Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?
Not that I can quantify. My metrics are on time, within the budget, and happy customers. Those are the three things that are most important to me. So far, we’ve had all three. I would like to get them involved in a larger project. We're not the type organization where we have that, but they come along from time to time. If I had a 2,000- to 4,000-hour project, I would give it to them first to size and win the deal. I would look at others because it would be a large project, but they would definitely have a nod in a positive direction before the others because of the work they’ve done for us.
Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?
I’ve worked with some big consulting and outsourcing firms. The one thing that I like about RapidValue is that they do full-cycle project management. A lot of the other shops that I’ve worked with have been step augmentation. If we gave them one problem, they would give us full resources and figure it out. They solve the problem for us; they own it, which I thought was unique, based on the other experiences that I’ve had.
Typically, there is some level of disconnect, no matter how well you write your requirements or a contract. We’ve had that happen with them, too. What impresses me about RapidValue, which I have not seen from the other shops, when you do project-based work with them, is their willingness to work with you. When we did our initial project with them, we encountered a few things that other vendors would come back and say they would impose a big upcharge for the items they didn’t know about.
On the other hand, RapidValue was very good. They said that in the larger scheme of things, they were small changes that were not material to the original deal, and they did them for us. That is the model that we’ve worked under from the beginning, and that is a huge advantage for me in a company that is small and nimble. I don’t have time to dot every I and cross every T. We do a lot of directional-level requirements. Because of that, we add in a little bit of contingency to account for the uncertainty. By doing that, we’ve never had a miss yet that resulted in us paying more, or the customer paying more.
Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?
We haven’t done a lot of design work with RapidValue, and our project management staff generally handles that in terms of look and feel, as well as user experience. We give that schematic to RapidValue. RapidValue has a design phase and designers as part of their process, which has been a question mark for me. I wonder how well that will work in an offshore model. I’ve tried that in an offshore model before, and it didn’t work very well. I’m giving RapidValue the benefit of the doubt because they’ve been able to do other things well. They’ll do this well, too, I think.
We're getting into another project where they’ll own that part of the project as well. I'll keep my eye on that. I don’t have any experience with that design and user experience to give you a fair assessment of them yet.
I’ve worked with offshore firms for a long time. I know how the model works, how to be successful with the model, and what the drawbacks of the model are. I’m very comfortable with an offshore model, and you have to be prepared for offshoring if you haven’t done it before. It's different than giving someone requirements and have it magically come together. You have to do a lot of reviews. We did daily calls and weekly reviews, which they were very amenable to and worked out great. If someone were to hire RapidValue for their first offshoring experience, it would be a good choice because they are experienced and organized.