How did you select this vendor?
My team spoke to 6 development shops based in Southern California (3) and in Europe (3), mostly sourced through referrals.
Our team had met Ahmed once previously, so we included Sileria in the evaluation because of that connection. We were ultimately selecting based on:
- Code quality and Android technology expertise
- Ability to come to the office for meaningful software design and product functionality conversations
- Trustworthiness and collaborative working style.
We decided to proceed with Sileria despite a higher cost (compared to off-shore teams in Easter Europe) because they seemed very knowledgeable about Android best practices, they had positive reviews on their work quality (including in-depth reference conversations we conducted with former clients).
They were based ~60-90min from our offices and could come in in person for important knowledge-transfers and discussions, and they were a small, boutique shop with a strong personal touch (which made us feel they were trustworthy, communicative, personal, and flexible).
Describe the project in detail.
We began evaluating Sileria at the very end of July 2019, including reference conversations and receiving a very rough 1500-hour project estimation from Carolina and Ahmed based on early wireframes that our in-house product designer and product manager shared with them.
In early August 2019, we reviewed resumes from the team, revised the detailed project estimations (5 pages of time estimates for about ~100 services and features, totalling to an 1100-hour project), discussed a contract, and had further conversations about technology choices.
Ultimately, we decide to start the project with 2 developers. We kicked off the project in mid-August 2019, immediately diving into design and architecture for the mobile application. In order to do this, Sileria received detailed wireframes and product functionality descriptions (generally ready in Confluence and Zeplin) from our product team, but they also were in close communication with our team for ongoing clarification and updates as well.
While large blueprinting and architecture decisions probably continued from mid-August well into September and October (because of aforementioned decision-making and updates related to our back-end and our Android product design), the Sileria team also began producing code immediately.
In August, a handful of smaller Jira stories were completed in the 2 weeks after project kick-off, in addition to broader architecting work at the same time. In early September, they primarily completed infrastructure set-up (device syncing, data storage, and Bluetooth connection) and boilerplate code.
In September and October, development of our more specific Android functions continued on pace to estimations. In mid-November, we had a significant deadline for the Android product and our back-end to sync up and test with real user data from the field (our 'technical MVP', delivering on all the back-end components).
Following that, we moved into a period of simultaneous feature development and bug-fixing in December. By early January 2020, the functional features were broadly complete, and we moved into bug-fixing while also onboarding our full-time in-house Android specialist.
By mid-January, the Sileria team had rolled off and handed over the product to our internal team member, who continued to fix bugs and moved into implementation of visuals that had not been done during the focus on feature development in the last few months.
At the time of this ramp-off, the Sileria team had put in approximately 1800 hours since August. This was significantly more than the original and revised estimates in August 2019. We believe that this difference was primarily due to:
- Moving pieces and ongoing product definitions in August and September due to our internal Engineering team's evolving product/engineering decisions
- Some increases in project scope (e.g., more server side, data sync, Bluetooth device config, and other requirements than originally estimated)
- A longer tail on bug-fixing than we originally planned when building initial buffers on the estimates.
What was the team composition?
Our full-time team members from Sileria were Carolina and Shibly, at about 40 hours a week. Ahmed supported on a regular basis on both project and team management as well as technology and architecture decisions.