What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Looking at the site, it’s clear to see that it’s well-produced and high-quality. The feedback has been unanimously positive from the few people I’ve sent it to. We’ve only had a soft launch to our own list of beta testers.
In terms of metrics, we’ve posted 300–400 pieces of content in a couple of months and have over 100 organic users, without any marketing. The numbers are slow, but that’s because we haven’t launched yet.
How did WEBCASE perform from a project management standpoint?
Their native language is Russian, but there are English speakers in the team, so communication wasn’t too difficult. They are better in written than spoken English, but when we did have to speak, it was fine. A few things could get lost in translation, so we had to paraphrase and be sure to make instructions very clear. For example, there’s a Facebook feature called Instant Articles, by which a user can click on an article and have it come up immediately. This was quite difficult to explain to them, although it’s quite a normal feature here. I’d give them a 7 or 8 out of 10, in this respect.
The time difference wasn’t too bad as they’re only one to two hours ahead of the UK. I often work on weekends, and the project manager did message me regularly on the weekend, but told me that the developers only work during the week. It was good to know that he was available, and I can't hold those working hours against anyone.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I’ve worked on a number of different businesses in the past, and have used other freelancers and companies. With WEBCASE, everything was very smooth. The website had been two years in the making, and they took it on, delivering within three months. Many others had struggled with it but with WEBCASE, I had instant confidence. They were structured in their approach and gave me set deadlines and costs.
Although I had an idea in mind about the site when I began with them, my ideas evolved during the project and they were flexible about that. They incorporated the new work into the base cost, as long as it wasn’t significant.
The other thing I was most impressed with was that they are solution-focused. It may sound like a cliché, but I’ve worked with many different agencies and wanted to find someone who could take the problem and sort it out. As an example, some of our wireframes and designs were missing, so, when creating a page, WEBCASE offered to simply design those elements themselves.
Are there any areas they could improve?
There were a couple of times when the project phase didn’t meet deadlines. The main scope was broken down into milestones, and, instead of finishing in March, it was at the end of April or early May. Some of this was down to me, but it was also down to them. WEBCASE may have underestimated the complexity of certain things.
Do you have any advice for potential clients?
Capability-wise, WEBCASE is a competent group, but the caveat is that I managed them well, whereas someone more hands-off might not have.