We turn ideas into digital reality

With more than 1,200 remarkable specialists intive helps its customers to turn ideas into digital reality. With a challenging, curious and agile mindset intive co-creates exceptional software solutions that help its clients to accelerate their own digital transformation. intiveadds value along the whole application lifecycle – from the idea of a product till its maintenance.

The company’s operations are headquartered in Munich, with 11 development centers in Germany and Poland, as well as regional offices in USA, UK and France.

 
Undisclosed
 
$50 - $99 / hr
 
1,000 - 9,999
 Founded
1999
Show all +
Wrocław, Poland
headquarters
other locations

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Microsoft, Zalando, Audi, here, BMW, VW, Credit Suisse, Credit Agricole, Santander, ING, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Primark, ASOS, Rossmann, Viacom, BBC, Ringier, Freeletics, Vorwerk, Viessmann, Blackberry, Qiagen

Reviews

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Prototype Development for Consumer Electronics Startup

"We have come to consider BLStream as a branch office of our own company."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
Project summary: 

BLStream supplemented a smart hub development team. They created iOS and Android apps with an already-assigned project manager and design team.  

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
San Francisco Bay Area
Director of Hardware Engineering
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team delivers project goals on time and makes recommendations to improve products. BLStream adjusted well to the new company culture and project management style. They have become a part of the in-house design and development team. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are a smart hub developer based in Silicon Valley. Our first device is a smart nightlight with Wi-Fi connectivity. It can be plugged into an outlet and paired with a smart device, giving the user access to sensor readings like temperature, humidity, and smoke alarms. The color and light of the device can also be controlled. I'm the Director of Hardware Engineering for the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with BLStream?

For a startup company like ours, it can be hard to find ideal engineers in a short time. Our human resources department was under a lot of pressure, given that we had a fixed launch date, but not the power and resources to finish tasks. It was at that point that we decided to partner with an external provider so we could get access to the technical skills we needed. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

A few months before the product launch, we started our collaboration with BLStream. They have provided us a team in Poland working on our Android and iOS mobile apps. We have added numerous features to the product using BLStream, as well as fixing various bugs before the launch.

We have worked with 2 Android and 2 iOS developers, 3 auto testing engineers, one quality assurance tester, and a project manager from BLStream. We have in-office engineers whom we consider to be the architects of the product. They have worked closely with our design and marketing team in considering the needs of the customer, designing the structure of the product. We have a well-defined technical structure and keep a project manager for tracking our schedule and milestones. We add the BLStream engineering resources into our development, assigning tasks to them. It's our company's responsibility to monitor the overall structure and evolution of the project. BLStream provides their highly-skilled engineers to help us finish tasks.

How did you come to work with BLStream?

We considered a number of contractors and consulting firms. BLStream was referred to us by a friend of the owner. We made some comparisons between them and individual contractors. From our side, it took a smaller amount of work to collaborate with one giant company, compared to working with several individual contractors.

How much have you invested with BLStream?

The development cost is confidential. BLStream's price has been attractive, compared to hiring the same number of engineers in Silicon Valley, in terms of salary as well as the onboarding process and human resources effort required. BLStream has been more attractive in terms of cost, workload, and schedule.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our product was launched in October 2015. BLStream's engineering team has helped us improve our product since the launch.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

There was a ramp-up stage at the beginning of the collaboration with BLStream. We have our own company culture and project management style. For the initial 2 weeks, we maintained daily communication with BLStream in order to make sure that we understood each other and to make sure that they were fully aware of our full product story, not just the specific tasks. After this, everything worked perfectly.

We have measured the performance of BLStream's engineers' work through internal releases. We defined the scope of a workload at the start of a week and closed it out by the following Friday. We made sure that we received a release for our internal testers and quality assurance engineers. If everything turned out fine, we'd do a public release. After the ramp-up stage, it was very rare for BLStream to fail on an internal release. It only happened once or twice, because of discussion problems or other issues.

Delivering on time was an important factor in evaluating the performance of engineers. So far, we've been very satisfied with BLStream's performance.

Our internal engineers have acted as architects in order to define technology requirements like tools and coding language. From time to time, BLStream's engineers have provided useful and valuable suggestions to us in terms of various third-party services that we could use. We valued BLStream's feed-back and often took their suggestions. We've had open discussions with them and often found that their approaches were better than our initial ones.

Through our monthly fee, BLStream assigns us engineers who will only work on our project within that period of time. Unlike other contractors, who will do a set amount of work based on what they're being paid, BLStream's team has been aggressive in wanting to deliver good work. They have ownership for our product, which is hard to find.

