Great products. Great code.

Railsware is a premium software development consulting company, focused on delivering great web and mobile applications. 

Having the right combination of relevant start-up industry experience, integrated Design and Engineering practice and a proven technology approach, Railsware is uniquely positioned to succeed in innovative undertakings and delivering rapid, cost-effective results in an iterative manner.

 
$50,000+
 
$50 - $99 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2006
Show all +
Krakow, Poland
headquarters
other locations
  • Saksahanskoho St, 121/188
    Kiev 01032
    Ukraine
  • 679 Titicus Road
    North Salem, NY 10560
    United States
  • Dubai Internet City Building 16, #48
    Dubai
    United Arab Emirates

Focus

Service lines
  • Web Development
  • Custom Software Development
  • Mobile App Development
Client focus
  • Small business (<$10M)
  • Midmarket ($10M - $1B)
  • Enterprise (>$1B)
Industry focus
  • Education
  • Financial services
  • Business services
Mobile platforms
Mobile focus
Frameworks and CMS
Programming & scripting
Ecommerce systems
Application platform
BI & big data focus
BI & big data solutions

Portfolio

Railsware team was working with SendGridLabs on the new technologies aimed at making user experience with Sendgrid even more smooth and effective. The areas we were working on with SendGridLabs were design, front-end/back-end engineering and development operations. 

Railsware has delivered full-cycle product development for myKVH - an extensible portal for large Fleet Customers and KVH Tech Support that enables users to access particular vessels for monitoring or configuration change. Our engineers have delivered an extensive analytics portal backed with several data flows that has provided a major catalyst to KVH in closing new deals and delighting existing customers.

Railsware managed the project from inception and scoping through production to deployment. Our team handled front-end and back-end development for myKVH, as well as graphical and UI design.

TennisHub’s SaaS solution helped tennis businesses streamline operations and drive paid on-court activities. This robust online booking and management platform allowed providers to increase visibility of their programming while also solving the biggest problem facing players: finding opportunities to play.

TennisHub removed barriers and provided a simpler channel to get more people on court. Consumers expected to schedule and pay for most services online yet few tennis providers supported online registration, booking or payment. TennisHub automated those key functions, making it easier for facility managers and teaching professionals to efficiently operate their businesses.

TennisHub was the recipient of the 2013 RI Business Plan Competition Special Technology Award.

Railsware has started working on Calendly from the Inception, which enabled the team focus on the right things first and avoid wasting time and resources. Once the Roadmap has been in place, our team has moved through production process to release the first working version of Calendly for users.

Then, a phase 2 started with Railsware scoping the product for further development based on user feedback and new requirements. We're now building the full product — from inception and scoping through production to deployment and support. We're handling front-end and back-end development for this product, as well as graphical and UI design.

Railsware has extended BrightBytes tech team with our front-end and back-end engineers to help build complicated parts of projects and thus achieve product and business goals. Our engineers are working with BrightBytes team both on-site and remotely to ensure the best collaboration, as well as sharing our best engineering practices to help increase the code quality.

Reviews

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Web Development for Communication & Collaboration Tool

"Reassuringly, the engineers are full-stack developers that do everything well; we don’t have issues with them."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Dec. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Railsware is building an MVP for existing tools and technologies. Full-stack development includes custom integrations and functionalities for communication, document storage, and task management.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
United Kingdom
Will Henderson
Co-Founder, Knowa
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The MVP is about half-done and set to meet targets in a timely manner. The team is building the tool efficiently with effective resource allocation and management services. They're experts that exhibit confidence in agile workflows. In-person meetings help Railsware plan and implement work.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the co-founder of Knowa, a communication and collaboration tool built specifically for trusted and protected ports.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Railsware?

We wanted to move existing tools and technologies into a complex backend structure that mirrors the complexity of governance that boards face. In particular, we had complexities surrounding commissions, privileges, accessibility rights that required third-party expertise.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They’ve had to build a variety of functionalities for a minimum viable product (MVP) in short order. In addition to custom integrations, the team is creating pieces for communication, document storage, and task management. The backend runs mostly on Ruby on Rails and uses Turbolinks and HTML CSS. Currently, Railsware is almost 50% complete and about halfway through the initial budget. We have about four months of runway left.

What is the team composition?

The team includes a full-time backend engineer and frontend engineer, as well as a product manager that also serves as the UI designer. We scaled the team to build quickly because we wanted enough time for testing.

How did you come to work with Railsware?

Another local company recommended them after testing several comparable firms. We then ran a proof of concept with Railsware to test our working relationship and got off to a good start with the team. We knew that group wouldn’t be the team for the engagement, but the experience was a good indicator of their project management skills.

