Customer Testimonials

Project

Software Development Augmentation for Networking Company

Review

"The ROI is actually better with them than with our local engineers. PLVision has some very good resources, with a significantly lower price than what we find in our country or in the U.S."

VP of Software, Networking Firm

Project summary:

PLVision provides staff augmentation services on an as-needed basis depending on the needs of each individual project. They’ve mainly focused on software R&D.

Feedback summary:

Working with PLVision’s team produces a better ROI as compared to working only with local resources. They’ve assisted with several projects, which were all marked by efficient daily communication and the convenience of being in the same time zone. Their only improvement is to scale resources faster.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We’re an end-to-end, interconnect company working on network adapters, Ethernet switches, and InfiniBand switches for the cloud’s and the web’s high-performance computing (HPC) market. I manage the software development for the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with PLVision?

We needed to expand our software R&D capacity based on our internal needs. We wanted to outsource to different locations to lower the cost.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They’ve provided software development for networking solutions. The main languages used are Python and C.

What is the team composition?

They’re an extension of our R&D department. We have several teams from PLVision working with several managers; some of those managers are on their side, while some are over here.

In some cases, they will assign a single developer working with a team of five people from our side, with a manager on our side. In other scenarios, it’s the other way around—there are seven people on PLVision’s side, including a manager, with an additional engineer here.

How did you come to work with PLVision?

We initially looked at several options in Eastern Europe. PLVision was recommended to us by a contact that we had worked with before. We gave them a test and it went well, so we continued to work with them and grew the collaboration.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with PLVision in August 2015.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

It has taken some time, but in terms of efficiency versus the size of the investment, we’ve gotten to a point of having a good return. The ROI is actually better with them than with our local engineers.

PLVision has some very good resources, with a significantly lower price than what we find in our country or in the U.S. They’ve been part of several projects already, which is good evidence that the collaboration has worked well.

How did PLVision perform from a project management standpoint?

We’re using several tools—both homegrown and open source—including video conferencing software. We work using the agile methodology and have morning meetings with their team. The communication with their people is very good; most of them speak English well and they’re in the same time zone we are.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They have a very good filtering process for onboarding the best software engineers in their location.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There is improvement to be done regarding their staff’s motivation, which is an important factor. PLVision’s ability to hire people on short notice could also be improved. If we’re working on a project and find that we need a 20% to 30% increase in the headcount, we should be able to easily do it. It’s an area where we’ve had quite a few issues.

Project

Software Development for Data Center Networking Company

Review

"We’re happy with their output and the quality of their work. They have a methodical, design-oriented approach to solving problems. They use a product development perspective rather than just executing what you tell them."

Director of Software Engineering

Project summary:

PLVision augments a development team. They build data networking software that integrates with SONiC, Switch Abstraction Interface, and open-source technologies.

Feedback summary:

Software developed by PLVision has successfully integrated with major systems. The agency's technical competence and attention to detail set them apart. Their development skill is complemented by solid product ideation and project management.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the director of software engineering at a data center networking company that manufactures semiconductor chips for data centers. We build multiple types of semiconductors, which create products for every segment in the data center.

My group is focused on the networking component of the data center, which includes the rack and supplying level switches that fit on top of the server rack. That switch carries traffic from the server back into the cloud, or accesses the storage that is attached to the network.

We have a hardware and software unit. The hardware unit is responsible for building semiconductor assets, and the software team is responsible for building other software ecosystems that surround those products. It’s basically drivers, software development kits (SDKs), and other tools that we give to our customers. They use our solutions for their own software to make the final product that they send to data center providers.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with PLVision?

We needed software help.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They help us with software services that cannot be done within my team. They also produce a few products for us, which we use to build the software solutions that accompany our chip.

Data center networking involves multiple technologies, including SONiC, Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI), and another open-source technology that’s driven by Microsoft, Dell, and a few other industry leaders. They also use OpenFlow.

What is the team composition?

I have a team manager who interacts with them and sets their priorities. Their project manager is in charge of the people behind the scenes, including 10-15 engineers who work from Ukraine. They also have technical leads.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

SONiC is a data center and network operating system that is mainly driven by Microsoft and is also part of the Open Compute Project (OCP). Networking vendors like us need to be compatible with SONiC. PLVision helped enable SONiC on our semiconductor networking kit. With their help, we effectively demonstrated that to Microsoft and at OCP.

PLVision looks for solutions when I present an issue, and we’re happy with their output and the quality of their work. They have a methodical, design-oriented approach to solving problems. They use a product development perspective rather than just executing what you tell them.

How did PLVision perform from a project management standpoint?

I’m happy with the project management. We use a lot of Atlassian tools for project management, like Jira and Bitbucket. They upload and support their issues, along with any other items about which we need to communicate.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They’re located in Ukraine, and the resource pool with similar expertise isn’t growing. They need to figure out ways to find and attract more talent in the area I’m interested in.

Project

IoT Development for Heating Company

Review

“This was our first IoT project. They did an exceptional job developing what we wanted and feedback was very good.... We couldn’t be happier.”

President, Utilities Company, Oil & Gas

Project summary:

PLVision worked on several different databases. The Client worked with Microsoft Azure, AWS, and a few other applications for both Microsoft and Amazon.

Feedback summary:

"Quick and accurate, they provided exceptional development and project management skills. There are no major issues with the final product, which garners positive feedback."

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We manufacture heating systems. I’m the company president.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with PLVISION?

We wanted to create a platform that allowed us to group and communicate with our product in the field.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They worked on a bunch of different databases. We worked with Microsoft Azure, AWS, and a few other applications for both Microsoft and Amazon.

What is the team composition?

Mykola (Software Testing Automation Architect, PLVISION) was our primary product manager and we had a team of about five or six on their side.

How did you come to work with PLVISION?

We searched the internet for companies with IoT and database expertise. We submitted bid packages to about 30 companies we found interesting. From there, we narrowed them down to the top five. Those companies gave us full, detailed proposals and we chose PLVISION because they offered the most detailed bid and were cost competitive. They had the best timeline and proved themselves through their previous work examples.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with them from August through December 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

This was our first IoT project. They did an exceptional job developing what we wanted and feedback was very good. Their ability to translate what we wanted into something their team understood was great. They were quick and accurate and we never had a major issue or problem. The final product is working well. We couldn’t be happier.

How did PLVISION perform from a project management standpoint?

They were definitely exceptional. We communicated through Skype, emails, and phone calls. We had live Excel spreadsheets on SharePoint. We had regular phone calls with them, and our VP of product development spoke with them regularly about project status.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their product management capabilities and their ability to truly understand what we’re trying to do are very good. They put what we wanted into a document that was clearly defined to make sure everyone was on the same page from the beginning.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I would definitely encourage them to meet clients up front. When we did our second project we identified that we’d like face-to-face time to get the requirements done, as opposed to web-based meetings. I know that’s tough with customers all over the world, but it would have been helpful.

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.

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.