What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
The biggest advantage they brought was that, being a technical company, they understood what was possible, but then they spoke in a language that was understandable to a non-technical person.
How did Usman Group perform from a project management standpoint?
They did well with project management; if anything, they had to nudge us along, because I was pretty busy at the time with my primary role. They did a good job of tactfully nudging me to meet our milestones, which is an art form. They didn’t come across as pushy, but at the same time, they moved things along. I was glad to have internal deadlines, regularly scheduled meetings, and reminders. As far as managing a client, that was really helpful. Then, as far as managing down, it was pretty seamless. They worked with another company for programming services. I was involved in a couple of technical sessions with them when they had specific questions, but I mostly didn’t have to interface with them. Usman was able to speak the same language and manage them, so I didn’t need to be involved in the nitty-gritty.
They used Basecamp to manage the project. They also used another tool — UserTesting.com — to display the interactive prototype that they created. Even though it was just a mockup, it looked really sharp. At the time, I actually thought it was the final product, but they said they were going to enhance it further.
I liked the way that they were able to communicate and interpret our requirements. I gave them a full spec with all of the things that I wanted to do, but they did the layouts themselves. They were able to extract from us what we needed and put it into a nice-looking format. From there, I’d mark things up and they’d quickly make the changes. It was a good, collaborative flow.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Their communication style set them apart. They were able to work in a technical realm but speak to us in a familiar and comfortable way. I’m sure there was a lot in the background that needed to be dealt with as well as certain limitations, but they didn’t throw a bunch of jargon at us. We could always understand them, and when there were limitations, they were upfront about them.
Are there any areas they could improve?
If they could provide those programming services in-house that they brought the other company on for, that might be an enhancement. I didn’t have any problem with it, per se, but it might’ve been more streamlined from their perspective to have the services in-house. However, since we’ve worked with them, they’ve expanded their services, so they might've already brought them in-house.
Any advice for potential customers?
Be prepared, because they’re able to move quickly. It’s easy for you as the client to actually be the bottleneck in the process. They were not only prepared for deadlines but often chomping at the bit to get necessary internal decisions.