Furthermore, Railsware had a good track record of implementing solutions quickly and had the requisite knowledge for building an MVP. Going into the engagement, we assumed the sector was ready for the MVP’s functionalities and workflow enhancements, which made the team’s quick turnarounds very exciting.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent about $200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Work started in December 2017 and the partnership is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They’re still building the MVP and should meet targets for that delivery in a few weeks. Likewise, they’ve always delivered the right functionality on time.

How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re very thorough in all aspects of the project and provide a full-up management package. Railsware knows how to pluck resources from the extended tea in an effective and efficient manner. They straighten out, roadmap, assess budgets, and track their time on a regular basis. The team is not only impressive, but also exceeds the performance of most other agencies.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Reassuringly, the engineers are full-stack developers that do everything well; we don’t have issues with them. They have a rare eagerness to problem solve, which helps them understand each functionality and ensure its future proof. The team is youthful and has great technological expertise; they had no fear using a variety of technologies for the proof of concept. Railsware is happy to tackle anything because they’re confident in their ability to allocate resources and work in agile effectively. That approach and reliability make them unique.

Are there any areas they could improve?

While they could lower their prices, we’re definitely getting our money’s worth. But otherwise, I can’t think of anything. Railsware does many things well, including demos, retrospectives, and daily check-ins and standups. The team prioritizes being as visible and clear as possible.

Any advice for potential customers?

Although they do remote work in two locations, clients should visit Railsware’s office if only at the start, but preferably throughout the project. In-person meetings help them scope everything out as much as possible, which enhances the team’s ability to plan and implement. Although it’s tempting to be skeptical about a new partner’s performance, Railsware is fully capable in all aspects of development. Their process has many iterative steps and inceptions phases, so have faith that they will get the project where it needs to be.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Mobile App Dev for Purchase Tracking Firm

"An entire team offers a richer diversity of opinions than one specialist, and a better-quality product as a result."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Nov. 2013 - Jan. 2015
Project summary: 

A business needed support to develop a mobile app that maintains products customers purchase in brick-and-mortar stores. Engineers completed backend and frontend development for mobile software and an online database.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Palo Alto, California
CEO, BoughtStuff, Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team’s variety of specialists offered comprehensive capabilities for all facets of development, including the backend database, graphics, and QA testing. Useful for seeking partnership arrangements, the app successfully functions as a proof of concept.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work for BoughtStuff, Inc., a company located in the mobile app space.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Railsware?

Our mobile app project, for iOS and Android, enables consumers to maintain products they’ve purchased from a retail store.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The engineering team designed the graphics and architecture for the entire app. Backend development for our online database included communicative ability with the frontend smartphone software. The database pushes content to the mobile app, including user account information, PDFs, and video links.

In terms of branding and marketing work, they published the app on Google Play and iTunes, where it’s available for purchase. Advertising on the iOS and Android platforms required submitting screenshots for approval.

What is the team dynamic?

Anywhere from three to six developers worked on the project at a time. Specialists focused on the backend database, graphics, and QA testing, respectively.

How did you come to work with Railsware?

Of the various companies in consideration, they had the best mix of capabilities. Rather than having an exclusive area of focus, their tech specialized in all our areas of need. We preferred for a team to work on it, rather than one person attempting to take on the entire project.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent around $200,000 for their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together four years ago, and the project itself lasted 14 months.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The main utility of the app is functioning as a proof of concept to look for partnership arrangements. Since this has been up and running, I’ve moved forward with discussions in that regard. This is a side project and I often get busy with my fulltime career, so I haven’t kept abreast of specific metrics. I primarily needed a license, and delegated the tech development. Both objectives were met successfully.

How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?

While they’re fairly strong at communication, the time zone difference can be inconvenient. Daily phone calls gave us constant visibility, and helped monitor the project's status. We used online software tools to requests new features, and watch how they progressed along a project timeline. In particular, we used a tool called Pivotal Booster, which is based on Ruby on Rails.

What did you find most impressive about them?

An entire team focusing on your problem offers a richer diversity of opinions than one person, and a better-quality product as a result.

