What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
They’ve been a really effective and collaborative outsourcing agency and are critical to our success. They’ve helped us scale our software significantly in the past two years. I’ve worked with other outsourced agencies before, and from those experiences, I was definitely really jaded in my opinion about outsourcing developers.
I’ve only worked with one other good development firm in my career. u2i definitely stands out over the other development firms and they’re really fair and flexible regarding billing. I’ve worked with firms in the past that are literally to the hour and to the dollar, and take advantage of the clients in terms of estimates for future work. u2i is the opposite and it doesn’t even feel like they’re an outsourced team. They feel like they’re my engineers, the only difference being the distance.
How did u2i perform from a project management standpoint?
It was a bit of challenge with our former scrum master; she wasn’t the most organized person, but in terms of technical product management, she’s really a detail-oriented person that understands development. I addressed our struggle with Tom, and now we have a new project scrum master that has been a lot better.
For anyone looking for a development firm, it’s important to really understand who is going to be the on-site project manager for your software and have references for them. It’s essential to have someone that is very detail oriented and organized. We’ve worked together to make sure we’re on time for deadlines, so that’s never been a problem, and they’re also very communicative if there is a challenge.
Sometimes, scheduling is a complication due to time zone differences and different holidays between the two companies. I’ve had to learn how to be flexible and plan our future priorities more strategically.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Overall, I’m really satisfied with them. I take the referral process really seriously, and I’ve recommended them to colleagues and friends. I know how hard it is to find a good outsourced firm.
Early in 2012, we worked with another outsourcing firm that was pretty horrific, so I was very hesitant to work with another one. Tom, however, had an engineer come over to the U.S. with him to really understand our business needs. I spent a few days with them talking about our concerns, our problems areas, where we see the business going, and its technical needs.
Then, Tom had their team work on a technically complicated project free of charge. We started to build trust during that initial project, and from there, I had two engineers that I would pay on a monthly contract that we could cancel at any time. Tom and his team were really flexible about that, which made me comfortable that if this relationship didn’t work out, it was not the end of the world and there were no contractual obligations.
Are there any areas they could improve?
The general nature of the time zone difference is challenging and holiday scheduling is really hard as well.