Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
I was the product owner in the development of our customer portal. Prior to the development of our portal, we felt that we had a competitive gap in our product/service offering. Railsware worked closely with KVH to development minimally-viable product (MVP), and we’ve continued to extend it. Today, feedback from our customers is that what was once a void in our offering has become a powerful differentiator. I credit Railsware with helping us get there rapidly. Our site is beautiful and modern, with mobile integration. We've figured out how to make it airtime-free in the network. We’re fully leveraging the economies and flexibilities of the cloud. We could have built it in other ways, using other teams, but Railsware allowed us to get there faster, bringing in a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes complexity to a simple user interface which differentiates our products and services.
How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?
We have daily standup meetings with Railsware's team and have demos of the work. For this project, their developers are dispersed throughout multiple countries, including Poland, Russia and Ukraine, while ours are in the US and Norway.
Railsware stuck to our project timelines and budget. We used Jira and Confluence for project tracking. They're the tools that we use across the board, for all our external development partners.
Railsware is also a great source of innovation in methods and tools. Over the past few years, we’ve used a number of emerging tools for project management, mockups, collaboration, DevOps, etc. – ideas brought to us by Railsware. They have a good eye out for what's new and valuable in the market, and they easily share good suggestions around all the dev teams and projects they work on for all their customers. These suggestions have even cross-pollinated to our non-Railsware projects, which has been another fantastic part of working with them It is not just the tech they deliver, but the ideas and practices as well.
What did you find most impressive about Railsware?
We do use additional coding resources outside of Railsware, often feeding them strict instructions. With Railsware, we're dealing with more senior developers who have superb English skills. They can take a look at a particular part of a project, collaborate on capturing stories, ask us question after question until they understand where we are going, estimate story points, etc. and break big complex tasks up into sprints. They collaborate, question and sometimes educate us, instead of simply producing code on spec. Railsware understands us, and we understand them. These guys live Agile – always practical though, and never doctrinaire.
Are there any areas Railsware could improve?
Railsware is primarily a Rails and project-oriented shop, not a body-shop in any way. Rails aside, high-end AWS work, big-data, building mobile apps, etc. is in their portfolio of services. The one thing that I'd like to have with Railsware is more Salesforce-side development, and we’re starting to do a little work there now with them. We are also a global, public company, so we often need more of an enterprise focus - more discipline in design and features than perhaps some of their start-up business customers require. However, without fail, they’ve come up to speed on our enterprise requirements and practices, without slowing down and getting muddled in bureaucracy.