What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
It’s been great working with Underscope. They’ve helped us become more efficient in terms of development and everyone is trained on the React base. They’ve also provided valuable solutions and served as leadership consultants, defining whatever roadmaps they were assigned.
Part of the plan was to streamline some of our processes and gain more control over the overall experience. We streamlined some of the costs associated with working with other third parties, and that’s made things a lot more effective for us. Having our own apps to manage has been great and we’ve become more connected with our customers. Our App Store and Google Play reviews have gone up significantly, and we’re using those as our basis to improve the experience.
How did Underscope perform from a project management standpoint?
They’ve been upfront in terms of what they can do within a specific timeline and open to communicating any technical recommendations, or what could and couldn’t work overall. They introduced us to different tools that had worked well for them in the past, helping streamline some of our processes. They also adapted the tools we had in place already. I mainly focused on designing and developing the backend and leaned on Underscope to define the frontend UX, as well as for any development expertise we needed in order to build the app.
We used Jira to manage the project. We were initially doing one-week sprints, in order to push things out quickly, and we’ve transitioned to a two-week cycle now. It was recommended to us, in order to not push out too many releases for the app. We use Slack for communication with the team, and we have daily standup video calls through Zoom. We talk through multiple Slack channels and groups, and we use GitHub as a source code repository. We use Bugsnag to track all our bugs.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Their consultants are very helpful in taking on the leadership role, and not just leading on how to build the platform, but making people feel like a part of the project. They’ve made everybody feel comfortable, which is important. If my developers aren’t happy, it’s never good.
I wanted to make sure we’d all be part of the process, and Underscope has worked well with all other developers, not just people within their own team. They worked well with other developers, with my QA team, as well as with the project manager from our side. The overall experience was great, and I would highly recommend them for any other projects we have. If I go to another company, I’ll definitely be reaching out to them.
Are there any areas they could improve?
It’s been good overall. I got very comfortable with some of their resources, which were very valuable resources, but they had to transition to other projects. I think it was a bit of a stress on my end early on. We had some deadlines to meet within a specific time, and they weren’t offering other resources. We needed a bit more time to plan it out and identify needs, but I brought it up with them, and we worked out a plan to keep each other aware of any changes.
For me, it was more about the context within which it was happening, and getting people up to speed within a given timeline. Most of the people they suggested and added onto the team were experienced expert developers, so, although they didn’t lead the project, they were big-time contributors.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
It depends on what people are going to be using them for. Underscope did a great job in spending the first few weeks to get everybody up to speed, setting up the environment, building a repository, and overall working through it. Then, they also worked in defining the architecture. Whatever the project is, it’s good to first understand what the needs are, explain them to Underscope, then integrate them into the system slowly. Some people took more time for that than others, simply due to not having as much experience in this type of project. It’s important to plan for that and make sure that, when they get on board on the project, they can lay out a plan and get things defined early on.
We had to kick things out by December, which was an unreachable date, so we finally set for March. A lot of things happened before that, and things were hectic, but we got through. It helped us to get Underscope onboard early on. They have good developers, and they can integrate well with the client’s team.
They also did a lot of training, which was especially useful for people not familiar with React. That was really useful, and I’d recommend it if the budget and timeline allow it.