger businesses that are looking to outsource their entire footprint into the cloud. I was the project lead for the department during our engagement with PromptWorks.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with PromptWorks?

We needed to build a UI for our platform, which is where PromptWorks' services came in. The skills didn't really exist here within our company and since this was going to be a short-term requirement, it didn't make sense for us to spend the time and money hiring someone here. 

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

PromptWorks developed the user interface for our cloud platform with the use of Ruby on Rails. They also provided software development for a few other pieces of our solution.

At its peak, the team from PromptWorks consisted of 10 people. This included software developers and one designer. At its smallest point, it featured 2-3 people. The numbers fluctuated over the course of 2 years, depending on the workload. I acted as project lead. Our approach was to be embedded with PromptWorks instead of being remote. I worked out of their office for a year and a half. We ran an Agile scrum team and had an interactive process.

How did you come to work with PromptWorks?

We were looking for a company that would allow us to embed ourselves into the development team in order to provide an easy transition when we'd need to take over the project internally. We were one of the first clients which PromptWorks had. A colleague of mine knew one of their founders, but we also went through a request for proposal process with numerous vendors, small and big. One of our key requirements was for a local company. PromptWorks was also based in Philadelphia, which was an important factor. We were also looking for someone who would become heavily involved in the process, alongside ourselves. We didn't want to simply hand the work off to someone else. Price-wise, all candidates were relatively similar.

The engagement wasn't designed to have PromptWorks deliver a software. We were using them as additional resources. The contract was written with the ability to embed ourselves in the team.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

I don't have this information. We paid PromptWorks on a weekly basis, based on the number of developers we were using from them.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've worked with them for around two years. The project was completed in March of 2016. We're not working with PromptWorks at the moment.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

One of the things which I appreciated about PromptWorks was that they were always on-task. The developers were committed to what they were doing and I was never worried about needing to babysit them. Even though I was embedded in the team, they were given X-amount of work to do within a week. I had confidence that they would get it done and we'd receive test coverage. PromptWorks' team considered different aspects of the system and I was able to be relatively hands-off during the process.

How did PromptWorks perform from a project management standpoint?

We used the Atlassian toolset for project tracking, including Jira. Most of our communication involved talking face-to-face, but requirements and documentation were tracked through Jira. We used an Agile board through which the current work was communicated and we had daily standups.

What distinguishes PromptWorks from other providers?

Having the principals involved in the projects from the beginning in overseeing the work stood out to us, compared to other small and medium-sized companies. It was a good approach from an organizational and management perspective. PromptWorks' principals were very visible and answered any questions or concerns which we may have had. PromptWorks also did a good job of hiring talented people, especially in the case of a couple of their senior developers. They were good, took charge of the project, and had innovative ideas. This would have been hard to find if we hired people internally.

Is there anything PromptWorks could have improved or done differently?

When we started the engagement, we hired PromptWorks for their expertise in a certain area, namely Ruby on Rails development for a UI. The project progressed to a point in which we switched technologies. We continued working with PromptWorks on items for which they didn't have the expertise, either in terms of programming language or the platform itself. There was a lot of ramp-up time from our perspective as well as that of PromptWorks. We were almost paying them to learn something while they were working on it. It was fine, but had we gone for a company which had the expertise, things would have probably moved faster. We liked PromptWorks and we were comfortable with the relationship, so we maintained it. They moved up to speed quickly, but we lost some time because of the transition.

5.0
Overall Score It was a great experience.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We didn't have any scheduling issues.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I'm not the one spending the money, so it's hard to judge. One of the reasons for not continuing to work with PromptWorks was that the company felt that they were spending too much money. They weren't willing to budge on cost, which they may need to
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    As they grew, their principals could no longer stay involved in every project without spreading themselves too thin. Appointing a lead developer or a project manager would be a good recommendation.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

First Functional Prototype for Computer Software Company

"As we received more demand from clients, they made sure that we'd have the resources we needed."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Using Ruby on Rails, PromptWorks developed a functional prototype of a talent management product. Their team supplemented core developers during front- and back-end development.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
President & Head of Product, Software Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

PromptWorks provided a truly personalized solution and built a fruitful partnership. The team showed an ability to work effectively with third parties and key stakeholders during the deployment process. Their flexible approach to project management ensured smooth handling of any issues.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We develop software solutions for the executive recruiting and general management spaces. Our customers are executive search firms and search agencies as well as venture capital and private equity firms. We help them manage their talent networks and hire candidates for their portfolio companies. We have a traditional talent tracking system with more functionality on the collaboration side, in order to share profiles easier. 

