What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
They are an Agile development shop, and I went down to their office to work with their developers as a kickoff. At the end of the week I was there, we had a beginning app running and deployed to my phone. It didn’t have user interface or logos, but it was a working application. Every week or two we completed a sprint and released something.
How did UruIT perform from a project management standpoint?
I use Slack, which they use internally, to talk with them when we are not meeting every day. We do a daily Scrum where I call in on a web conference phone line to talk for 5-10 minutes. They use Trello to compile to-do lists and see where things are. A lot of it was informal, since they are very strong on Agile.
When I visited them, we spent an entire week talking about the project, drilling down on user story, talking about success, discussing the sort of things that would keep us up at night, and identifying our fears. As a part of their very comprehensive process, we went through two fairly long daily meetings in both the morning and the afternoon.
They had prepared the entire week for me by the time I got down there, and I just had to attend the meetings. They had a very thorough approach to the project. We used a daily touchpoint to check in and find out where the project was operationally.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Visiting Uruguay to work with their developers was invaluable to me. When I originally talked to them on a conference call, we didn’t have a good connection and I had a hard time understanding everyone on the team. When I sat around a table with them to work, I had no problem whatsoever understanding them. After I went back and had the same type of conference calls, I knew exactly who was speaking, and I never had a problem with vocabulary or grammar.
Being able to spend a short amount of time with the team face-to-face makes a huge difference in project communication. Offering that was important to me. One thing that struck me when I was down there was how strong the team was. They essentially adopted me as a member.
It is basically an independent development team with four or five people, and it doesn’t seem like there is any real strong oversight from the CEO or CTO. They are trusted to be autonomous and to do good work. They all watch out for each other and review each other’s code, as opposed to the model I have seen with Indian or Chinese teams, in which everything is reviewed through an entire stack. UruIT have hired the right people and got the cream of the crop, which has made a difference.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I can’t really think of anything in particular.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
During a development project, team dynamics are extremely important. I would recommend taking the time to visit their team in Montevideo. It makes a huge difference, and is well worth the trip and the expense to visit. I feel it has had a transformative, multiplying influence on our productivity for the rest of the project. We got to know everyone on the team and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Getting that done in person sped up the entire project.