Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
We have developed a niche product with a small user base. I have a direct overview of how our customers are using it and use Google Analytics in order to see how people flow through the software. Based on what we've seen so far, users are having a much easier time than expected. We rarely receive defect reports. Internally, everyone here has been very impressed with Softeq and their performance.
How did Softeq Development perform from a project management standpoint?
Development work is hard and needs to be a concentrated effort. I'm not an advocate of outsourcing work because ideas need to be bounced around directly between the client and those doing the work. Developers need to know what it is they're building and why before they start building it. Handing off specs to a firm and getting software back will not work. Because Softeq is an outsourced company in a different country and time zone, speaking a different language than us, I'm surprised how few problems we've encountered.
There are a few odd little problems, like a typo on a particular button. This tells me that they're simply following through the specs. This probably wouldn't happen if everyone was sitting in the same room.
In terms of project management, though, Softeq is bulletproof. They respond to things quickly, and they don't cheat by doing the bare minimum work to achieve the specs. They're apologetic if something doesn't work as planned, even if it's not their fault. And they turn around resolutions extremely quickly.
We log into their JIRA instance for project tracking. They also have a Confluence installation that we use. Long term, we will be hosting it ourselves but, for now, their solution has worked fine. We can change management items and access spreadsheets of their workflow.
What distinguishes Softeq Development from other providers?
I don't know what hours they keep, but they're always available. When I'm in the office at 9 o'clock, there will usually be a Skype message waiting for me. Even though they're three hours ahead of us, they're still available. This is a fantastic distinguishing feature.
Softeq's turnaround time is great and they're great communicators. Everything is handled by one person, who does an excellent job. Whenever they have a national holiday, I am notified a week in advance. I haven't had that experience with another supplier. Typically, operations are 9 to 5, and communication won't be proactive as opposed to Softeq.
Is there anything Softeq Development could have improved or done differently?
The product has only been out for one season, so we haven't yet encountered a problem that they couldn't overcome.
Any prospecting customer should know their expectations and explain what they want in full. Lean and agile methodologies are the current norm, and involve building small, incremental releases towards a final product. This is hard to do with an external team as you can't sit together within the same studio and discuss small details. You have to fit this element into your plans. The lack of a local team should be supplemented with in-house technical knowledge by employing one or two developers. Otherwise, marketers and product managers will invent products that cannot be built. Ideas need to be balanced with an IT perspective.