What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We have great feedback from our beta users. Several power users have really taken to it and use it for their jobs every day, finding the right people in Congress to talk to in order to move their legislation or gain support for their offices’ initiatives. We haven’t done much marketing at all other than in-person, grassroots-style outreach to individual offices. We’re focusing now on testing the user onboarding and marketing page experience and validating our work based on past user interviews. We’re very excited about how this polished experience will essentially sell itself.
We’re scaling up our thoughtbot team to launch our iOS app in the next few months, and then we will lean on thoughtbot to help us build our internal team. They allow me to focus on hiring people into an existing system, with an existing culture and robust practices and workflows. They way they built the app and maintained the code makes everything very transferrable to the next person who will work on the project. thoughtbot is increasing the breadth of knowledge across our organization about our project. They’re doing internal code reviews with the rest of their team before they deploy it to our QA site. Whenever we shift or move to a new developer or designer, it’s a seamless transition. Everything is done in a way that makes me feel very confident in the way they’re building the application and preparing for an internal tech team in the future. The last person we’ll need to hire is a CTO. thoughtbot plays the part of a really experienced, seasoned CTO and an entire technology team.
How did thoughtbot perform from a project management standpoint?
Communication is excellent and highly constructive. We have daily morning standups and retrospectives at the end of every week with thoughtbot. Even when there are tough decisions we have to talk about, we’re able to have those conversations with them in a very structured and beneficial. It’s never a drag to have to speak to them.
thoughtbot uses Trello and GitHub for project management and code management. We use monday.com internally, and the team joined our tool and could integrate nicely. They can view things that we’re working on and contribute when needed. The way they have set up their Trello boards is amazing. I’ve never seen a system so meticulously created and maintained. It’s extremely simple but incredibly developed. It’s seamless to use the tools they’ve set up.
What did you find most impressive about them?
The way that thoughtbot treats each other and treats us is something I want to emulate in our organization. The way they hire and develop their talent also stands out to me. For their typical hiring phase, they bring a new developer and a new designer onto their team and put them through an apprenticeship phase. I’m very impressed with the high level at which they are thinking about and producing their work. Everything—from the way they run their company to the way they organize their office—is set up in such a mindful, intentional way.
Are there any areas they could improve?
It would be fantastic if they had an office in Washington D.C. Working remotely with them has been seamless though. I don’t have any complaints.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Evaluate your project idea by doing a product design sprint with them. It’s a five-day process where you are in a room together and go through the process of structured brainstorming, assumption listing, mind mapping, and storyboarding. You start with these relatively amorphous ideas and assumptions, but those first 3–4 days are truly paradigm-shifting. thoughtbot then builds an actual design prototype that you can test with users during that week.