Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
We reached a release-to-market product after 9 months, which is roughly what I expected. We have been adding additional functionalities on a regular basis. I particularly like the fact that we've been able to change key bits of the architecture, as we learned more about the behavior of our application. As an organization, TechMagic worked alongside me, ensuring that we're building the product which we want to have for the next 10 years. I view TechMagic as my development group, rather than a third-party resource; they simply happen to be based in Ukraine.
We had a strategic review 2 weeks ago, discussing the engineering function of our business. The view was that there was no need or desire to bring the development effort onshore to the UK for the moment. We're extremely happy with the way in which TechMagic is delivering and scaling. The most important metric is that, for the next strategic period, we've decided to use TechMagic exclusively.
How did TechMagic perform from a project management standpoint?
I keep contact with TechMagic up to 10 times per day, either with junior developers or with the tech lead, who is also an owner of the company. We run an Agile 2-week sprint system, and I'm deeply involved as a product owner, deciding what will be built and when. We've matured our process, creating 3 distinct teams, each with a team leader responsible for their particular sprints. I have excellent visibility of the work going on. As with all projects, I do wish that the work would complete faster at times and reach the market, but that's not realistic.
I've done work with third-party developers in the past and never felt as integrated with a company as with TechMagic. There are no barriers in talking to anyone there. TechMagic is simply my team. The most junior testers can ping me on Slack or Skype for a quick call any day. If the project management was failing at this point, it would probably be my fault, not TechMagic's.
What did you find most impressive about TechMagic?
Their pragmatic, technical decision-making. I feel comfortable that, when issues come up, sensible decisions will be taken by TechMagic. They know when to make one themselves and when to engage me in the process, which gives me enormous confidence.
I've worked with other companies, particularly Indian developers, who all built to the spec. From my experience, the spec is rarely right, and this can be very frustrating. Others did decide that the spec couldn't be right and built their own solutions, but without understanding the whole context; this is just as bad. TechMagic has a very good balance of understanding our goals, knowing when to take pragmatic decisions, and when to ask me about an issue. TechMagic has also made good suggestions when possible.
Are there any areas TechMagic could improve?
There's constant improvement in our process of working together with TechMagic in order to make things smoother. There have been no major issues, mainly because I can talk to TechMagic about any concerns with the staff or anything else. The fact that TechMagic is a third-party organization has had almost zero impact on how we work as a group. The language barrier is remarkably unobtrusive, and I haven't had to modify the way in which I speak in order to compensate for the fact that I'm talking to a team in Ukraine.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with TechMagic?
I don't know how TechMagic would work with a more hands-off client, but I advise everyone to work closely with the developer. I go to the Ukraine every 2-3 weeks and spend a few days there, even going out with the rest of the team. TechMagic is very open to working in this way and incredibly hospitable. I even have my own desk there.