Could you share any statistics, metrics or other feedback from this engagement?
Some of our projects have gone over their original estimates, in part because getting an accurate scope from our internal staff is sometimes quite difficult. We often work with higher-level people in our company. They want a magic button that will solve a problem when pushed.
Once specific example of this is a job costing application through which we monthly collect the actual costs and hours for specific jobs. Through it, we can see what our profit is for any job. That process involved capturing information on the different components of the layout and plate making for the presses, printing time, assembly time and costs for ink and paper. All of those factors have their costs; collecting this from the various tracking systems, inputting this information on a monthly basis for different jobs and calculating the output would have taken our controller a couple of days of work.
The vice president of finance wanted a solution that would automatically input that information for her. We went a step further: because so much of this information comes from different systems which were access-based, we already had databases for how many plates are produced for a job and an accounts database that tracks the amount of time necessary for a job by either days or shifts. We also had someone who could produce reports for ink and paper, so we actually expanded the scope of the request, from simply doing an input to collecting the information from different resources and putting together a review sheet which can be examined by a controller who can then determine if something is out of order.
If someone made a mistake in keying something, it would show up. Our vice president can look at this data and, when she’s happy with what the report is showing, she can choose to import the information and send it to the job costing in-post. If the data inputs come out clean the first time, the whole process will only take 45 minutes, instead of a day and a half.
How did Trigent perform from a project management standpoint?
Trigent’s team generally delivered projects on time and within budget. On our part, any development project will greatly depend on how accurate the instructions are from our customers and how well we understand the data. If we’re given a vague description, we will have to work with Trigent in order to refine the scope until the solution performs as it should.
For example, we’re now working on a functionality which will give us the ability to have period reports, rather than single-job ones for postage and mail efficiencies. Identifying the categories for mailing, as well as how postage is applied—it differs based on the weight of a piece, discounts and so on—involved collecting figures from three or four different records, rather than a single one for all different pieces. We have been working on this for a couple of weeks. Today the programmer who has been specifically working on that project nailed it. We are down to 10 million total pieces in one mailing report, with tenths of a cent difference between the projected report and the actual data.
We use Basecamp for project tracking. We can post example files, spreadsheets, and run discussions. Despite the time differential, Trigent is very good at working with us. They sent a project manager from India to our company for two days at the end of April 2016 in order for him to work with us, see all the processes, the printing, binding and everything else. He acquired a real understanding of what our processes were actually about, rather than only having an abstract view from discussions and data. This made a good impression on the staff here. We could show him what each member’s role was and their importance within the company.
We have standup calls at seven a.m. every day. We can see the work being done and discuss it using Basecamp. It’s a very good collaboration. When something is nailed down in terms of what needs to be done by Trigent, they generally beat their assigned deadlines. I have a dedicated project manager who keeps things in focus and a very good team of programmers with whom I can communicate well. We schedule and manage the development process effectively. Any time a deadline is not met, it will be because I haven’t given Trigent the information they need to accomplish the work. Trigent’s own process is excellent.
What distinguishes Trigent from other providers?
I have not worked with many companies in terms of development, but I have worked with vendors for support, product implementation and so on. I would put Trigent within the top one or two percent of all software companies I’ve worked with for support, overall responsiveness and quality of work.