What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
It’s difficult to assess the accuracy of need finding and problem validation in their early stages. However, six months removed from the project we found that many of their hypotheses were correct. Their process helped ensure that we didn’t diverge too far from our plans, which saved us time and money.
How did STRV perform from a project management standpoint?
Our teams worked well together. Our product manager even came from the Czech Republic to visit for a week, and we had a chance to work together in person.
Our project manager took a lot of responsibility and leadership in running the project. Because they were in Europe, we’d go to sleep with discussion notes, and wake up with an outline of what was worked on, with next steps. It was impressive that they managed the process so efficiently; it allowed us to focus on other aspects of our operations, such as technology development and fundraising.
What did you find most impressive about them?
We felt we were getting great value for what we were paying, which is important to us as a small business where every dollar is so precious. The team understood our financial constraints and helped us to craft a plan and realistic milestones. Outsourced teams usually charge as much as they can, but it felt very different with STRV. They reflected the same level of efficiency with our resources that we would expect from ourselves, internally. They made sure we had a successful outcome, even though it didn’t necessarily translate into more income for them.
Are there any areas they could improve?
It took us a little longer to familiarize their team with our industry. It would have been better if we could’ve gotten them up to speed quicker, but I don’t know what we could have done to help that process.
There was also a period where we needed to change designers, which was actually a great shift for us. Unfortunately, there was some time wasted with the first iteration of designers. We would certainly work with them again, even with some of those challenges.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
In general, it’s best to be clear about desired milestones and to have check-ins to remain on track. It’s definitely easy to have someone else come in and manage the process, but it’s important to keep a close watch on how much work should be outsourced and how much should be internal. I would suggest assessing what stage of competence your company is in; sometimes it’s crucial to the learning curve of your business and your team to keep certain responsibilities and jobs inhouse. Finding that balance with STRV was key, even though they were providing high-quality services for us.