What is your position?

I am the president and head of products within the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with PromptWorks?

I needed a team that could help us grow into a larger company. We launched our product a year ago, after working with PromptWorks and other teams months prior. I also hired an interactive agency for helping with the design of the platform. We just didn't have the resources or expertise to complete all the work ourselves, so we relied on a series of partners.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

PromptWorks has acted as our back-end development resource. They worked in collaboration with our design agency. The platform was developed using a mix of technologies. PromptWorks is mostly a Ruby on Rails shop, which has been the language on which most of the code was built. We've used many other technologies, from React.JS to JavaScript, CoffeeScript, and CSS.

At peak capacity, we've used four developers from PromptWorks within a month. At the start of the project, we were using two to three people, scaling the number up or down depending on the project. We've scaled back resources a little bit because we have internal developers, but we will be using them for a large upcoming project. We don't want to divert far away from our core. Supplementing our team with developers will best serve our client.

Version 2 of our product was developed with the help of another agency. I've hired several developers overall that have been integrated into the process. We currently have in-house as well as contracted developers. 

How did you come to work with PromptWorks?

I found them online. I was considering building an application on top of Heroku, which was bought by Salesforce in 2010. PromptWorks was listed as a possible vendor for Heroku app development. They're also a local company, which motivated me to link up with their team further. Their co-founder mentioned that he had worked on projects that were very similar to ours, from a back-end standpoint, in terms of being able to track candidates through different stages. We ended up not using the Heroku platform. We needed a more robust solution, so we're currently on Amazon Web Services.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been working with their company for two years.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

When we started our work, PromptWorks was a small company. I took a risk in using them because I felt comfortable with the people running the company, especially Greg Sterndale. He not only acted as a founder, but he helped us get the project off the ground by working as one of the developers.

As we received more demand from clients, they made sure that we'd have the resources we needed to make real progress. PromptWorks put a project manager in place for us, which was nice. I could only do so much in terms of working with a vendor. They've done good, clean work. They're very passionate about having clean code and not hacking around in the system as opposed to other vendors. It's been a positive partnership. We've hit a few bumps in the road, but there was never anything drastic. We were always able to figure things out. They were proactive in addressing anything that didn't work right by rotating developers from the work and reassigning the right people to it. For example, they've given us people specialized in commission software algorithms, front-end mobile development, and so on.

How did PromptWorks perform from a project management standpoint?

I see their company as a development resource for us. I've worked with other big, interactive agencies that have dedicated project people. PromptWorks is more hands on. I would suggest that anyone working with them make available a product manager internally. Their team is great at doing back-end work. Project management and quality testing fall into my lap. I work with another person in testing all the work provided by PromptWorks. We also write the feature stories for them to work on. Excepting the one project in which we've needed an extra management resource on their end, I haven't had much experience in this sense.

We use Pivotal Tracker for project management. It allows us to write different feature stories and put them into a backlog. The completion of each story can be estimated using a point system. It's a nice way of giving a developer the story, documentation, user persona, and attaching different mockups and screenshots. Interaction is made easier this way. We use Slack as a group chat in order to talk about features with developers quickly. I'm sure that PromptWorks uses many other internal tools.

What distinguishes PromptWorks from other providers?

Their tagline revolves around the ability to build handcrafted solutions. Not all developers have this kind of approach – libraries are shared and reused and many sites are built on standard platforms like WordPress. Also, many companies advertise the concept of a platform as a service. We had a platform like this, which had been built on a HelpSystems solution. It was not flexible and, overall, it was a bit of a mess. The developers that build on these platforms are usually not as good. They rely too much on the system to help them write code. On the other hand, when building something from the ground up, we could customize it and connect it to our vision.

