The client is a Fortune 500 company developing a desktop and application virtualization product. The solution includes backend servers and various connectors providing remote access to the backend from a number of different platforms. Besides OS-specific components, the product also includes a number of general advanced technologies for overall platform management and user experience delivery.
The company works with Apriorit teams for about 8 years.
The Initial Touch
The company was interested in finding an engineering provider to cut costs and schedule of product development. The task on the agenda was development of mobile connectors for the Android and iOS platforms. The company found Apriorit as a mobile development expert team with significant virtualization experience.
The project was started by fixed price scheme for the team of two developers working for four months. According to its operating standards, Apriorit included the minimal required QA works at no additional cost to meet the corporate quality standards for deliverables.
The First Big Task: Complicated Step to Success
After the first two months of work, the company got familiar with the Apriorit processes, communication standards and complete competence profile. After reviewing the remote access and redirection technologies in the provider’s portfolio, the company decided to start another project with Apriorit: advanced multimedia redirection for the Windows devices.
The project had a number of technological risks and supposed significant research activities. A number of formats had to be supported with the highest performance requirements.
Nevertheless, the client insisted to use the fixed price scheme. The company’s strategy supposed project-based work with the third-party engineering service providers, especially on the first stages of partnership. The project was estimated for a year and a half for one developer. As usual, Apriorit provided minimal required amount of QA work free of charge.
The project was not predictable enough because of a lot of research, and some of risks finally impacted the work. In a year, the team already could state that the solution would not be stabilized within the schedule and budget.
At the end of the scheduled term, the team still experienced performance problems with some media formats and there were still a few formats, which remained unsupported.
Apriorit fulfilled its commitments according to the fixed price contract and conducted the solution stabilization at its own cost. Nevertheless, not all problems were fixed – some discovered to be unresolvable with the designed architecture and selected technology approach. The solution was acceptable but not the best one.
As the problems were reported before the project deadline, the joint team started early discussion about how to resolve them. Observing the team dedication, the client asked Apriorit experts to make additional research and design a new architectural and technical approach from scratch to bypass all possible collisions.
Episode 2: Success
Excited with the challenge, Apriorit engaged several senior experts to develop an efficient and smart approach. Inter-domain knowledge sharing and fresh look from the other teams finally helped the redirection team to crystallize the idea.
Shortly after the stabilized first version was delivered, the Apriorit team presented a new concept of the solution to the client’s project board. It gained approval, and the next stage started with two-developer team signed by the fixed price scheme for six months. Minimal required QA activity was delivered as a part of the engineering contract.
Taking into account the previous research results and first version experience, the Apriorit team successfully developed the new multimedia redirection solution within time and budget. It met all performance and support requirements and was quickly delivered to the market. The project team took the charge of technical support.
Episode 3: Expansion
Shortly after the start of the second media redirection project, Apriorit received another request. The new project was a logical expansion and covered flash media redirection technologies.
The team was augmented by one developer signed for 8 months by fixed price scheme.
The developed smart technical approach proved its efficiency and the new solution component was successfully developed and delivered to the market.
Learning the product from within: step by step
As the work moved on for the redirection technologies, the cooperation around connectors also developed.
Mobile connectors were delivered on time, and the client’s accepting specialists made special mention of the results quality. At that time, the client was evaluating the work of four different R&D providers and decided to stay with Apriorit team.
During the next year and a half, the team received four different assignments for the Mac and Linux connectors and thin clients. The team was formed according to the particular project requirements; all projects were developed by fixed price scheme.
With the project-based cooperation, the Apriorit team got only a limited context of a particular task, sometimes missing the whole picture. At the beginning of cooperation, it impacted the efficiency of work, but with a variety of projects, the Apriorit specialists got familiar with more and more aspects of the global product.
QA and Testing role
Together with the fixed price development projects, Apriorit received a task for Quality Assurance specialists, whose professional work and mature processes deserved a special mentioning at the previous project retrospectives.
This fixed price project was planned for two months of work of two QA. Apriorit specialists had to perform independent product research, plan and estimate testing activities, prepare the full set of testing documentation, and set up test environments.
It was very important and interesting assignment for two Apriorit leading QA specialists. The team performed the global product research and applied a number of best practices to create the final documentation and estimation.
The deliverables were later reviewed by the client’s experts and got their approval. The client contracted the recommended team of four dedicated Apriorit QA specialists to perform testing activities according the presented plans and strategy. The Apriorit team was also supported by the Test Automation specialists and QA leader on the client side.
After a year of cooperation, the team was augmented with two more QA specialists and one developer responsible for building advanced emulation environments for loading and stress testing.
Combined dedicated team
After two years, it became clear that the team had enough knowledge and well-established communication with the client’s specialists to switch to the dedicated scheme. It supposed receiving regular assignments for different components of the global solution, technical support and feature updating. The new scheme gave the global view of the product for Apriorit engineers, allowing for the proper task prioritization and evaluation of the impact of developed tasks and technical decisions.
A dedicated team started with seven developers, six QAs and a dedicated project manager, who previously supervised fixed-price projects. The team was eventually augmented up to 18 specialists for the major release.
After 5 years of dedicated team work, the product moved to the maintenance stage because of some competitor acquisitions. The team returned to the 12-person size and switched to the system support and maintenance.
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