Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
The process of getting our platform ready for the app took about a year. From there, we were ready to go into the App Store, but we still had more things to do internally that further delayed the rollout. As we did that, Raizlabs found ways to add value to the app. Along the way, we found that the team was able to be creative about how to help with the various integrations we wanted to perform with our own platform or within iOS, which is critical for crafting the best user experiences. I find that the creative thinking, strategy, architecture, and a great implementation must combine in order to craft a great experience. I think that for each sprint we worked on the focus of what we were looking to achieve always involved working through that order of operations.
How did Raizlabs perform from a project management standpoint?
Until we constrained our budget, which forced them to change the team, they were not only matching expectations, they were exceeding them. As we leaned out the team and some of the onus passed to us, the dynamics changed, which was an expected outcome.
What did you find most impressive about Raizlabs?
Any great fit is always about the people and less about the company, brand, or track record. Raizlabs had an experienced team with the right skill sets who had worked together before. They had folks who spent time doing thought leadership. It’s great to be exposed to the creative value of an agency that’s working on a lot of different projects that are successful. I don’t think that every agency is taking advantage of or has access to a lot of the great projects and talent to uniquely position themselves like Raizlabs. There’s a difference between not having the capacity to do something and hiring someone versus finding an actual partner who is able to think these things through, understands the market, asks questions, gets engaged, takes ownership, and is accountable for contributing to a really good outcome. The dynamics of building teams like that precludes agencies from being very large, depending on what they’re delivering. I’ve watched Raizlabs grow and continue to offer that value, which I think is extraordinary. They’re not just trying to be on the cutting edge; they’re really trying to be thought leaders and pioneer value—not in a contrived way, but in a way that they know is going to create value. If they feel they can’t add value, they back off and start over, which is what we want.
Are there any areas Raizlabs could improve?
I think agencies across the board should make it easier for customers to see what is happening at any given moment inside the team as opposed to only on a release cycle's cadence. It would be great to have a collaboration tool where I can sit down and see what’s going on at any given time. Raizlabs does not have a lack of transparency, but we didn’t have that ad hoc engagement dynamic, which is just a personal preference of mine. Obviously, there are some tradeoffs of having an internal team, but the inverse is also true. Although discussions were always fun and collaborative, there are ways to do that collaboration without adding overhead to either side. I think that access would’ve helped us accomplish more, faster.