What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
It’s too early for metrics since we don’t have any clients yet. One of the challenges we face is that we need to have data to populate the system before it’s usable to clients. Over the next few weeks, we’ll go in to load in data so that we can invite beta clients to the platform.
From a qualitative perspective, we do have some preliminary feedback. Before we went to Two Tall Totems, all of our designs were created in collaboration with beta customers. One of their feedback sessions involved capturing workflows and figuring out how a client might use the app. When we brought those design specifications to Two Tall Totems, their team helped us refine them and built exactly what we wanted. Beta testers have seen the demo and also love it.
How did Two Tall Totems perform from a project management standpoint?
The dynamic was great. Their project manager served as our direct point of contact, but we also had access to the rest of the team. We used Slack for all of our back-and-forth communication in addition to weekly meetings.
While we could have had more in-person interactions given the proximity, we didn’t necessarily need weekly contact. The meetings were really focused, and they always had a strong agenda about what they’d done and what they planned to do. This was also an opportunity for them to ask rapid-fire questions. They’d listen to our comments and implement those changes. It was a good way of keeping everything on track.
Considering our strict budget and timeline, they managed to finish the engagement within three months. They were on target with every sprint and met our milestone for the launch. The team even did extra work, making small, unprompted changes that were well-appreciated. Having a regular cadence with just the right amount of back-and-forth kept us from slowing down.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Their flexibility is one of their greatest strengths, in terms of timing, collaboration, design expertise, and engineering. When we'd come in for meetings, they were always more than willing to facilitate the discussion all the way through to the complex engineering issues. With the designs, they were able to trust us as the domain experts and forego their typical end-to-end development process. They knew we were experienced enough to produce reliable designs, so they felt confident proceeding straight to the engineering phase.
As for the team, they had exceptional skill sets thanks to their engineering and design abilities. Even though we asked them to work with a technology stack that they didn’t often use, they still delivered exceptional results. We actually couldn't tell that they weren’t using their full-time toolset; rather, they produced work that was comparable to firms specializing in those technology stacks, which was great. It’s a testament to their people’s caliber and intelligence.
Finally, Two Tall Totems is just a really cool community. They’re a small team, but they function like a family. Good skill sets and flexibility are key to their success.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I don’t have any direct feedback on anything they could’ve done better. While our engagement was limited, this was due to our strict budget. We had to have fewer meetings and reduce inter-team collaboration to fit the budget. However, they understood what we wanted to do and were transparent on the things they’d have to cut. We knew about this going in, so I don’t consider this a negative.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
Be flexible with the process because Two Tall Totems has the expertise to run things. We came in with strict parameters and processes but remained flexible. Had I been more hotheaded and insisted that they stick to the specifications, we wouldn’t have received the product we have today. They were able to make recommendations that ran counter to my initial thoughts, but it was for the better. Trust that the team knows what they’re doing.