Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Because of the last developer I had, I was still in this mode of “I know what my goals are, let me tell you what I think we can do to fulfill that.” It’s been liberating for me to be able to pull back from that. I have these goals and I have some sense of what my community is interested in because they would be the main target audience. I can ask SnapMobile, “Do you have any ideas of how we could represent this, what functionality attends to it, what timeline we have, and what cost we have?” All of that was a really seamless process.
During our initial meeting, I was very impressed by the speed at which it seemed like they would be able to deliver. They just seemed like they had a really tight ship. They had a lot of things I was looking for in-house and they seemed to be speaking the same language. There wasn’t any kind of shaming for me not knowing the terminology. They were able to translate things for me. They weren’t afraid of pushback. Because I’m a one-person staff, that is very exciting. I need to be able to put out an idea and have an honest response about whether or not it’s going to fly. For example, when I originally was laying out the structure, I had tons of notifications in there. This was really funny because an app that would trigger off all these multiple notifications is not something that I would personally use. They were able to be very friendly, firm, and very honest about the best practice that would help me achieve my goals.
Also, I needed a certain level of this project to be completed by the end of the year, around November. I needed to have user response and community response data to look at before the year is out. The actual product needs to be out as soon as possible. I thought it would take a month and then they give it to me in 2 or 3 weeks. What SnapMobile has been able to give me logistically was that they fit into my timeline very well. They’ll end up waiting on me, which is a great way to feel. It feels like I’m in control.
How did SnapMobile perform from a project management standpoint?
suSnapMobile is really good and very clear with expectations. They’re very nitpicky on details, which is awesome. I’ll get these messages and they’re like, “This might be a random question.” I’m like, “No, this is an awesome question. I love this.” I’ve been on Basecamp for other projects before, but I’ve never really taken it that seriously. I’m like, “Oh yeah, there was a message somewhere.” This time, I’m looking at their messages all the time.
There have been a couple of points where there was one detail that I’m expecting a response on, but they don’t actually tell me. I don’t end up being upset about that because they figured it out on their end. I’m used to being looped in and I don’t think I actually need to be looped in sometimes. I’m still learning how to make this, so they’re helping me understand how this process should work. It actually feels much more comfortable than it was with my past developer.
Somehow, they’ve kept me very engaged and very informed. If I have a question, they will come back to it very quickly. As an aside, I think they apologize too much because they have not given me any issues. Even the thing I was talking about before with not letting me know stuff, that’s based on my expectations that actually I was taught by somebody else. In some ways, they’re undoing that, which is actually good. I don’t need to be involved with all the nitty gritty.
What did you find most impressive about SnapMobile?
I’ll tell you a couple of things. First, I really appreciated that all the people I was interacting with at SnapMobile were women, from the project manager to the engineers to the project assistants. It’s felt really awesome in that way. We’re social justice oriented. For me to see women in that type of industry who are running the show, who are very capable and know what they’re doing, is a signal to me about the values of that organization. That seems very exciting. I don’t mean that in a glib way. I’m working in a gay organization, so it’s something that’s on my mind. As a community service organization, I have to think about how will I be received. When we talk about sexual health, we’re talking about very intimate things, some would say graphic even. We have to go with people’s actual lives. We know that untreated HIV down the road has these really dire consequences on someone’s health and on their livelihood. So we need to get in there and be honest about what’s happening up front. They have never been weird with me. They have always met me exactly with what I’m talking about. The conversations have been very comfortable.
The second thing is that the atmosphere that they have is not intimidating. Because this is not my industry, I have a certain trepidation about talking too much and sounding stupid or not actually being able to communicate what I’m looking for. We’ve never had those issues. I’ve never felt talked down to. It’s like the fear of talking to the computer engineer when your computer is broken. That’s always the deal whenever it’s the hardware. It’s always assumed that you did something wrong and they’ll always make you feel stupid. You didn’t do something right. That’s a lingering fear, and it could not be further from the truth when working with them.
Are there any areas SnapMobile could improve?
None that I can think of. I would have to think for a while to think of anything I’d want to change.