Even though I worked with the engineers, I had access all the way up to the CEO. This was critical to resolving any issues. Their post project support is really good. Even after completion, they're always available to answer quick questions or concerns.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Having consistently strong people on the team with a cohesive level of seniority would be useful. I noticed that some employees were definitely more junior than others.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

It’s crucial to allocate and certify the time you have available. Stay in regular contact with them. They'll work on the project every single day, and expect corresponding feedback, unless you say otherwise. Commit to being there, and to be responsive. If you're not available for conference calls, the project can get delayed or derailed.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Backend Software Scaling for Telecom Firm

"If I had to do this project again, I would engage them a lot earlier in the process."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct. - Nov. 2012
Project summary: 

Railsware provided third-party scaling development to address increasing demand using RoR, SQL, AWS, Redis, and Heroku. They identified bottlenecks, optimized databases, and tackled load-balancing efficiency.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Oakland, California
Michael Kaiser-Nyman
Owner, Impact Dialing
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

With limited information, tools, and time, they expertly triaged and resolved bottlenecks to decrease 99thpercentile response rates by over 500 milliseconds. The top-notch, experienced developers seamlessly joined the project and delivered a clutch performance.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Impact Dialing was an SaaS [Software-as-a-service] company that provided technology for political campaigns, helping staff and volunteers make phone calls more easily. For the first three years of our business, we worked almost exclusively with contractors and fluctuated between 1–7 partners. I was the CEO and sole employee of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Railsware?

During the 2012 elections, we were getting a ton of new customers, and we were having scaling problems. We couldn’t keep up with the development work using our contractor at the time.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Railsware worked on our web application, addressing the scaling bottlenecks we were facing. They provided performance tuning and database optimization and moved us to a more efficient load-balancing system. There was a lot of deep, technical, performance-related work to do, but none of it was customer-facing. It was all about solving technical problems in order to address scaling issues.

They worked with Ruby on Rails, SQL, Amazon Web Services, Redis and Heroku.

What is the team dynamic?

We started off by using two of their developers, quickly moved to four, and added another two by the end. 

How did you come to work with Railsware?

A friend who was working for a U.S. development and consulting company at the time referred them to me. I reached out to him, explaining the challenges I was facing and how I needed a high level of expertise quickly. That’s difficult to find. He told me that his company couldn’t do it because of the short turnaround and advanced skill sets required, but he thought that Railsware could do a good job.

How much have you invested with them?

The cost of their work was around $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Railsware in September 2012, and finished in early November. The collaboration lasted for 6 weeks.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Before Railsware started working on our project, we were having 99th percentile response rates in the 600-millisecond range. By the end, they dropped to 20 milliseconds.

How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?

We were already using Pivotal Tracker, so we added them into that system. We were also in communication over Skype.

I don’t remember a lot of details, but I have a great impression of them, and I appreciated the work they did. No problems stick out to me.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They were top-notch developers, solving difficult problems quickly. Railsware had clearly done similar types of work before and knew how to approach it.

There were many areas in urgent need of fixing and they triaged the issues really well. They made hypotheses using limited information and focused on the areas that were likely to be hot spots.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I don’t recall any.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

If I had to do this project again, I would engage them a lot earlier in the process.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Enterprise App Development for Telecommunications Firm

"Railsware allowed us to get there faster, bringing in a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes complexity."

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

Raisware created an IoT portal to enable users of a satellite TV system to manage communications. The team sent 3 developers to help on this project, and also provided some employee training. 

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
Boston Metro Area
Ed Kershenbaum
CIO, KVH Industries
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Customer feedback has been very good on the new platform, which is beautiful and modern. The team was very communicative and adhered to project deadlines and budgets. They are innovative and have diverse development methods. Railsware will be used for any future Rail-development. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

KVH Industries is a leading provider of in-motion satellite TV and communications systems for use on maritime vessels, vehicles and aircraft, and a global broadband communications provider. KVH is also a leading news, music, and entertainment content provider to many industries including maritime, retail, and leisure. Videotel, a KVH company, is the market-leading provider of training films, computer-based training and e-Learning. KVH also manufactures fiber optic gyro-based systems that address the rigorous requirements of military and commercial customers, such as autonomous vehicle projects.

I am the Chief Information Officer of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Railsware?

Several years ago, we decided that we needed an overall portal in order to enable customers and internal users to manage the communications systems and services that we provide. Essentially, we needed a large-scale IoT application that captures data from antennas and other systems, and presents them in a customer-friendly format, with expanding levels of details.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Railsware was engaged for our greenfield project. I handled the initial conception with them, which consisted of a very carefully-facilitated brainstorming in which Railsware captured data and requirements rapidly, organizing it into a sort of roadmap. Our development was 100% agile, but so was the requirements collection, enabling us to get our site up-and-running quickly.

We created a large-scale IoT application, in which antennas push back data every few minutes or even seconds. We have a mid-sized architecture, using the full suite of AWS services. Railsware often opted for already existing AWS services, instead of building something from scratch. We capture out a lot of telemetry data, and plot vessels on a map.

Our whole site was built using just 3 developers from Railsware.

