March 21, 2014 update that didn't go out
Posting this update that I wrote March 21 but apparently saved and didn't send. April 18th updates at bottom.
I had hoped the web interface would be ready this week. As previously mentioned, I hired a contract development firm, Brightbit (www.brightbit.com) to implement the rest of the dashboard. They estimated a 6 week development cycle, which was to end this week.
Three and a half weeks ago, I started to become concerned (around the halfway mark) that their progress ( and their billed hours ) were not in line with the deliverable. I started to reach out to them with little success. The work that they had done was largely administrative and what they deemed cleanup work to get started on the project, which is completely understandable that they work in a codebase they are most comfortable in, assuming they make good on the actual deliverable.
Long story short, after two weeks of failed communication, I decided to halt any further work in order to prevent them from burning through our already limited funds with more unnecessary changes and no tangible results. I asked for a full refund, to which they denied, finally settling on a partial refund for the hours billed. This is just the latest failure in a string of setbacks encountered on route to getting this actually built.
I did see this coming around three weeks ago, so I was able to switch gears and seek out some freelancers on oDesk who I've contracted out smaller portions of the project in hopes to see some more immediate results. Additionally, our new partners (Bing and Lorenzo) have agreed to lend us their development team in the phillipines to jumpstart the process.
They should come onboard Monday and hopefully we will see a much faster rate of progress, as we've more or less stalled or false started now for some time.
Again my apologizes the news is not better.
I've had pretty good results through oDesk contracting out small pieces of work to developers while my new partners get onboarded and familiar with the infrastructure and development which is already done. It can be quite overwhelming at first to get up to speed due to the complexity of the backend systems at play. I'm anxious to have them get started on the web interface so we can start providing demos and screenshots for you all to see and provide feedback and hopefully start earning back your trust and support with the progress.
More importantly for HarvestGeek, I am anxious to have a fresh set of perspectives and direction and insights into the decision making. Obviously we, I , have stumbled considerably trying to get this off the ground. I look forward to sharing the reigns with two capable individuals who have started and run their own businesses and are passionate about what HarvestGeek is trying to accomplish.
In addition to getting them up to speed on the development they are also helping me get the business items in order. On that front we are putting together a spending report to account for what we've done thus far, which we intend to share at least a high level once completed. We're formalizing our business processes, business plan and setting a new timetable and milestones so we can set expectations and re-establish rapport with our stakeholders. We're expanding our hardware testing and integrating it with the web application with sneak-peaks of the dashboard to come.
We've set aside Thursdays to focus on HarvestGeek and redeveloping our customer relations including me giving a more concerted effort to responding to stakeholder inquiries.