What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
The results were beyond my expectations. The provided high-quality design and code. It's too early to provide metrics, but the project started as a proof-of-concept that had a few working programs, and SoftwareMill turned it into this beautiful thing. It's very well done.
The suite of technologies we're using is open source, so there's a corporate backing, but it's based on the best developers in the ecosystem. They were the ones that recommended SoftwareMill. World-class developers backed the team, so it didn't surprise me at all that they developed very clean code. I was very happy with it.
How did SoftwareMill perform from a project management standpoint?
Because it was so early and we're just seed-funded, there's a lot of flexibility that other companies might not have. I flew out to Poland for both the kickoff of the trial in November and then for the full four weeks in January.
It's against general wisdom to bring in consultants so early in a startup because the incentives of the consultants are misaligned with the company. Working with SoftwareMill was a risky choice, but they did very well. SoftwrareMill was a joy to work with, and the product was a major success. They are truly not only passionate about their work but prideful in seeing the success of their customers. The amount of work they accomplished in weeks was impressive.
What did you find most impressive about SoftwareMill?
The number one thing I would say about SoftwareMill is their ability to put startup anxiety at ease. The way they operate and their organizational structure helps in that. It's a flat structure, and everyone is involved with the project and wants to see the success of their company. Now, being a part of Clutch shows they take pride in word-of-mouth.
The interaction I had with the lead developer when I met him was like I was dealing with a friend by the end of the second day. We established such great rapport. There was so much trust established, and that alone, whether or not they had the best code or they even knew exactly how to go about the problem at hand, was the big hurdle for a startup. These guys really are passionate, almost obsessively passionate, about seeing my success. So much so that we didn't even discuss the details of the contract until we were well into it.
Are there any areas Software Mill could improve?
It's hard to say. It was a short project, and I was happy with the product. Maybe if we worked together for longer, I could pin-point things. Some companies might prefer SoftwareMill working in a different style. They have team members working all over the world, and we would have a meeting once a week for half of the day or a full day, and then they would go back to their hometowns. I had no problem with that, but some companies might rather have them located somewhere specific.
Also, they charge per day. I was a little reluctant also at first because the commitment in terms of hours could be subject. However, it seemed pretty apparent that that policy was to protect their sanity, and they probably ended up working more than a typical eight-hour day on an average work day.