Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Our Smartum apps are available on Google Play and the Apple Store. We’ve just broken the 10,000-user milestone one month ago, and have around 11,000 downloads, with a 90% retention rate, based on the Google Play data. There’s been an even usage of both apps in the 12 months since they were launched. We’re quite proud of our retention rates, especially since this was our first delve into mobile payments, transitioning from VISA payments.
How did The Software House perform from a project management standpoint?
We only used email for higher-level correspondence, and mainly communicated through Basecamp. It allowed us to communicate in almost real-time, and I could install the app on my phone. We reported bugs and other issues through it daily, and, when we needed to, we also had Skype meetings. There was no need for very many meetings; there was usually one meeting per month or thereabouts, in order to track progress. Apart from this, everything was done through Basecamp.
I’ve done many IT projects, and things were never this smooth. There was no rush at the end of the work, which is always a good sign. On most projects, we still had bugs at the approach of the deadline, but this never happened during the work with The Software House. Everything was picked up early in the project, so we never had to do a major refactoring of code. I’m not entirely sure how this was possible, but it’s been very easy. There’s a huge amount of trust we have in The Software House’s ability to deliver good-quality and reliable code based on our mockups. As a project manager, I can let them get on with it and trust that it will be okay.
What did you find most impressive about The Software House?
In working with The Software House generally, I found them easy to deal with. Many of the other providers we’ve used had to be babysitted through the projects, but we haven’t had to do this at all with The Software House. We can give them requirements, discuss how to do the work, and have it delivered on time and on budget. The quality is very good, and we’ve seen very few bugs make it through the beta testing. The Software House is the best we’ve worked with, out of all our partners.
Are there any areas The Software House could improve?
The worst part was dealing with the translations in the app. Because it was available in English, Finnish and Swedish, maintaining those translations was a bit of a pain, but The Software House found an online service which could manage this for us. We could simply take the text from there and put it in the configuration files. It was a bit annoying, but it works fine now.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with The Software House?
I’ve been an IT consultant myself, and have worked on both sides of the fence. It doesn’t matter how good the service provider is; they’re ultimately responsible that the client gets what they want, on budget and on schedule. One of the biggest limiting factors for the success of a project is the customer themselves. We can choose a great provider, but, if we’re not setup to succeed ourselves, the project will still fail. Anyone looking to choose a provider should take a look at themselves, and make sure they have a competent project manager who knows IT, or at least the particular thing being done. Also, be realistic about budgets, schedules and goals, because, if you’re not realistic about those things, the project won’t succeed.