What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Generally speaking, we tend to retain Umbrella talent more than other firms. While I’ve had to cut back and even close the contracts of other companies we work with, we view the Umbrella team as part of our team. They’ve grown with us and we’ve given them an opportunity to learn, and they’ve pitched into help well beyond just in engineering. We’ve shared a very close partnership, as a result.
For example, one of their project managers filled in as a product manager for a few months while we were looking to backfill, and they did an excellent job of building relationships with our stakeholders. Another one of their engineers has been with us for 4-5 years and was recently promoted to a more senior technical role in our company; he’s really grown in the role and it shows. Overall, they tend to focus on solutions and outcomes more than just tickets. They’re not just an outsource firm for us, they’re intricately involved in our process from planning all the way to execution.
How did Umbrella IT perform from a project management standpoint?
They’ve time-shifted their work to be available during the day for us even though they’re remote. It’s very beneficial and has helped with communication but also with building the team as a cohesive unit. They attend standups, meetings with our users to explain how things work.
What did you find most impressive about them?
They bend over backward to give us what we need when we need it. They’ve been flexible with scheduling and even rates, at times, where we need to make rapid swings and changes in talent as business fluctuates. With other partners, during those same times, had a lot of friction in the process. It was totally different from Umbrella. Our account manager would come out and visit Russia to visit us and ask what we needed and would find a way to do it. It’s something I haven’t seen with our other providers.
Are there any areas they could improve?
At this point, things are pretty good. There was a time when one of the other providers had a local presence in the states and they were able to send staff on-site to work side by side with our team. It would be great if Umbrella would consider providing the same option.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
My advice, if it’s a non-technical organization, is to have reasonable expectations for hiring engineering personnel. Honestly, Umbrella is one of the easier firms to work with. They can work effectively in a fixed scope or augmentation model. If they’re in a fixed scope project, make sure they have clear requirements and expectations. If they’re in an augmentation model, then make sure there are no communication barriers.