We reached out to Blenderbox in March 2018 during our outreach campaign. After initial contact, to build initial trust, we’ve implemented a small demo project and ramped up from one to five developers within the first month of working together, helping them deliver a complex project with tight deadlines in time.
They were an unknown for us but it was clear from the beginning that their work was high-quality.
A few months into the engagement we were delivering critical features operating as an autonomous team under their project management and were routinely included in conversations with the end client. Each planned feature was delivered in time to a satisfied end client.
Development team augmentation is one of the services we offer to our clients. We target established development companies and offer our services in a tasteful and non invasive manner.
A vast majority of these companies get spammed daily with offers from random shops all over the world (we find ourselves on the receiving end routinely as well), so our first order of business is differentiating from the usual software mass production outsourcing company.
They’re so much better than any other offshore or nearshore resource we’ve tried before.
Blenderbox is an established New York based company launched in 2000. They have a history of working on a diverse range of projects. Their impressive list of 200+ clients include educational organizations, arts and cultural institutions, nonprofits, corporations, government entities, and the City of New York.
This particular project that we ended up working on for them was an enormous endeavor in the public education space, encompassing enrollments into hundreds of public schools ranging from pre-k to high school, with different enrollment processes across schools and school programs.
Challenges & objectives
Faced with challenging deadlines on a large municipal project for the city of New York, Blenderbox needed outside help to complete the project in time.
The project would have to rely in good part on data that would be available through heavy integration with about a dozen third party systems. Accessibility and multi language support was a must for each student-facing view.
We were impressed with what they’ve done in preparation of the project. The discovery was seamless, wire-frames detailed and to the point and the design specs among the best we’ve ever seen.
They understood our business requirements and their productivity was much higher than we expected.
It was clear to us that Blenderbox is a strong organization, and that the project just needed more competent developers to succeed. This made us comfortable to take on the project, knowing that our success or failure will depend solely on our ability to integrate into their team and processes.
How we helped
Through our experience in integrating into outside teams, we knew that the two key ingredients in starting this type of relationship would be:
Building trust early
Ramping up the engagement over time
We offered to build a small demo for them to showcase our ability and developed a simplified version of a real feature they needed to implement. It was a rich react component with a corresponding back-end service. This helped show our engineering competence and our ability to deliver on their specification.
After that, we started by adding one developer to work on the project and quickly ramped up to as many as five. In the first week of working with them, we were able to exceed their expectations and request for more work.
By the end of the engagement, we became an integral part of the project, operating as an autonomous team under their project management.
Our flexibility in developer allocation allowed them to scale down the number of developers in periods when project focus was on planning or QA, while being able to count on getting more development power at times when development was in full swing.
There was never any disconnect between their skill or their understanding of our needs. Their command of English and their comprehension of the context of the project was clear. They’re strong coders and they made good suggestions for techniques and procedures we weren’t using.
As already stated, their preparation of the project as well as project management helped us get off the ground quickly and focus on developing new features with all of the groundwork laid out.
We’ve established mutual respect based on our technical abilities quickly, and they were very receptive to our suggestions on how to improve certain aspects of the system and open to integrating the technologies and libraries we’ve had experience and good results with.
Even with their strong and competent engineering team, we were able to capitalize on having a fresh perspective on the project and advise them on ways to improve the database design and offer different solutions to solve some of the technical problems they were facing.
This helped us and the project tremendously resulting in each of the three big releases being major successes.
Blenderbox has completed all of the major development phases to client satisfaction. The system is running smoothly and the project has moved into maintenance mode under their control.