We've worked with the same developers for a few years. To help us manage the site and collaborate with our in-house developers, Railsware has built a How It Works wiki for our code. This type of practice is well-understood by Railsware, unlike some other dev houses that are constantly trying to protect their turf. Railsware understand our desire to not be completely dependent on them – and that part of their culture has prompted us to extend additional work to them.

Railsware promotes “pair-programming”, so we never have single-person dependency. All of the core developers are full stack developers, sometimes supplemented by specialists, such as a web designer or front-end engineer. Periodically Railsware brings in new hires for a few weeks on one of our applications, without any charge. We've found that, without exception, the new employees brought in to learn the Railsware working methods, were of the highest caliber, and were quickly productive - a benefit of the pairing method. We've come to trust their judgement, so, if Railsware brings us a new frontend engineer or developer, we don't need to review particular credentials. Railsware isn't just a body-shop; they're more of a boutique-style firm and have very high standards. My understanding is that the top Rails developers in Central and Eastern Europe find their way to Railsware, so they don't have to put much effort into recruiting.

When I am planning to launch a new site using Railsware. I know that I can approach them with a few conceptual ideas and Railsware will not only do a good job of building the site, but also of helping us map out the project into stories and sprints, so that we can concentrate only on the requirements analysis and project management. Once the site is up-and-running, Railsware will also maintain it for us. I'm a very pleased customer and recommend Railsware highly.

How did you come to work with Railsware?

Railsware was recommended to me by trusted associate in my company who has employed them on projects in his prior company.

How much have you invested with Railsware?

The cost of our engagement with Railsware is around $450,000 per year. We have an ongoing project with them, but the total cost could increase if we bring Railsware in for other work.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our engagement has been very successful, and we’re expanding the types of work that we reach out to Railsware for.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I was the product owner in the development of our customer portal. Prior to the development of our portal, we felt that we had a competitive gap in our product/service offering. Railsware worked closely with KVH to development minimally-viable product (MVP), and we’ve continued to extend it. Today, feedback from our customers is that what was once a void in our offering has become a powerful differentiator. I credit Railsware with helping us get there rapidly. Our site is beautiful and modern, with mobile integration. We've figured out how to make it airtime-free in the network. We’re fully leveraging the economies and flexibilities of the cloud. We could have built it in other ways, using other teams, but Railsware allowed us to get there faster, bringing in a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes complexity to a simple user interface which differentiates our products and services.

How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?

We have daily standup meetings with Railsware's team and have demos of the work. For this project, their developers are dispersed throughout multiple countries, including Poland, Russia and Ukraine, while ours are in the US and Norway.

Railsware stuck to our project timelines and budget. We used Jira and Confluence for project tracking. They're the tools that we use across the board, for all our external development partners.

Railsware is also a great source of innovation in methods and tools. Over the past few years, we’ve used a number of emerging tools for project management, mockups, collaboration, DevOps, etc. – ideas brought to us by Railsware. They have a good eye out for what's new and valuable in the market, and they easily share good suggestions around all the dev teams and projects they work on for all their customers. These suggestions have even cross-pollinated to our non-Railsware projects, which has been another fantastic part of working with them It is not just the tech they deliver, but the ideas and practices as well.

What did you find most impressive about Railsware?

Across-the-board quality, innovation and speed. I've been in charge of complex application development for many years, as a CTO and VP of Engineering, so as a CIO, I know exactly what I’m looking for in app development. Railsware has enabled us to work with some of the best full-stack developers and DevOps in the field. Additionally, Railsware can provide a range of skillsets. If we need a JavaScript developer for a few hours of frontend work, or a top-notch graphic artist or web designer, they’ve were able to provide them from within the company. Again, we’ve found that we never have to vet the resources they bring to a project – they’re all great!

We do use additional coding resources outside of Railsware, often feeding them strict instructions. With Railsware, we're dealing with more senior developers who have superb English skills. They can take a look at a particular part of a project, collaborate on capturing stories, ask us question after question until they understand where we are going, estimate story points, etc. and break big complex tasks up into sprints. They collaborate, question and sometimes educate us, instead of simply producing code on spec. Railsware understands us, and we understand them. These guys live Agile – always practical though, and never doctrinaire.

Are there any areas Railsware could improve?

Railsware is primarily a Rails and project-oriented shop, not a body-shop in any way. Rails aside, high-end AWS work, big-data, building mobile apps, etc. is in their portfolio of services. The one thing that I'd like to have with Railsware is more Salesforce-side development, and we’re starting to do a little work there now with them. We are also a global, public company, so we often need more of an enterprise focus - more discipline in design and features than perhaps some of their start-up business customers require. However, without fail, they’ve come up to speed on our enterprise requirements and practices, without slowing down and getting muddled in bureaucracy.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Railsware is very good at keeping schedules. They've got the Agile methodology pinned-down.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    For an Eastern European team, Railsware is pricy, but the quality is worth it. The developers and project management that we've received from Railsware definitely gave us value, which is why we're expanding the scope of their work with us.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've recommended Railsware and included their promotional video on our site. I want Railsware to be successful and to continue attracting good talent. It's a win-win situation for both parties.

