What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We have thousands of users and tens of thousands of visitors per month. If we get any major bugs, we’ll get a rain of phone calls from complaining customers, so we know that the site is working fine.
We saw an increase in traffic and revenue after launching the new site. It loaded much faster, and it had an improved design that made it easier to use. We haven’t gotten any complaints about bugs or things that aren’t working.
How did Zimalab perform from a project management standpoint?
For the refactoring project, they gave us a complete description of what they were going to do, detailing tasks and who was appointed to them, milestones, concrete schedules, and steps that we could QA along the way. I explicitly asked them to break down the project into steps we could check and measure, but I’m pretty sure they would’ve had a similar approach anyway. It looked to be natural to them.
We had almost no delays, which was amazing considering that it was a one-year project. The project management was transparent, and we knew what to expect in terms of deadlines and deliverables.
What did you find most impressive about them?
When hiring people remotely, we can’t go to their desks to answer whatever questions they may have. Many times, a developer may forget something or build something different than what we were expecting. The reason we’re sticking with Zimalab is that, 90% of the time, they’ll deliver exactly what we wanted, without asking too many questions during the process (usually, without asking any questions). They discuss everything upfront, and, when they say a task is done, we know that it’s done. We do QA for everything as a matter of course, but we know that the task is done. This is a really strong ability and one that’s not found with many other development companies.
Are there any areas they could improve?
They’re in Russia, and we’re in the Middle East, so it’s noon on their time when I come to the office. That’s caused some delays with communication, but we can’t do anything about that. This is my only problem with Zimalab, but I just go to the office earlier when there’s an important matter.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
The client has to be very clear about what they want, and have the patience to answer Zimalab’s initial questions. They work in a very organized way, and they’re very accurate with what they do. It can become frustrating for some customers, myself included, but it means that we eventually get the product we wanted. The best way to work with Zimalab is to let them ask the questions and write the planning documents they want to write. Their method is a bit slow in the beginning, but it leads to very smooth development down the road.