What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
It’s really difficult to put a number on it since they produce a piece of a larger piece of software. I value Stigasoft’s low turnover rate within the team. You lose a lot of knowledge and have to spend time training people when that happens.
The work has been absolutely satisfactory. We’re talking about pretty small teams, still, but there are key people within the Stigasoft team that it would be really hard to lose. They have provided some key elements to the software we’re providing. They have been extremely loyal and reliable over the years, and have built a lot of knowledge, especially around third-party data connectivity. We have accumulated a lot of value in that respect.
How did Stigasoft perform from a project management standpoint?
We had other failed offshore attempts prior to the setup we now have. When we started out, we knew that communication is key to making it work. We included their team in our daily stand-up meetings. It was just one big virtual team in both Stockholm and Delhi. Later on, as it grew, we had to implement a different process.
Now, since we have two geographically separate teams, the Stockholm team runs one Scrum in the morning, the Stigasoft team runs one, and then I do a meeting with the dev lead and QA lead from Stigasoft every morning to check up. Every morning there is interaction, but when there is cross-team work, there is a lot of Skype communication going on all of the time.
Once a month, there is a time for planning activities for the next couple of weeks or the upcoming release. We also have weekly or bi-weekly feature review meetings. There is lots of interaction and I think that’s really important to making remote teams work well.
Our team lead is excellent and I rely on him to run the day-to-day team. I don’t want to have to micromanage the developers, and I couldn’t because it would be too far away. They have been very responsive, and the collaboration has been working really well.
What did you find most impressive about them?
The excellent attrition rate is one key factor. Another is our ease of communication with everyone on the team. They have a good level of both written and verbal communication skills, so that’s also extremely important for teams to work over geographic distance.
They have a high technical skill, and they have, over time, accumulated a lot of product knowledge. They’re also very self-sufficient. You can leave them with tasks, and you know that they will get done. They work as a good, independent unit that you can rely on.
Are there any areas they could improve?
The one thing we have been debating is the overhead costs due to the setup of the infrastructure and additional costs that start to add up. This high cost can make them slightly less competitive. Sometimes, when you evaluate our finances, you find it’s not as cheap as you might think to outsource or offshore to India. However, for what they produce, we are very happy.
Do you have any advice for potential future customers of Stigasoft?
Communication is important. Also, I have been traveling to see the team once or twice a year which is really helpful. This helps us not only engage with the team, but it also helps the team get much deeper insight into the product they are building, and it builds loyalty. I feel that has resonated well and really boosted efficiency.