Full Stack Dev for Education Management Company

"Railsware has always stood by what they've delivered, and quality has always been high."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Railsware integrated with an internal engineering team to assist with product management and full-stack web application development projects.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
San Francisco Bay Area
Jake Becker
Director of Products, BrightBytes
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Railsware is easy to work with, passionate about the success of their projects, and highly skilled. The agency’s processes are streamlined and effective, but they are also flexible enough to adapt to new processes. Their high quality work and level of involvement make them a valued partner.

BACKGROUND

Please introduce your business and what you do there.

‎BrightBytes is a data analysis and research organization that works with school districts and departments of education to improve student learning. We focus on data analysis and research that aligns different operational components of the school environment, including technology investment, early warning dropout prevention, and intervention management. My title is director of products. I work with five product managers who presently manage a team of about 25 engineers.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Railsware?

Railsware has been part of our development process, part of our engineering team, for about three years. They were one of the first firms we contracted with, and they have stuck around, becoming an important part of our team. They're not in a majority, but they're a large part of our team, and they're deeply integrated with our present engineering team.

We originally contracted them for a combination of both product management and development expertise, particularly on full-stack web applications. We were not interested in native mobile apps, and we haven't done any of that kind of work with them. They helped us institute many of the product management processes that we still have in place as well as a lot of the development agile team structure. The way in which they do their work has influenced much of how we've defined our own processes as we've grown in size since that time.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

For our web application, they are using RailsApps, Node apps, JavaScript in Angular, React – mostly Ruby and JavaScript. There's been some use of GoApps. That's the primary stack they're on.

How did you come to work with Railsware?

We talked with a couple of firms in San Francisco. They were booked, but they referred us to Railsware. One issue was a matter of cost. As offshore contractors, they're just inherently less expensive than someone in the United States. That said, they have shown consistently high quality in what they do, and they're deeply integrated as a partner with us.

This is not your standard offshore, throw-it-over-the-fence-and-hope-someone-just-delivers-something-that-works  kind of relationship. They're deeply integrated with our processes. Our team does not consider them a separate group, and it's not like they're on separate projects. We originally contracted with them because we needed someone to help define our processes, and we were willing to pay for high quality. There are cheaper contractors out there in the world, but we're not going to get the kind of quality we get with them.

How much have you invested with Railsware?

We've spent something more than $200,000 working with them. Our contract is hourly, and there's a monthly cap. Some guys need to work overtime on certain projects, so we'll get approval for that, but there's generally a fixed 40 hours per week, per resource, and per engineer. They'll invoice down to the hour with tasks per specific projects. They'll share that invoice with us monthly with the full log of every activity that their resources have done.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them a little bit before I joined the company – I would guess in July 2013. We've been with them about three years.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

On a general level, they have produced super-high-quality work. At an interpersonal level, everyone there has been great to work with. From a quality level, they have provided consistently high-quality work, particularly given the strict demands of producing code that runs and works well. They're generally all senior developers.

As an example, we were running specific tasks that had to acquire data and map it into another location. One of those tasks was taking about two days to run, which caused many problems for the business. A rewrite by one of their senior engineers brought that two days down to about 45 minutes. He is a senior developer who was working on all parts of the platform, and we threw him into a highly technical challenge that he handled brilliantly.

How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?

They have a strict set of processes that work well, specifically for organizations that are a little bit less mature and need that structure. Certainly younger startups, companies that don't have proper management in place, need to be able to go to a contractor and say, "I not only need you to do this work, I need you to organize this work structurally." We needed that early on, and then we adopted many of their project management practices.

We also layered our own unique solutions on top of their structure, and they've been extremely flexible in integrating directly with our new processes – whether it's tooling or timing or structure. They're very good at being a hybrid where they can provide a specific designer, product manager or engineer all the way to how we're using them now – as our own in-house product managers – our own in-house designers. They're essentially senior engineers. They're embedded in our existing processes, and they're flexible with that, too.

What did you find most impressive about Railsware?

A couple of things on that point. One is they are definitely a partner. We do not see them as a contractor. We've not seen this as outsourcing. We wouldn't be where we are today without the knowledge that Railsware has put into the architecture and the systems that we've adopted.

