What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
They've always been able to accomplish every challenge we've ever presented them. It's never been an issue of whether we can build something; they can always build what we want to be done and get it out in time. They’ve never let us down.
Unlike many other engineers, the first version of a Vivify solution is always usable, with a minimal number of bugs, as can be expected in a first iteration. We work those things out and get a really good system.
How did Vivify Ideas perform from a project management standpoint?
When we started working with Vivify, they were a brand-new company. We worked directly with one of the co-founders, who is a fantastic engineer. One of their first hires was an outstanding engineer who is still our manager. He oversees everything and is critical to what we do.
We’ve never had any language barriers or issues with the time difference. We set up a system wherein, if there’s a problem late at night our time when they’re asleep, we can send a special urgent email, but we haven’t had any problems since they work late.
We use various tools for communication and project management (e.g., Slack, Google Drive). In the very early days, we used GitHub. They also have their own tools—specifically one called Vivify Scrum, a scrum board that we use to manage issues. We were able to give them feedback on it and they customized it based on our needs.
What did you find most impressive about them?
They've been able to maintain the quality of engineers as they have scaled up, from three or four to close to 70. They’re very good at identifying talent and have been able to find very strong engineers—, both those with extensive experience and new talent. That’s extremely difficult to do, especially if you're doing development for other people, it's not in-house, and you're not a giant company. They’ve somehow been able to balance growth with keeping people very motivated.
There aren’t any weak points. We’ve had to substitute engineers on occasion for various things. For example, as we built an ad platform, we had to swap in one of their engineers that had a lot of specialized knowledge in that; he didn’t miss a beat. I've always found that to be the case too if an engineer is on vacation and somebody else fills in. There are never any issues with the people they have working on the projects. I think as long as they can maintain that moving forward as they continue to scale, a lot of companies will be looking for people like them.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I can’t think of anything right now. I hope they don’t switch their focus from engineering for outside firms to building their own software.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
It might be useful to have a U.S.-based designer work with them if you anticipate cultural differences.