Customer Testimonials

Project

Python Resources for Testing Automation Platform

Review

"PLVision helped improve quality significantly, and the new features they build don't typically spawn defects. They know their code and are self-sufficient.”

Manager, Embedded OS Provider

Project summary:

PLVision has been providing Python development resources, specifically for testing, debugging, and feature enhancements for an embedded operating system provider.

Feedback summary:

PLVision's throughput is consistently strong while their rates continue to be very attractive to the client. Some small issues arise from their geographic distance from the client, but they compensate with good project management processes.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are a subsidiary of a large hardware corporation. We are housed in Alameda, California, and specialize in developing an embedded operating system. Our organization has around 1,800 employees. Our main testing automation team is located in Ottawa, Canada.

I am a manager for the company, in charge of installations, technology, and test automation. I am based in Austria, working closely with our Ukrainian partners. Beyond Agile Scrum management, I have a bridging function, making sure that we meet our numbers and follow paradigms.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with PLVision?

In the embedded market, there is a need for good testing automation, especially since we have complex scenarios with many operating systems running in parallel on the same CPUs. We had been using two contractors for testing, and have expanded to three.

We needed strong Python competency, which is also what we cherish the most with the two other assets we’re using for test automation. The team needed to be skilled enough to work independently, given the time-zone difference between Europe and Ottawa.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

PLVision is providing development for our Python-based test infrastructure software. The team has helped design features in collaboration with our architect. We have worked on new features and whole new concepts, as well as on bug fixes.

We work through two-week sprints, during which PLVision’s team is assigned a couple of defects, problems, or features. We break those up into tasks, start the work, and keep in touch with PLVision for any problems, although that’s seldom the case.

Encapsulation, object-oriented programming, coding style, and system performance are all things we consider. Python requires us to enforce strict guidelines and think very hard about implications.

The composition of our team has changed, but PLVision has been consistent in terms of skillsets. We are working with three resources from PLVision, one of which is also in charge of daily updates and project management.

As we tried to look outside of the Python skill set, specifically for web development, PLVision performed interviews and suggested a few candidates for us. It was a very smooth process, for which our manager had a major say.

How did you come to work with PLVision?

I was not part of the selection process, but I know that there were several contracting companies being taken into consideration. Ukraine is not a usual location for us, but PLVision provided good skills at a reasonable price.

How much have you invested with PLVision?

The 2016 budget for PLVision’s work was $100,000, but we only spent around $60,000. We had a spike during that year, going from two persons to three.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with PLVision in January 2013, and have an ongoing relationship.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

When PLVision started the collaboration, we were locking down feature development because our testing tool was very buggy. PLVision worked on hundreds of defects using two developers, who worked in collaboration with our architects in Ottawa. PLVision was able to improve stability and get rid of our defects. We have gone from hundreds of defects to around 10. PLVision helped improve quality significantly, and the new features they build don’t typically spawn defects.

How did PLVision perform from a project management standpoint?

We use Rally for project management. PLVision is connected to our network, and I act as Scrum master. I input user stories, features, and defects into the tool. We use JIRA for bugs, in combination with Rally.

What did you find most impressive about PLVision?

Both Python developers and the web resource from PLVision are very skilled, and I like working with them. They know their code and are self-sufficient. PLVision’s team has updated statuses and tracked work hours consistently in Rally, and they’ve made accurate predictions.

Are there any areas PLVision could improve?

Setting up meetings across continents will make every project suffer a little bit. With PLVision, the problem is made worse by the quality of conference lines in Ukraine. I would ask them to keep on looking for solutions in the setup used. Also, PLVision’s team is using Linux, while our tools are centered on Windows. Skype is much better on Windows, for example. PLVision does have a webcam in its conference room, but there could me more improvements.

I have no negative comments whatsoever about PLVision’s management or coding skills, though.

Project

Software Defined Networking Research and Development

Review

"They excelled in experimentation. I found that in working with other outsourced teams you need more management. With PLVision, they proved our initial concepts before going into the development. That’s not something that happens in a normal outsourcing relationship.”

CTO, Veracity SI

Project summary:

PLVision worked with a pre-product startup to research and develop software defined networking tools for the industrial sector.

Feedback summary:

The client was impressed by the transparency and quality of PLVision's work. They aligned themselves with the client by investing heavily in research upfront before completing development deliverables. Their work contributed to the client winning a $2 million contract.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Veracity Security Intelligence is a pre-product startup working on cyber security solutions for critical infrastructure, specifically industrial networks. Our target market is the energy sector for all generation, distribution, and transmission. The software is built around SDN [software defined networking] concepts. I’m CTO.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They developed our industrial virtual switch product. We started with a phased approach. It was an interesting combination of development and research. We had agreed to use OVS [open virtual switch] as a test bed to develop and customize extensions that would be more industrial relevant for the industrial protocols. We took a very phased approach. We started with Modbus TCP and then we added the CIP [common industrial protocol]. Another major phase was encryption across the virtual switch infrastructure so that it was transparent to the endpoints. We were doing the actual experimentation, and PLVision’s work helped us to do our initial validation of the concept and the vision of what we were trying to deploy.

How did you come to work with PLVision?

I was doing a lot of research because trying to find anyone with work in this space was challenging. I set up a call with PLVision and they were doing some interesting things that were related to our space. We did our early experimentation with them.

How much have you invested with PLVision?

We’ve spent between $200,000 and $400,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working together in December 2015 and the project was completed September 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

We used the results of our early experimentation utilizing IVS [industrial virtual switch] within the switch infrastructure for a proposal for the Department of Energy, where we won a $2 million contract. We’re partnering on the project with 2 other companies. That put us in a unique position as a pre-product startup because now we’re not pre-revenue. It put us in a better overall position for our success. Our first release will be in the summer of 2017.

How did PLVision perform from a project management standpoint?

In my former role, I had a lot of experience dealing with outsourcing and PLVision’s project management was a surprise for me. They put together a team for the project management. They were utilizing their Agile Scrum software, specifically Scrumwise, at the time. We incorporated daily Scrum standups and started with 1-week sprints and then stretched that out to 2 weeks. Their plan included the sprint planning, sprint closeout, and demonstrations. They were very flexible in our daily standups. This gave me everything I needed in order to have complete visibility into the project. I had full access to the sprint burndown which was important so that I could report to our board.

What did you find most impressive about PLVision?

They excelled in experimentation. I found that in working with other outsourced teams you need more management. With PLVision, they proved our initial concepts before going into the development. That’s not something that happens in a normal outsourcing relationship.

Are there any areas PLVision could improve?

It would be great if they were located in the US. We can’t work with any foreign firms on the project for the Department of Energy.