What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Their responsiveness has been one of the best things. In terms of messaging and responsiveness, they were always a minute or less away. It felt like they were an extension of our team. I appreciated the experience of working with them.
The code they built has been very stable. I’ve worked with enough engineers to know that it’s easy to make bad code that slows the server down and everything starts to fall apart and you build up code debt. I never had that experience with SAU-CAL. They are talented, and their deliverables are always right or close to right on the first try. They do a lot of testing to make sure that they’re not going to break 2 other things every time they launch something.
How did SAU-CAL perform from a project management standpoint?
We had Skype video calls once a week to kick off the sprints for that week and then communicated via Slack the rest of the time. It felt like they were in the office with us because you could just pop open a Slack message, send something, and they would reply almost instantly.
The project grew in scope so much that they ended up adding a project manager on their side and we ended up adding one on our side because there were too many moving pieces. We had so much to do that if we hadn’t been really organized with a lot of project management, it would have been a disaster.
What did you find most impressive about them?
The most impressive thing was their friendliness. They were great at communicating and being quick, but they were very friendly, easy to get along with, and very humble; if they messed up on anything, they always let us know immediately and never charged us for fixing anything. If something required an extra 10 hours of their time to go back and do it the right way, they would always do it and we never got billed for any of that time.
I appreciated how candid and honest they were. They were completely transparent. If they did something that caused some random error in the code they didn’t even build, they would tell us immediately and they would just go fix it. Even if it was something that we would never have noticed or known about, they would let us know anyway.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Not really. I’ve worked with good and bad agencies, and the experience with SAU-CAL is way above average. If more developers would behave the way they do, the startup world would be a better place.
Do you have any advice for potential clients?
Know what you want to build before you approach them. I think we all assume we know what we want to build at first, but I find those early plans rarely match up with reality. It’s good to really think whether building some expensive tech feature is actually going to do anything meaningful for your customers. If not, you shouldn’t pay to build it. If you’re paying a premium price and you build out even one feature that goes live and you realize it had no measurable positive impact on your business, you just burned money. It was a bad set of assumptions you paid thousands of dollars for. SAU-CAL is really good at thinking those things through with you. They’re very good at providing an excellent recommendation on what plugins to use and things like that.
If I were approaching them again, I would have done a better job of thinking about what exactly I wanted to build. They will build exactly what you tell them to. Sometimes they will even add a couple special features in there you hadn’t even thought about. But for what you’re paying, you really need to know what you actually want.