What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We track lead time, which is the days from the time an issue is created by our operations teams until the time it's fully implemented and released to production. That's about 25 days, and that includes both bugs and user stories. When we look at user stories cycle time, which is the number of days, on average, that it takes from the product owner in operations declares a story finished until it's ready for user acceptance testing. That’s 11 days. Finally, our bug cycle time, which is the number of days, on average, between the time a bug is filed by operations and time it's fixed in production, is about four days right now.
How did SolbegSoft perform from a project management standpoint?
They integrated very smoothly, and we’ve been on a really excellent path ever since we got everyone up to speed. I have a weekly update call with the project manager assigned to our work.
The product management component has really been excellent. I get a weekly update report that tells me exactly what folks have worked on and how many issues were resolved in their system. I'm very satisfied with that. We use their Jira for the three non-software development projects, but our Azure DevOps for the software development.
There's the transactional, day-to-day writing of code, but I think they've actually added a lot more value as consultants. They're good listeners and try to be good stewards of our projects.
What did you find most impressive about them?
What really sets these people apart from a number of other outsourcing or staff augmentation or consultant firms is that they do a much better job of matching the client's requirements with their own capabilities. They provide candid feedback about what architectural directions might be best suited to that.
We're probably the smallest company they work with, so they have a huge body of software architecture knowledge about what it takes to deploy systems at scale. We've very much come to appreciate their input as we're designing systems. They think about what will work both right this minute and many years down the road. I feel like we've headed off a number of potential bottlenecks because of their expertise.
They also bring in resources from different elements of their company to solve problems. When we were trying to do some integration with Salesforce, they brought in a Salesforce administrator at no cost to listen to the project. He had some recommendations, and we ended up kicking off a small Salesforce project. That probably saved us several months of work.
We've also relied heavily on their web authentication team and the teams that do identities as service. We really didn’t have very much expertise and were going down a path that probably wasn't very scalable. They listened to what we were trying to accomplish and made suggestions that will be much better in the long run than what we had come up with.
In a lot of software projects, your requirements aren’t fixed in stone. We often find that there are outsourcing companies that will implement precisely the requirements you send them, nothing more and nothing less. It's pretty inflexible. Thankfully, we've been able to give these folks open-ended problems. They're very good about operating in an ambiguous environment. A lot of outsourcing companies will say they can't do anything until you tell them more, or they'll do something incorrectly, charge you for it, and then charge you for a change fee. These people get it right the first time.
Are there any areas they could improve?
It’s really not on their side. It's more on our side; we need more bandwidth. It would be helpful if they were closer to us, but they're 6,000 miles away. We also need more budget to accelerate the projects, but, other than that, I don't think there's anything I can complain about.