Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
rspective has worked on one of our backend systems, so users don't actually interact with it. They’re not involved in any of the frontend work—not because they couldn't, but because we have a different team for that. rspective is only involved in highly delicate and complicated work. In this sense, it would be hard for me to provide stats, but I can say that we are able to process 8,000 invoices every month through Zuora and have 170,000 accounts on that platform.
How did rspective perform from a project management standpoint?
We use a number of tools, including Slack for informal communication. We have stand-ups through Skype or the appear.in Slack plug-in, depending on which one is working better at the time; they're all buggy. We use JIRA as a tracking tool. Everyone picks a task at the beginning of the sprint and works it through. rspective has full access to our GitHub account, where we manage code via Pull requests and constant code reviews.
On the non-tool side, we also arrange meetings from time to time by either having rspective come to Berlin or sending our team to Poland. We work side-by-side for one-week periods. This has been especially good at the beginning of projects when we needed to communicate heavily before kicking-off major features of the platform.
What did you find most impressive about rspective?
From a satisfaction point of view, I've been most satisfied with rspective's services and quality of code, compared to other freelancers or suppliers we've used in the past. I've had my fair share of outsourced partners in a previous job, and I've been most impressed with rspective's ability to hit the ground running. We presented a completely new platform and framework, but in a matter of days, rspective's team was already productive.
I'm also impressed by their work ethic. rspective jumped in when we had incidents on the platform, even if it was outside of their working hours. We felt that instead of a contractor, we were working with a member of the team. rspective didn't clock out after doing their eight hours and always worked proactively with us. Even the person who left our project has remained available for support whenever we had some questions. If it's time-consuming, we will obviously pay for it, but the simple fact that he is still helping us out in his spare time is a big plus. One doesn't usually get this with other contractors.
Speed, quality, and professionalism are what sets rspective apart from other contractors.
Are there any areas rspective could improve?
This could be more of a general wish on my end, not an improvement for rspective: I will sometimes need extra developers on short notice, after getting additional funds or having a burning project that needs to be dealt with immediately. rspective can be inflexible at times like this, but this also indicates that they won’t abandon another project. It's a minus for me, but a plus for the people employing them on other projects. Increasing the team size and having more people available would have been a big plus.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with rspective?
If you get a chance to work with them, take it quickly; it might not be open for long. The normal thinking when working with an outsourcing agency is that all companies will try to lure clients with the lowest price. In this case, cheaper does not necessarily mean better value for a project. I would consider paying for quality. And this is what you get when you have rspective on board.
Try to make sure that someone from the in-house team is on the project as well, to increase that sharing of knowledge. Though they are available and offer ongoing support, nothing will beat having your own team member knowing the ins and outs of a new system.
Cheap is expensive, from my experience. rspective is not the most expensive but also not the cheapest option. I find their price/value ratio to be good. I'm very satisfied with the code they've written; it has been trouble free in production for over a year.