What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We’ve piloted the program, and it’s proven to be effective and valuable for families. They all said they loved it.
Also, the strategy and design work has been a huge help for us. We’re a small organization and can use all of that support.
How did u2i perform from a project management standpoint?
I handle the project management, and they develop everything. I’m in charge of setting up a process to track progress. Everything gets done very quickly, whether it be exchanges of information, feature iterations, or even feedback. They’ve been delivering consistently, and all of their work meets my expectations.
We communicate daily. At one point, they flew out to our office in California to work with me on a week-long sprint. That was a fantastic experience.
What did you find most impressive about them?
The relationship, specifically in terms of communication, has been excellent. It’s been very different from past experiences—less formal, in a good way. I feel like I’m working with friends rather than an external team. We’re always on the same page, and their team is super responsive.
They have this mindset where they want to build off of our ideas. They don’t look at it as more work; instead, they work with us to come up with a solution. They’re also willing to have that discussion over Skype, Slack, or any other method of communication.
Another thing I’ve liked about our relationship is their patience. When we were having our initial conversations, I never felt pressured to officially decide to work with them. Our relationship developed organically based on their vision and what I was hoping to get out of the project.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Even though we have two full-time people who are dedicated to the project, we feel that project management has been lacking. Maybe it’s because of the volume of work we have right now, but they could be more consistent with updating us on their progress. That being said, we use Asana internally, and they have shown improvement with updating their hours and inputting estimates.
We’re still using a mostly ad hoc approach right now where they keep their own notes rather than relying on a project management tool. It’s not very transparent for either party.
It hasn’t been a problem, and we’ve been working this way for a while, but I’m worried about how that might affect future phases. We’re hiring more engineers on our team, and I think having a transparent approach with each project will become important when they’re onboarding.
That would be the only thing, and it isn’t their fault at all. I don’t want to be too critical because most of this is coming from our end as well.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Get to know them as well as you can during those initial conversations. Take that time to establish a common understanding and set clear expectations. That will help with decision making down the road. u2i also very good at guiding that process at the beginning.
Another piece of advice is to treat them as collaborators and partners, rather than just engineering labor or a team of external consultants. That's been important and helpful for us. Their collaborative approach is the main reason I chose them and have continued working with them.