Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
We did a minor version release that cleaned up only the 10 to15 crashes, and that was the first priority when we brought on the iOS developer. Here's a good statistic, we were running in the 94 percent crash-free user range, which meant 6 percent of our users were getting crashes on a more regular basis. Now, since our minor update release, we're running at 99.3 percent as of the last report.
We use a Kanban model, so it's less revolving around the time we think it's going to take to complete a feature or fix a bug, and more about constant communication and meaningful improvement. We have a Slack channel opened up with the two developers, and then we do the daily stand up over the screen here. Transmitting feedback has never been an issue.
How did Toptal perform from a project management standpoint?
They've always delivered on time and within the specified budget. We never felt like that was going to be a problem. Tools we used included JIRA, GitHub, and Slack.
What distinguishes Toptal from other providers?
The difference was the two-week trial period. I don't know if that's something I would ever execute for a nonpayment, but it provides a level of protection. In the span of two weeks, we can have a real good sense of the quality and the developer that you're bringing on. It wasn't going to be a flake. They're going to be a resource that's available and getting their job and the work done. Then, I would say the quality of the candidates. While we did interview a very high number of candidates for the Ionic position, some of them just were not in our space. We didn't think they were going to be strong enough. Some of them were too high of a cost. There was one guy in the mix that was $95 an hour, and that was just something we weren't willing to commit to. One of the guys – the first iOS developer we interviewed – I was in the middle of the interview with him when I got a call that I couldn't take from Toptal saying, "Hey, sorry. Don't bother interviewing me. I just got hired out." That was surprising, but it does seem like there is high demand for their talent.
Is there anything Toptal could have improved or done differently?
I don't think so. I wouldn't make any changes in that space. They do a good job of trying to give you a picture of the developer and what they can and cannot do. They invest a good amount of time vetting their candidates.
Any advice for future clients?
When you're interviewing candidates, you still have to evaluate technical capabilities for your specific needs. They're going to come in and – one of the guys that we got pitched to was very good in .NET and had done a lot of Angular.JS work, but when we looked at our specific needs around Cordova, we just made the determination that it wasn't going to be a good match. They're going to be a good developer, but whether they're going to be good in your space or not, it's still up to you to make that determination. Then, you've got to have good work practices and project management set up because, from this perspective, you're going to have somebody – a developer – joining your team. You've got to have leaders who can shepherd them through that process.