The Challenge

The client’s previous developer missed deadlines and repeatedly increased costs. The app they created failed to meet the client’s expectations.

The Solution

Twin Sun minimized costs by using the existing code and increased reliability through refactoring. We mitigated financial risk to the client with performance-based milestones.

The Results

We delivered a smooth product launch on time and on budget. This experience built trust and confidence in Twin Sun’s abilities, leading to a years-long partnership.

Screenshot of the Artful Agenda web app's calendar screen

Reimagining the Digital Planner

Artful Agenda started as a passion project by founder Katy Allen. She enjoyed the design, simplicity, and utility of paper planners, but wanted the convenience of an always-present digital planning app. That’s how she came up with the idea for Artful Agenda: a digital planner that works like paper. Stickers, annotations, and drawing capabilities in Artful Agenda bring the best parts of paper to a stylish Internet-connected digital planner that works on any device.

Unmet Expectations From the Original Developers

The previous development team delivered an interface that was not functional and did not reflect Artful Agenda’s envisioned design. The web app had several broken links, incomplete screens, and other bugs. The development team began missing deadlines. Costs increased as developers regularly exceeded their own estimates. Katy described the application as “disastrous.”

The relationship between Artful and the previous developer deteriorated as Artful lost confidence in their abilities. Katy wanted to release a private beta and move closer to a public launch. However, she was uncertain of when—or even if—her development partner was going to be able to get back on track and launch a quality product. She soon decided to take the existing app’s source code and look for a new development agency to take the product across the finish line.

When Katy contacted Twin Sun, we sought to understand her goals for public launch, the state of the existing app, and what needed to be done to close the gap. Beginning with a code review, we analyzed the state of the existing application. With our eyes focused on maintainability and reliability, we sought to determine whether we could continue with what the previous developers had built or would need to rewrite the app. Thankfully, the foundation was sound enough for us to feel confident continuing with the existing code base. Salvaging the existing code base helped us reduce the time and cost needed to get the app ready for its public debut.

“Their team was comfortable working with the code we had and showed genuine excitement about the project. Additionally, they offered a fixed rate for the project, which we appreciated.”

Katy Allen, Owner, Artful Agenda

Twin Sun Begins the Recovery Effort

After reviewing the existing code base, we assessed what features were complete and what needed to be completed prior to a public launch. With the initial goal of starting a beta test group, we scoped out a fixed price agreement to alleviate the concerns Artful had with their previous development partner. Instead of charging Artful Agenda more money if we encountered problems, we agreed on a contract structure that moved development risks to Twin Sun and incentivized us to deliver a high-quality application as quickly as possible.

Our recovery efforts typically start with a fixed price agreement. Fixed price agreements give our clients budgetary certainty and build confidence in our ability to deliver, two very important considerations for clients who are coming to us after another vendor didn’t work out. These arrangements motivate us to quickly reach client-approved milestones. We are betting on ourselves to meet our estimates with quality work that establishes trust in our abilities for future engagements.

Given Artful’s harrowing experience with their previous developer, we took great care in communicating what to expect and when to expect it. Even more importantly, we did what we said we would do. If we gave a timeline for a feature, we did everything in our power to meet the timeline. Proactive project management and consistently clear communication, we believed, were just as important to our relationship with Artful Agenda as technically completing the remaining features.

“The Twin Sun team came in and immediately got us back on track, then expertly built out the rest of the site.”

Katy Allen, Owner, Artful Agenda

A Smooth, Stress-Free Product Launch

Artful Agenda’s beta launch ran smoothly. We tracked progress on specific features prior to launch, and applied that same level of attention when addressing support requests and other customer feedback. We worked closely with Artful’s tier-one customer support team, ensuring they had the technical backup needed to resolve customer issues quickly.

The beta launch was deemed a success, with Katy deciding to move forward with the web app’s public launch soon after. Years later, Artful Agenda continues to thrive and build upon their past success, marrying productivity and personal expression in digital planning.

Long-Term Partners Continuing to Work Together

Today we continue to improve the web app and assist with tier-two customer support. Following the success of the web app, we developed and released a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. We used the Flutter cross-platform development framework to create a consistent user experience across both mobile platforms that felt familiar to the web app’s users. Flutter gave us pixel-perfect control over all of the UI elements, which was especially important for an app meant to replicate the intricate customization of a paper calendar.

5-star reviews of Artful Agenda from the Apple iOS App Store

As Artful Agenda’s business continues to grow, we help them build up their own in-house technology expertise. We have assisted with technical recruiting, offer negotiation, employee onboarding, developer training, and establishing Artful Agenda’s own in-house development process. Artful Agenda continues to look to us for development support and technical direction.

“They’re very respectful and consistently go out of their way to meet all of my needs and requirements. I trust that they always have my best interests in mind.”

Katy Allen, Owner, Artful Agenda

Read more about our relationship with Artful Agenda in Katy’s review on Clutch.