Is there anything PromptWorks could have improved or done differently?

We've had issues with project management at times. PromptWorks had something in place, but it didn't work for me. I had a better experience of working with their team directly, rather than having someone come between us. The person assigned to us didn't have a clear understanding of the project. We've resolved the issue by working directly with the developers. I used to go to their office on Tuesdays and Fridays and work from there. We came to integrate our teams, and they were very accommodating in making sure that our internal resources received training and experience with senior developers. We appreciated this openness. We had particular issues with one developer, but that person no longer works there. His replacement has been great. Sometimes, an individual won't be the right fit, but we've always had open conversations about getting the right resource. 

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It's usually cheaper to hire an internal resource, but PromptWorks have given us great value by also helping us train our staff.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    PromptWorks made an effort in hiring the right people in order to do a good job for their clients. I've interacted with a variety of developers in terms of personality and talent...In general, they've done a good job in hiring the right staff.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Rails-developed Site for Market Development Firm

"PromptWorks is in it for the long run and they want the end product to be successful."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
Project summary: 

Promptworks developed a Web-enabled platform to provide information to building owners to make energy efficiency decisions. This included backend work and database configuration to provide regression analysis. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
President & CEO
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The product developed by PromptWorks has been received as a breakthrough tool in the industry. A deep talent pool and responsive management ensured that the project was a success. Their backend methods reduced output error by 50%, and they continue to provide improvements and updates. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are a marketing development firm running programs for clean energy companies.

What is your position?

I am the chief executive officer of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with PromptWorks?

Part of the work that we do involves identifying barriers to market penetration for clean energy products and services. One of those barriers was a glitch in the sales process. There isn't enough financial information given to building owners when they want to upgrade the energy efficiency of their buildings. With the help of PromptWorks, we developed a web-enabled platform with an intuitive user interface for the purpose of removing that barrier.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

PromptWorks developed our solution with the use of Ruby on Rails, which was the technology they recommended. Greg Sterndale [cofounder at PromptWorks] was our primary point of contact during the process. He brought in the different resources needed for our project and kept things running in order. We used Google Docs during the collaboration to manage and track certain tasks and deliverables.

How did you come to work with PromptWorks?

They used to be located in our building, so we were already familiar with them. We did originally consider other companies, but I liked the approach and thoughtfulness demonstrated by PromptWorks. They have a great talent pool there with very reliable and responsive management.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The total development cost so far has been $72,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

They've been working on upgrading our platform and creating subsequent versions of it during the past two years.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We've not kept track of quantitative metrics. Our solution was developed from scratch, and we are still making an effort to get it out into the market and obtain large-scale customers.

PromptWorks definitely helped us in terms of bug reduction. They came up with great methods of qualification on the back-end of the model. It's a financial model for which they employed statistical resources from Harvard for regression analysis. They came up with many expert insights for us during the actual development phase. The output error was reduced, from the method we were previously using, by 50 percent.

People have thought that our solution is a breakthrough tool in the industry. They're excited to use it, and we've had a small group of testers already. Overall, the reaction has been extremely positive.

How did PromptWorks perform from a project management standpoint?

Very well. We haven't had major issues on that front. They have an excellent team that understands the importance of transparency and consistent communication.

What distinguishes PromptWorks from other providers?

I have not worked with other providers for software development in the past. I evaluated other companies and saw that many vendors are run out of India. This would not have gotten us the level of customer service provided by PromptWorks. They're tuned into the project and act as part of our team. They help us achieve every goal that we set. I don't simply feel like they're an outsourced software developer for our company. They serve actively as another member of our team. PromptWorks is in it for the long run and they want the end product to be successful.

Is there anything PromptWorks could have improved or done differently?

They're almost always available when we call, so communication and responsiveness were never an issue. In the beginning, PromptWorks provided a very good interactive designer for us. That person developed the graphical user interface for the tool, which turned out fantastic. Unfortunately, this person is no longer with us. PromptWorks has other designers in-house, but they should make an effort to attract other resources of that caliber to their company.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I wish they were less expensive, but there's been a lot of value for our money.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer