Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
stable|kernel's main strength is programming. They actually hired an additional Android programmer specifically for our project. That showed commitment on their part, and that was a big deal for us. stable|kernel has also been very responsive to issues and challenges.
How did stable|kernel perform from a project management standpoint?
stable|kernel should work on having great project managers. At first, the project didn't seem to be making progress after several weeks. Apparently, much was already being done on the back-end, but we couldn't see it, and it wasn't being communicated properly. We also noticed that the programming manager was coding and trying to lead difficult meetings. When we raised the issue, stable|kernel brought in a different project manager and the meetings improved. They became more structured and focused, giving us clarity on what was being accomplished. If there were any gating issues, we were able to work more easily through those things.
What did you find most impressive about stable|kernel?
stable|kernel's passion for the project was by far the biggest thing that impressed me. There were many firms out there who said they could help us, but the passion didn't come through. stable|kernel was excited about what we were trying to do, and that came through. They actually turned down larger, more financially stable clients that offered mundane work. They said, "Look, you guys are a startup, but you're doing something really cool. This is industry changing, so we'd rather work with you guys." That made a huge difference.
Are there any areas stable|kernel could improve?
stable|kernel needs to improve their project management since the project manager role was missing upfront. They need to make sure they stay on top of things as they grow and understand that it's not just about the coding. A client can't really appreciate the process if a project manager does not communicate where they are, what they are doing, and the value created that week. That is true particularly in the phase where you're not actually selling anything yet. It's another thing to walk in and say you can see the difference in the app from week to week. Communicating with the client is as important as the actual code itself.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with stable|kernel?
We had meetings every week so we stayed close and that helped on the partnership side, too.