ProAce Technology Cuts Discovery Phase by 33% and Delivers Better Projects

“We can now do a great job in the discovery phase even with a tighter budget. On a scale of one to ten, if we were a five before, we would be a nine now.”

Joshua Arnold
System Architect, ProAce

Background

ProAce Technology is a full-service IT development and consulting firm located in Austin, Texas. They have a strong focus on developing custom software solutions and creative designs while also identifying and solving a client’s technical process issues that are key to success. It is also extremely important for the team at ProAce to collaborate with clients to determine the best solutions that fit their needs.

Challenge

As part of their web development process, ProAce not only reviews their clients’ requests for services, but also looks further at any underlying needs or problems that may possibly hinder achieving a project’s goals. ProAce used to begin with a discovery phase that reviewed ideas and sketched out potential layouts with static mockups created in Photoshop or Illustrator, and then reviewed with clients using GoTo Meeting. They also had to communicate back and forth with the client on the mockups, taking notes, phone calls, and e-mail on feedback. Once the process was complete, the project was ready for architecture and development.

“Generally, the overall result was always great, but it was very time-consuming and the mockups obviously lacked interactivity,” said Systems Architect Joshua Arnold. Thus, despite a lot of overhead costs, the discovery phase was imperative to a successful process. They could not skip it. ProAce needed a better way to solve client issues while communicating and refining the proposed solutions.

Why Use ProtoShare?

Arnold became interested in ProtoShare after a friend recommended it. “We were using it literally a week after we signed up on projects that we were already working on at the time. We were going back and forth with a client trying to determine new features and ProtoShare got us to a solution much faster,” he says.

After quickly seeing ProtoShare’s collaborative advantage on interactive ideas, ProAce decided to integrate the tool into the discovery phase of all their projects. While initial team ideas are still sketched out on paper or whiteboards, they are now quickly translated to ProtoShare projects. Clients now interact with the prototype, gain a much greater understanding of the proposed ideas, and provide real-time feedback. Furthermore, most communication is kept in one place, where it can be referenced and reviewed at any time. “We initially start in ProtoShare to capture a basic user interface, and then evolve the prototype into an expression of a better user experience. It has been phenomenal in fulfilling that role,” adds Arnold.

Results

ProtoShare has increased ProAce’s efficiency with website development. According to Arnold, prior to ProtoShare, the discovery stage took an average of three weeks to complete. Now he estimates that it’s around two weeks. “But the caveat there is that our wireframes are now a lot more thought out and thorough than before, resulting in a better project. We’re able to do more with less. We can now do a great job in the discovery phase even with a tighter budget. On a scale of 1 to 10, if we were a five before, we would be a nine now,” said Arnold.

ProtoShare also helped ProAce win more business. Arnold says, “ProtoShare is probably the reason we landed one of our highest profile accounts. We were able to demonstrate to the client how well we understood their requirements rather than asking them to take our word for it.”