Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
As far as our scope as a company, we work with more than 2,000 newsrooms around the globe on five continents. That’s a huge segment of the news market we serve. The growth of our business is obviously paramount to the success story. We went from quite literally just an idea in 2010 to now being the premier social media management software for local news. We service 70%–80% of all local television stations in the United States, so we’re a huge market leader. We were wholly acquired in 2014 by a Fortune 1,000 Company, and that is due in large part to our robust technology and the track record that we have with how well it’s worked for clients.
How did 352 Inc. perform from a project management standpoint?
Everything was done in Agile development, so every day we had a standup meeting. As a non-technical founder, it was very important for me to be involved in the process, understand what each developer was doing on a daily basis, and be able to shape that in real time. I could change things, and they would be able to respond right away. That was of utmost value because it allowed me to shape the process and be very hands-on without actually having to be.
We did the daily standups, and we would usually operate under two-week sprints, sometimes one week depending on what the tasks were. We would carve up a huge piece of software into small parts and set release dates. We made sure that we stuck to the schedule. I did involve my current clients in the process as well. We would do some focus groups and would release versions of test software into this beta testing group. They would play around with it and help with the quality assurance process and the feedback loop. It was nice to be able to have that feedback in real time from my customers. 352 Inc. was great at taking the knowledge we gained from that process and applying it.
What did you find most impressive about 352 Inc.?
The skill level of their team is impressive. You can find a web developer anywhere but the real differentiator with 352 Inc. is that their team is invested in the success of a product. They wanted to know the ins and outs of my industry, and they worked hard to make constructive suggestions to my overall vision and business plan. This attitude ends up making much better, smarter software versus a team who is just going to do exactly what I say and move on. I never want that in a software developer. I want someone to question me and give me ideas based on their experience. That helps me know the direction we’re taking is the right one. 352’s expertise in building web-based software for startups has been the most useful to me; I really hired a strategic team who helped guide the product vision as well.
Are there any areas 352 Inc. could improve?
There could be more in-person time. I did everything remotely, but sometimes it is nice to get everyone physically in a room. I think that if I had to do it over, I probably would set a few more in-person brainstorming sessions.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with 352 Inc.?
The beauty of working with a team like theirs is that they can really wrap their hands around a project. Now, being part of a large corporation, even though you may have the resources to do a project in-house, being able to go to a team like theirs who can focus on getting something from start to finish, get an MVP or full product out there, and really just be experts of this particular product is so beneficial. It gets things done better and faster. You can get a better initial outcome that’s usable right off the bat. Having someone who focuses on getting one thing done and becomes an expert in your project is valuable. If we have a new project, I’d consider doing it with 352 Inc. because it’s a great way for me not to distract my team.