BrassWillow - a consulting company

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5.0

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Clients review on Clutch

It was good to work with someone who knew the project and whose professional skills I very much valued.

Michal Fopp, Product Owner, Brass Willow

Background

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the product owner of marketing for Brass Willow. In short, we guide organizations in order to make products happen. We are a strategy consulting company, mainly dealing with scrum, Agile, and lean methodologies and techniques. We are very much concentrated on product development, design, and process. We help our clients with development matters, and have also used Boldare during the very early stages of our company’s existence in order to learn a bit about agility and product development.

Opportunity / Challenge

What challenge were you trying to address with Boldare?

We were looking for someone to redesign and build our web page, as well as our overall marketing corporate identity.

Solution

What was the scope of their involvement?

We have worked with Boldare from the very beginning, and hadn’t had previous company branding. They designed our collateral, and also coded those designs.

During the last few months, we have been working on rebranding and redesigning our full corporate web page. We’re doing this in a continuous deployment, so, at the end of every sprint, we have a live result. We were aiming to obtain the biggest business values, and weren’t working on particular features. I have tried to give developers as much creative freedom as possible, which was useful both for them and for me.

There was a particular high-risk moment, namely combining our custom registration system with webpage registration and payment portals like PayPal. We had 3 very complex, fragile systems which needed to be combined into a single sales funnel for the Brass Willow professional scrum services. It was a difficult and risky job, and one which Boldare delivered excellently.

During our 3-year collaboration, our team included up to 6 people. It’s not always obvious who is counted as part of the team in a scrum process. We worked with a business product owner, a scrum master, 2 developers, and 1 UX designer. We hired Boldare because they offer teams, so there was no one liaising the communication with our resources. We had a very good graphic and UX designer, and it was good to work with someone who knew the project and whose professional skills I very much valued, but it was mainly Boldare’s decision of who was sent to us.

In the very beginning of our first release, around 4 months ago, there was a change of 1 team member, which was motivated by his health state more than anything else. Apart from this, Boldare’s team has been stable.

How did you come to work with Boldare?

They were the best web design company we could get a hold of in Poland. There were some other groups under consideration, but we chose Boldare based on their experience as well as their working process, agility, and flexibility, combined with the very high-quality work they do.

How much have you invested with Boldare?

I don’t know what the cost of our first iteration was. The second one had a cost of 80,000 Polish Zloty. [$21,000]

What is the status of this engagement?

The first version of our web page was made 3 years ago. I wasn’t an employee of the company at that time, so I don’t know how much time it took. We have been working on our new redesign for the last 4-5 months.

Results & Feedback

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

We’ve had no problems with abroad payments on our system. It’s been working well.

We haven’t used any similar companies in this capacity, since we’ve only worked with Boldare, but we have many clients struggling with the same problems as us. The productivity of Boldare is 30% higher, or even more. We tried not to rely on hourly estimates during the project. I am in the process of preparing a detailed report of how well the work went, and how much time we actually spent on it. We were much more concentrated on the quality of the solutions for our problems.

How did Boldare perform from a project management standpoint?

Their productivity, compared to other companies we’ve used as consultants, is about 50% higher. Boldare has delivered to our deadlines. We are tracking the work through JIRA, and we also use Slack. The biggest problem is that we are a remote team, with the product owner sitting in Warsaw, and Boldare based in Gliwice. I have made 3 trips to their location, at crucial moments in the project, in order to be present on the spot and help.

Most communication has been done through Slack and Basecamp, and it suits us well. We also have daily scrums through appear.in, for items which are too big for Slack, and too small for Basecamp and JIRA. It allows us to have pseudo-face-to-face communication, and maintain our rapport and chemistry. It also helps to feel the emotion surrounding a project, both on the team’s side and on the product owner side. This has led to a greater sense of ownership for both our parties.

What did you find most impressive about Boldare?

We have tried to have continuous deployments. We discussed this during a presentation during Scrum days in Poland. The code is released as one-to-one previews in a very smooth way. There are usually no bugs, and we’re surprised to get one. We have also tried to estimate based on abstract terms. Rather than talking about burning tasks or actions, we discuss items and measurements. This is hard to do when not working with an in-house team, and it was quite a risk, but it paid off very well.

Are there any areas Boldare could improve?

We are working on transparency about the emotions around a project, including on higher managerial levels. My hands were sometimes tied because of what was happening on the Brass Willow side. We have gone through retrospectives with Boldare after every sprint, and discussed every problem which arose, almost immediately.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Boldare?

I recommend focusing on effects, not hours, and making the team love the project. They are the first group which should be absolutely infatuated with one.

Summary

4.5 Scheduling

On time / deadlines

We have experimented with new ways of estimating items. The project slipped by a bit, but not very much.

5.0 Cost

Value / within estimates

5.0 Quality

Service & deliverables

5.0 NPS

Willing to refer

We’ve even gone to conferences together. I can’t rate them highly enough.

Project category

Web Development

Project size

$50,000 - $199,999

Project length

February 2017 - Ongoing

Client size

1-10 Employees