Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
We just were acquired by PetSmart, so we’re in a bit of a transition phase at the moment. We receive nearly a million visits a month.
How did Rival Group perform from a project management standpoint?
We primarily used Trello. For a period of time before that, we used Pivotal Tracker. Man is pretty flexible, so whatever you want to work with is fine. As far as project management, we were always in frequent communication. There were days where he was in the office, but if he was working from home, we would communicate by Gchat or something like that, or phone. We would certainly create tickets for smaller items. Larger items, we would usually talk about and then create tickets for.
What did you find most impressive about Rival Group?
Man has a few unique skills for a programmer. As far as what he’s done particularly well, he is an extremely talented programmer. To build a site like this, one that gets that kind of traffic and has been labeled rock-solid technology by everyone who’s looked at it, obviously requires a ton of skill. I would say he’s just a highly skilled developer. One thing that makes him fairly unique among developers is that he has a pretty strong business sense and entrepreneurial sense as well. I’ve worked with a lot of developers over the years who simply will follow your instructions and give no input, no opinions, nor thoughts. He looks at things often from a business perspective and a founder’s perspective. He has a lot of ideas and he’s not shy about offering input. He’s very proactive in offering suggestions. That definitely makes him fairly unique among the developers that I’ve worked with over the years.
Are there any areas Rival Group could improve?
I don’t know if it’s necessarily an area for improvement, but I guess the flip side of that aspect of Man is he likes to be challenged. He’s thirsty for new knowledge, new technologies, and new challenges. As a result, if you don’t challenge him, I think he can lose interest, particularly if it’s boring stuff. I think by having worked with him for a number of years, it’s something that I was familiar with and aware of. It’s certainly not unique to him in the development world, but I think he is particularly at his best when it’s something new and exciting for him to look on and it’s a new skill, new technology, or new feature that he can master. He is not someone who wants to work on the same projects over and over again. I have certainly worked with developers who are perfectly happy if you just give them something to do; they do it, and it’s a very transactional relationship. Man has much more of an entrepreneurial mindset and is much more eager to take on challenges, so I think it’s important to view him in that light.