Our publishing house has been supporting mobile applications for magazines since 2011. In 2014 we had to walk away from our developer due to his inappropriate behavior after the manager who had been working with him left the company.
Thus, we had to, as soon as possible, rewrite iOS apps for the magazines, do redesign, create an admin panel and a push notification server, transfer everything from the former vendor's servers to our internal servers, finish off XSLT transformation of the articles and CSS styles. It was also necessary to maintain old versions of about 30 apps communicating with the ex-developer and at the same time to write new code, to create infrastructure and to consult our designers.
We approached the problem of selecting a new vendor thoroughly: from the Apps4All rating we immediately crossed out the leaders that worked with huge budgets. Next, we selected ten of "those in the middle" (who went after the "leaders") and sent a letter with a test assignment and our intentions to each of them. In the process of communication, we chose candidates based on price, response time and adequacy of the answers. Then gave out technical assignments (different test assignments, which were similar in terms of complexity — everyone who completed them was paid afterwards). It was important for us to assess the process of communication with a manager, his qualifications, speed of assessing tasks, and also implementation and a final release.
Meanwhile, one of our trust-worthy marketing vendors recommended that we contacted Sebbia. The vendor had worked with the company and spoke real well of it. When we received the test assignment results, our estimates were consistent with the recommendation, and this played a crucial role in selecting a new vendor.
Sebbia got to work in April 2015, and we began testing the ready applications as early as June . As a result, we were only 2-3 weeks behind the work plan. In our conditions this can be considered an excellent job. By September all the bugs were fixed and the apps were stabilized, and the planned modification of the new functionality started.
Now Sebbia is maintaining the apps and putting some finishing touches on the functionality. They could be doing more, but the crisis has cut our budgets. Due to the same reason, the manager on our side also changed, and starting from December I've been working with Sebbia while being on maternity leave. So, it is an ideal case for Sebbia, because the work hours are quite specific, and we got to formulate the tasks briefly.
My work is all about communicating with Mikhail, the manager (for tasks), and Nikolai, the lead (for documents and invoices). That's all, I don't know anyone else in the team, and don't really want to know. :) I'm kidding, of course, but there's a seed of truth: what is important to me is not to have to explain a task to several guys, but to communicate with one manager, who understands what I want once I start a phrase.
I work late in the evening and at the weekends. Our manager is always in touch for critical questions, although I try not to bother him too often. We aren’t writing technical assignments any longer — I just present a task via Skype, all the clarifications are discussed there also or over the phone. Mikhail is attentive and technologically competent; he excellently understands marketing business-objectives of the customers, quickly estimates the scope of works and suggests alternative solutions.
As for the development quality: there are sometimes bugs in the releases, despite testing on both parts, but they are quickly fixed by the vendor without "kicks" and extra payment for these hours. It's not quite good to make releases very often in terms of promotion, and we are trying to stabilize.
For our part, we are not a very stable client at the moment — I am on maternity leave, the budget is cut, but Sebbia doesn't abandon us, and doesn't lessen its attention to our problems, and I’d like to express special thanks to the manager and the team for that.
The list of applications created by Sebbia for Action Media Group: