What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
I mostly work with startups, so we don’t spend a lot of time focusing on KPIs. Based on the estimates we’ve gotten from Web Peppers, they’ve delivered quite well, with a +/-10% margin. They never exceeded the 10% overhead included in my calculations.
Web Peppers proposed some technical innovations and upgrades for the code. They completed some tasks much sooner than expected because they identified simpler solutions. Their work has been quite solid.
How did Web Peppers perform from a project management standpoint?
I wrote a short guide describing our processes, including what tools to use, how frequent reports should be, and what the deliverables should be. They adopted that guide without additional discussions and have been following it ever since.
One problem I’ve always had with outsourcing is that teams follow their own processes instead of reporting in the format requested by the customer. Web Peppers has actually worked within the process I initially defined.
I’m a technical person myself, so I’ve asked to communicate directly with their developers and discuss the work in precise terms. Because I didn’t need a very experienced project manager, I asked for a more junior resource for general micromanagement and communication. I even offered to train that person, since I don’t mind sharing my experience. I was surprised to see that even the junior PM I asked for performed quite well. Had I not known about it, I wouldn’t have noticed a difference in experience.
Web Peppers typically has a few junior developers training in the pipelines, but those resources aren’t normally assigned to customers. I find this approach to work best.
They gave me a few options for communication tools, but we use Favro for project management on our side. It’s a Swedish tool similar to Trello, but with an easier basic workflow organization. They used Favro for task planning and updates. We use Slack, where the team is constantly active, for instant communication. I can also call them using Telegram or Viber if I have an urgent request. They normally respond instantly.
We have shared feedback both ways. Normally I wouldn’t accept this, but their members know what they’re talking about.
What did you find most impressive about them?
They have a good discipline, which is a rare thing to find in the outsourcing and IT professionals market. If I have an urgent request, they can even work on Saturdays and during evenings.
Are there any areas they could improve?
They work too much. The workday could be cut down to less than eight hours. This is good from a business point of view, but not when it comes to their personal lives.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
It’s vital to define process steps at the start of the collaboration. After this, everything will work flawlessly. Web Peppers is a logic-oriented company, without sales discussions and other things. If they receive a precise request, they will do it, but the process needs to be formalized.