The other piece is that they put a lot of importance on understanding our business and understanding why we're doing what we're doing both at a granular level and at the level of the larger market. They understand any updates we need to make in our business, anything that would matter even at a ground level from an engineering sense. Because of that, they're deeply embedded in our culture, and our success is embedded with their success. Much of their team is working on BrightBytes projects, and they deeply care about our progress as well.

Are there any areas Railsware could improve?

No. I don't think so.

5.0
Overall Score No one could see the difference between who’s in-house and who’s not.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Railsware is always prompt from a meeting perspective and very flexible with timing. They are willing to work extra hard to get things done.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Railsware has always stood by what they’ve delivered, and quality has always been high. Any perceived issue with quality has been addressed immediately.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would definitely refer them.

Rails Developed Platform for Consumer App Startup

"Railsware was very committed to the agile process to a greater extent than any other vendor I've worked with."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Feb. 2013 - Sept. 2013
Project summary: 

Railsware built an enterprise application to manage tennis businesses. The team was given 4 months to build this software that included reservation management, payment processing, and administrative tasks.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
United States
Eddie Ross
CEO, Consumer App Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team was able to create a great software with minimal bugs on an extremely tight timeline. Railsware adds value in their adherence to an agile development process, which helped to drive the project to completion. The team offered free support services after project completion. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Tennis Hub is a startup that has built an enterprise application for managing reservations and programming for tennis businesses. We publish that information online and are paid to offer tennis players details on court times, programs, or other things that would drive the revenue of a tennis business. 

What is your position?

I am the founder and chief executive officer.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Railsware?

At the end of 2012, we went through a Techstars-affiliated accelerator program that raised financing for our organization. We needed to build the first prototype of our application quickly as there were already customers that had signed on to use it. We had four months to build a significant piece of software that would be ready to manage reservations, process payments, and plenty of other administrative work.

I was confronted with a challenge. I couldn't hire and train people fast enough for building it. I was able to find commodity training stateside and internationally, but I couldn't afford a full-service, full-cycle product development shop. I needed a lot of manpower on very short notice with a relatively modest budget.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

Railsware were effectively our full product and R&D [research and development] team for the duration of our engagement. When we signed our agreement to work with them, I had a list of requirements for what I wanted to build. I visited them in Kiev, where they took me through a process they called inception. We went through various use cases and determined what our prioritization was. We effectively did a run of their full-cycle product development process from inception all the way through to writing code. This included prioritization, scoping, wireframing, design, and executing the code at the end of that process. We continued by cycling through it for rework and going from an MVP [minimum viable product] to a v2.0. They had a significant role in our business processes.

Our Railsware team consisted of one project manager, one designer, two back-end Ruby developers, and one front-end developer working on HTML and CSS. We also had a half resource or a full resource for QA [quality assurance]. The full team consisted of five to six people. We made the final decisions on what developers would be part of our team, but we never felt the need to go against any of Railsware's decisions.

We worked with a consultant in the United States who made sure that we were receiving sustainable code.

How did you come to work with Railsware?

A business partner recommended them. I interviewed a number of other companies, but Railsware was the ones I chose.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

In total, we spent around $270,000 during the course of six to seven months.

What is the status of this engagement?

The work was completed in September 2013. They continued to support us after that time and answered any questions we had without being paid.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

A metric attesting to the quality of their work are the ticket volumes for bugs, which were incredibly light. Keeping in mind that it was an early stage piece of software, this was remarkable. Compared to other startups I've worked in, we had an order of magnitude fewer tickets.

The software had very good integrity. It had to be built solidly because it was responsible for keeping track of every customer and every aspect of revenue for the companies that subscribed to our service.

How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?

I was worried about working with a company that was seven hours ahead of our time zone, but it turned out to be advantageous. We had a couple of hours of overlap at the beginning of our U.S. workday. We would sync every day and discuss what was being built. I would review the work, give feedback on it and, as long as I did that before going to bed, they would have it ready in time for the start of their workday.

We had a very fast-paced rhythm of development. Railsware was very committed to the agile process to a greater extent than any other vendor I've worked with. This was one of the key contributors to being able to stay focused and deliver on time.

What distinguishes Railsware from other providers?

Their adherence to the agile environment. At times, it felt almost awkward to respect the formality of the process to such a degree. On the other hand, the velocity of the development pace is maintained by your ability to stay on track and by your discipline within the process you adopt. Because we didn't have that competency within our team, I knew that we needed that discipline to come from Railsware if we were to hit our goals.

