Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
Most of the software we develop will end up being used by 10-20 people at most. Our aim isn't to create the next Facebook, so we have no significant metrics.
How did Radixweb perform from a project management standpoint?
As an example for their ability performance-wise: we've worked on a project that was 80% complete when the client decided to move in a completely new direction while, at the same time, keeping the same deadline. Radixweb was able to scale up perfectly within a couple of days. The project was completed almost on time, with around 50% of the work being altered. It was a testament to their project management skills and to the architecture that was laid out at the beginning of the project. Scaling up on bad architecture is not achievable.
Normally, our projects don't go out of hand. This was an out-of-the-ordinary example. Radixweb does everything possible to keep deadlines once we agree on them. They keep track of all communication, and their project managers are good not only in giving a status of what they're doing exactly but are also great in communicating what they want from you as a client. There are companies that don't practice this communication, and it can be a huge surprise to learn that everything got delayed because you didn't answer certain questions.
Radixweb is focused on bringing deliverables and they acknowledge that finished work equates to the client receiving what they asked for. They ask the right questions at the right time and keep the client aligned. This has helped me when trying to get my clients up to speed on the current progress. Radixweb typically alerts me within one week of any event, and lets me know that we have to receive certain details from the client, which gives me the time to obtain them.
We use Redmine for project tracking, which is the main tool used by Radixweb internally. Coming from the advertising industry, it can be overwhelming to see such an extent of information flowing around. I use Jira with my clients and also use Jira Sprint Board when communicating with project managers. I've learned that it's always best not to interfere with whatever is happening behind their doors. Whatever tools help them organize should be allowed.
What distinguishes Radixweb from other providers?
Most of the other providers I've used have asked "How high?" when I said "Jump!”, which is not the ideal response. I need someone who will challenge my ideas, and Radixweb has been such a company.
Radixweb is one of the only companies I've worked with that has their own framework. They have 5-6 developers who do nothing else except for implementing a solid framework of tasks that are common to every IT project, like authentication, sending emails, and so on. When sending emails, a lot of processes come into play if the message cannot be sent out, which includes ways in which to handle SMTP servers that are not responding, or which are quarantining the email, and so on. Having all of this functionality built into one framework makes it tremendously fast to reach 80% of a prototype, when moving down the line. The system has been tested extensively, and the first build deliverables that we see from Radixweb are very good. Nothing is perfect in the IT world, but they are the closest we see to perfect.
We're also working with a different team. Any task that we give to them should ideally be described in minute details, down to the code level. They can deliver fine work, but don't have any backlogs of functions, whereas Radixweb has a very good framework that they keep developing. When we first used it, it was not as mature as it is right now. They've constantly worked on improving it within the last four years.
Is there anything Radixweb could have improved or done differently?
When executing projects that span thousands of hours, there will always be hiccups, and there will always be someone who falls out of line on the team. In Europe, we have a tendency of seeing Indians as simply Indians, ignoring the diversity that exists within their society. For example, we encountered a developer who said yes to everything we asked of him. In his culture, though, "yes" didn't always mean "yes". It took a while to realize that he was doing more harm to the project than moving it forward. It was eventually assessed internally, and he was replaced with someone else.