How did BLStream perform from a project management standpoint?

We used Jira and Confluence for communication and tracking daily tasks. We also used Wrike from time to time, through which we created Gantt charts and logged milestones. We use work control software like GitHub and we rely on Jenkins for continuous integration. We use Autotask for regression testing.

What did you find most impressive about BLStream?

We have come to consider BLStream as a branch office of our own company. We give BLStream access to our internal Jira platform and collaborate with them regularly like they were a part of our family.

Are there any areas BLStream could improve?

One thing to consider for any company collaborating with a consulting firm is communication. There needs to be smooth and clear contact, and we need to make sure that the vendor is on the right track. On the kick-off meeting of a sprint, even if everyone agrees on the tasks and goes off to do their work, we can't expect to have success if there isn't proper communication. There need to be daily chats, not only through email but also phone calls, with the engineers on the other side.

There was one issue with communication which caused an issue with an internal release. We were expecting something completely different than what BLStream had understood. We figured out by the end of the first week that, even though what they were working on was great, it wasn't what we were looking for, which caused a delay, making us extend the sprint from 2 weeks to 3. BLStream is capable of doing the job and they're skilled in terms of coding, but we need to make sure that we're working on the same tasks. Our project manager's responsibility is to keep up with the status tracking and make sure that everything is working.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We missed deadlines on 2-3 occasions, but I can't blame BLStream entirely for this.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    BLStream's cost is attractive, but especially during tight deadlines, it can be more efficient to have developers come to our offices and work directly from here.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    BLStream's iOS team is awesome, but the Android team is not as good, although they are still very competent.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would only recommend BLStream to friends who already have an in-office engineer resource.

Custom Android Development for Technology Services Firm

"BLStream made an effort to find local resources for us to work with and they were always responsive."

Quality: 
3.5
Schedule: 
3.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
3.5
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
June 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

BLStream augmented an Android equipment manufacturer. The team provides native Android coding and executes design tasks using Java. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
United States
Lead Product Manager
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

BLStream has been great in terms of being able to scale up and down on staff as-needed. The team was consistent and had few unanticipated issues. They were proactive in finding resources, although could improve on planning and lead time. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are an OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] of Android smartphones. We have customized our own version of Android, adding apps on top of it. I am the lead product manager of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with BLStream?

We needed to augment our team. Our company consists of only 30 people and we needed to upgrade our app ecosystem in order to support the iPhone.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

BLStream has primarily been in charge of coding. We started out with a team of 3 engineers, a quality assurance tester, and a project manager. Design resources were added on later. At its peak, our team reached around 25 people.

BLStream is primarily handling execution based on our requirements and designs. The selection process depends on the stage of the project and the position of the engineer. For the most part, we review the resources. We haven't actually turned anyone down so far.

BLStream has built the foundation for our launcher, camera, and gallery apps for the phone. BLStream has provided us native Android development using Java.

How did you come to work with BLStream?

BLStream was referred by a design partner. We looked at 3-4 third-party development agencies in total, selecting BLStream in the end.

How much have you invested with BLStream?

The total cost of our development with BLStream has been close to 1 million dollars.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with BLStream one year ago. We 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?

BLStream has been most successful for our company in being able to bring in a team and scale it up or down, as needed. BLStream made an effort to meet our requirements in this perspective.

How did BLStream perform from a project management standpoint?

Because we work with technology, budget and schedule will never be perfect. We gave BLStream very loose requirements. The product was launched successfully, meeting our goals, but it will never come out completely as expected.

We never had any unexpected turnover on BLStream's side, but the complexity of what we're working on has given us a very aggressive timeframe.

We primarily used Atlassian tools for our collaboration, namely Jira and its wiki, as well as HipChat.

What did you find most impressive about BLStream?

I have worked with many developers, so I have high expectations. BLStream made an effort to find local resources for us to work with and they were always responsive to our concerns and questions. I wouldn't necessarily say anything was surprising about them.

Are there any areas BLStream could improve?

With work in general, everyone can benefit from better planning, more lead time, and more solid requirements.

3.5
Overall Score We continue to work with BLStream and have gotten good value from them. BLStream hasn't underperformed, but they're also not hitting homeruns every time.
  • 3.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We scaled the team quite a bit because of our ambitious goals and had a rocky start, but we closed it out very well.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    BLStream's cost was very good. It is relative to geography, but I think that we received a good value.
  • 3.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    BLStream excelled in certain areas, but I never give perfect ratings.
  • 3.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Giving a recommendation would depend on what that person is looking for. I would definitely recommend BLStream for low-end Android development, but they haven't reached a good point in terms of creation.