I would be hard pressed to find a company that has more discipline around their process and understands how that process affects success more than Railsware. Across the world, there are many companies that write good code, even for less money, but not many provide that level of discipline. This derisked my early startup efforts. We needed a personal trainer, so to say, to tell us what we needed to do and how we were going to do it.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Rails-developed Scheduling Tool for IT Startup

"[W]e've modeled many of the best practices that we've learned from them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
Project summary: 

Railsware designed and developed an online scheduling tool from start to finish. The team was involved in all aspects of the project, including fine-tuning the product vision. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Atlanta Metro Area
Founder & CEO
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The app has 300,000 consistent users per month. The team has great project management and QA systems built into their work. Railsware has surpassed the in-house engineers in terms of quality work and project ownership.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We offer an online scheduling tool. We compete with TimeTrade, which is what you used to schedule this meeting. We've been at it for two years now. We've gone from zero users to 300,000 monthly active users. Railsware has really been there every step of the way. They helped us design and build a project originally. In time, they helped us go from concept to launch and launch to where we are now. All we've done in that time is scale up our team that they have working with us. We've been pleased with them. As a matter of fact, we've modeled many of the best practices that we've learned from them. We've adopted them with our team.

What is your position?

I'm the founder and chief executive officer.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Railsware?

While we came up with the idea, the roadmap, and the vision, we couldn't build it ourselves. We knew it had to be custom built, so we had to find a wide range of different skill sets. Going offshore seemed like a good way to maximize the our investment, so we decided to find a reliable partner to help us, one that could grow right along with our business.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

It's been design and development and also project management. In the beginning, we did QA [quality assurance] with them, too. Now, we handle QA internally, but they still review their code before they deliver it to us. Most of the work now is focused on bug resolutions and feature improvement, and some performance improvements, too. The whole process is very collaborative and they work directly alongside our own team members.

How did you come to work with Railsware?

I was just looking for somebody that had good Rails experience. In the beginning, we were considering a company in the United States but that was just going to be too expensive. Besides, what we found was that even if they were 7,000 miles away, we liked them a lot more than the companies in our backyard. One thing that attracted me to Railsware was the quality of questions they asked. Their preparation was great. We sent an inquiry, and they asked questions about customer recovery. They asked many business questions to help us fine-tune the product vision. The majority of other firms we approached seemed far more concerned with the budget and timeline. They asked about our budget, but they also asked about how they could help. It was more consultative than most of the other firms that we reached out to. We felt like they cared. They felt like team members. That's the one thing that's not obvious on the outside. It's the reason why we stuck with them for so long. They don't act like contractors. They act like employees of our company. They take that seriously.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

It's always been about three people. In the beginning, it was one and a half people but now it's three full-time resources. The total spend is between $500,000 to $600,000 annually.

What is the status of this engagement?

For us, it's an ongoing engagement, but the last release they did was probably last month. We're testing that and, hopefully, we'll get it pushed out in the next two to three weeks.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

I don't have any quantitative metrics to share, but I can give you qualitative feedback. In the time that we started the company, we've hired a number of engineers. They've not been able to match the quality we've been able to get from Railsware. There's a guy we hired last year. He came from another shop around here. He was a good engineer, but after he deployed a new feature, a bug would emerge. It took him two times longer to get the job done. What we've seen with Railsware is that they're rigid in their process. That might sound negative, but what it means that when a feature is released and it's done, it actually works. In the beginning, it feels slower because they ask many good questions up front. In the final analysis, what ends up happening is that it's a good combination of quality and speed. Avoiding rework is always great because it means you can focus more heavily on value-added development.

How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?

They've been able to deliver all of their assigned work on time and within the specified budget. They're meticulous about that, and we've never had mismanagement.

What distinguishes Railsware from other providers?

One of the things they do very well is embedding themselves seamlessly into our company and adapting to our processes. They look at themselves as an extension of our engineering team. They take real ownership of their responsibilities. They build things that will work hopefully forever. They think about the long-term reliability of the solution. If there is one thing they're good at it's taking an initiative and they look at the work they're doing as though they're employees of the company. They want to know what the business is doing. They want to know what our priorities are.

Is there anything Railsware could have improved or done differently?

In the beginning, it seemed like their processes were too rigid. No matter what we were doing they wanted to do the checklist. I think that's one of the downsides. Sometimes, things take a bit longer because they want to follow this process. But, in time we found it to be a positive characteristic. The positive thing is that stuff get done the right way. It's for the best to follow those processes every time.

5.0
Overall Score They have been a fantastic partner.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    That's more subjective. Software development is difficult to estimate. 
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've done it already.

Collaboration Tool for Computer Software Firm

"Their talent and their responsiveness are two things that stand out."

