Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Our work with zGames has been good. There have been a few issues, but because none of us have expertise in programming, I couldn't say how much of this was an inevitable part of the process. Overall, things have been good, and there was some progress with each iteration.
We noticed some glitches in the system and the gameplay with later iterations when there were none earlier. zGames' team acknowledged this as their responsibility, so we weren’t very concerned over this. Though it was frustrating at times, zGames dealt with these issues once we raised them.
Beyond that, the process had a fluid trajectory in the right direction. In the last six months, as we’ve tried to finalize the project, they’ve really excelled in terms of their response to our issues, requests and demands. They’ve really pulled out all the stops to ensure we’ve got exactly what we were expecting.
The game was tested on a couple of focus groups, but most of the bulk testing has been conducted by our company's 5 members over a number of hours. As things moved on, we came to discard metrics tracking, so I couldn't provide any exact numbers. There was only one occasion where we identified a significant setback.
How did zGames perform from a project management standpoint?
On our end, it was a much slower process than anticipated, so it was difficult at times for zGames to rally its resources quickly and push on with the work. The flow wasn’t always smooth, but we take the bulk of the responsibility for any tardiness. At times, we spent a few months before making a decision, either because we had to analyze things in detail or needed to reassess some of our plans.
We've generally had productive conversations with zGames and were able to take things forward. zGames listened to our criticisms willingly and acknowledged when there was an issue associated with their end. The only issue came when we wanted to get the process moving during the last stage of development. Because we'd let the work sit for a very long time, there came a long lag on zGames' end as well in finding the resources to allocate.
Another issue is that we don't have a point of contrast for the work. From our point of view, it's very hard to look at the project in relative terms, but zGames has been professional overall.
What did you find most impressive about zGames?
Previously, when we went to them with a glitch or error, they would rectify one error and another one would appear. But, they assigned someone else to the development who brought a fresh approach to it and maybe a different way of looking at the whole project. I was quite glad they had the flexibility to do that. Suddenly everything started falling together. Admittedly, things sometimes took longer than anticipated on our end, for various reasons. It was somewhat delayed largely because of us. In the earlier stages, they were feeling that as well, and they weren’t able to operate with a client who was unreliable in a certain way.
They then got the gauge of what we were about and what we were doing. They seemed to respond to that effectively, and they really went above and beyond what we thought they were offering to get this done and finalized. They really stood out in their flexibility and their willingness to adjust to us. We realized that we’re not the smoothest outfit around in terms of getting this stuff produced. When they assigned someone else to it, that maybe just brought a fresh perspective. Things seemed to really fall into place. We found that we were starting to move forward with things.
zGames certainly has a good vision for the concept of making a playable and potentially addictive product, and of what games should entail in general. When we received a new iteration, there was a significant improvement from the previous version every time. Every step was a big step forward, whereas before it had been almost cyclical—Something would be rectified, and then something else would be slightly problematic. I think they did a very good job for us, and I wanted to give an updated reflection on things in the past 6 months to a year ago.
Are there any areas zGames could improve?
At one point, we did feel that the finance element was going out of control, and wanted a bit more of an itemization for the work done. This was dealt with and we're still pretty much on budget. It wasn't a serious problem, and we perhaps should have demanded this approach in advance.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with zGames?
If the client has done this type of work before, they'll have a much better idea of how to approach it, and work much easier with zGames. If we ever do this again, we will have a better idea of the process ourselves, but we've had a massive learning curve. I would tell someone delving into a development project for the first time to be better prepared. zGames gave us some good input, and we've been frustrated with our own lack of command for the general direction. This necessarily had an impact on zGames as well.
At times, there may also have been a slight language barrier. Even though zGames' team speaks English competently and there were no serious issues, we have still wondered if the process was made slightly more difficult because of language. Clients should have clarity and focus for this reason as well.