What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
A few core customers are using the application now. We had a slow start releasing it to our salespeople, which is not necessarily WaveOC’s fault. It was languishing for a while, and we didn’t have a solid application with a good user experience. This has changed, but I don’t have a lot of metrics on our success.
It’s a complex application that requires a substantial commitment on the part of the customer. It’s not something you can pick off the shelf and sign up for online. It requires quite a few professional services in order to be deployed for a state and local government customer.
How did WaveOC perform from a project management standpoint?
WaveOC is based in Minsk, with a significant time difference to us, but they’ve handled this very well. We established a cadence that determines when they get things done and when we submit requirements or complete testing on our end. Our organizations have a good symbiosis around the work we do.
What did you find most impressive about them?
WaveOC is responsive and smart. They understand the environment, and they’ve also begun to understand us much better over the years. They are conscious of our business and technical needs, and they work hard. They will tackle a problem and work on it at all hours of the day and night.
I haven’t personally worked with other teams, but I’ve had a few experiences with other developers. Even though we found them through an online search, WaveOC is a true organization with an actual office. Sometimes we don’t know much about developers who work for themselves; they’re single entities in the ether. WaveOC is a real business we can work with. They’ve accommodated our requests and been easy to work with in terms of billing.
There’s a certain confidence to be had when working with them. They’re not just a flight-by-night, scrambling to grab resources from around the world, and we’re not being delegated to a resource they’ve never worked with before. This is a key factor that distinguishes them from other online resources we’ve used.
Are there any areas they could improve?
The experience we’ve had with WaveOC has been good, but it’s also been a challenge. Valery Lebedz [CEO] and his team are great people, but some were less skilled in project management. We got into some trouble along the way, but we’ve stayed with them.
There’s a reason we’ve stuck with the team, despite the challenges we’ve had. To be specific about the challenges: at a time when we were trying to communicate requirements to one of their project managers, they were not communicating in a way that helped the project. Their English skills were good, but the lack of experience we saw in some of their personnel created a challenge. It took us a while to get it back, but we did.
Given the requirements coming from customers, communication about their expectations, and WaveOC’s approach to solutions, we sometimes didn’t have enough heads-up from the team about what they were doing to address issues. We expected collaboration, but after we gave them a problem, the developers would run off to solve it and then present it to us. We didn’t get enough back-and-forth about what we wanted.
We expressed this to them after reaching a point from which we could no longer continue. Valery, the CEO and president of WaveOC, stepped in. We identified some of the issues and essentially reset our approach. Things have been much better since that time, and we want to continue using them and their development staff.
Since I had previously been tasked with marketing and strategy, I was relatively new to developing software and products. I needed to learn some things about software development management. With regard to my learning curve, we do take some of the responsibility.