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

Railsware partnered with an in-house development team to create a workflow and collaboration software for operations roles. The developers worked directly with an in-house project manager. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
San Francisco Bay Area
Vice President of Engineering at Scalus
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Railsware provides high-quality code,  adhering to time and budget constraints. They are talented, responsive, and flexible, with the ability to change their project management style to fit the client’s particular needs. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Scalus provides workflow and collaboration software for businesses that deliver a service. Proserv helps anyone that serves in an operations role like revenue operations or onboarding operations or sales opportunities. In their case, they would use Scalus workflow to improve their processes and give them visibility, and tell them what's going on in their business and how to improve it.

What is your position?

I'm the vice president of engineering.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Railsware?

I had worked with the Railsware team in a previous position at a different company. When I joined this company, I wanted a team that I could ramp up quickly, that would actually embed themselves into my development team in-house. I wasn't looking for someone to work with for a month or two months, I was looking for someone that could become like an employee. I had the opportunity to work with them again. At the time, it was two engineers from Railsware that were able to get in, install some good practices into my organization in terms of testing culture, and be able to start contributing fully to coding, knowing that I'd be able to work with them for at least the next few months.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

I've done mobile development with Railsware in the past. But, for now, what I've just done is I've just increased the scope of the engineering work that we're doing with Railsware. But, something like mobile engineering is something that I have been very strongly considering.

How did you come to work with Railsware?

Well, in my last job, there was already a relationship in place. That was my first introduction to the team there. I was impressed with them and the things that they did versus what other outsourcing teams have done for me in the past. Vetting them was putting them through my list of things that I'm looking for in a reliable partner, which is having someone I could work with long-term with no real possibility of unexpected turnover. The second thing I wanted was to avoid working through a project manager, or a translator, or someone that would serve as an intermediary. Because of the time zone difference, it was important to remove as many communication barriers right off the bat. The thing I liked about the Railsware team, it was that I could work directly with an engineer on their side, and there was no one that needed to be in-between, and they're pretty organized.

What is the status of this engagement?

It has been approximately two and a half years.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

For my organization, I don't measure success based purely on velocity and things like that, that you could just very easily apply to an engineer or lines of code. For me, it's about the times when we set goals and actually shipped good projects and products on time. That's sort of it for me. Whatever needs to happen to get there and hit those timelines and deliverables is ideal. I would say that for the Railsware team, most projects we end up having the project complete on time with high quality most times. I would say that for me, that's my benchmark. I'm not as interested in how many hours a day they work, or how quickly they code but, as a team if it's like, Scalus team, we believe we can get this done in two weeks. There's a very good probability that they're actually going to do that, and that's something I like. We follow an agile method. We started out doing Scrum and, in the last six months, we've moved to a Kanban process with them.

How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?

We started on Pivotal, and then when we moved to Kanban, we've moved to using JIRA Agile. We are satisfied with the documentation when that happens.

There are periods where sometimes people are sick and can't be reachable for a few hours sometimes and things like that. But, certainly, nothing that's ever impacted our business or anything like that. I mean, they're good about saying, "Hey, I'm available or not." I mean, we share the same chat system, that they're all on Slack together, so it's apparent who's where and when.

What distinguishes Railsware from other providers?

Their talent and their responsiveness are two things that stand out. I would also say their flexibility with clients is exceptional. We were very adamant about not working through any kind of intermediary. We wanted direct contact with our assigned developer and that wasn't an issue at all. Other companies aren't so flexible and accommodating.

Is there anything Railsware could have improved or done differently?

I would say that they could focus more heavily on doing internal peer reviews of deliverables before giving them to a client. It's important to do some internal assessment before the actual delivery. It's like reviewing your homework before you turn it in. It saves the back and forth about working with someone that's in a different time zone, too. Otherwise, adopting chat software is something I would say. I know it sounds like a trivial little point, but the world – at least in software – is moving away from email as a medium for communicating, moving more toward Hangouts, video chat, and online chat software, embracing that and using that as a method for communication amongst the team, and being available and responsive on things like that. It would be something else I would say that would be good to do. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Rails Developed Academic Testing App for Educational Startup

"They clearly have some great talent at Railsware that they can draw from and assign to their customers."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Dec. 2010 - Dec. 2015
Project summary: 

Railsware developed an online academic competition platform from start to finish. The team supported the platform through several special events prior to the platform’s actual launch.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Owner, Interstellar
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The platform’s special events have gotten great user feedback and had very few problems. Railsware provided one particular developer who worked on the project long-term, he was consistent, dedicated, and loyal throughout the project. The team is talented and communicates well. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We launched a web application that facilitates live, online academic competition. For example, School A competes with School B on multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blank question, etc., on different subjects like math and biology. It can be used for any grade and any course. We presently are in the middle of launching our signature event, which is patterned off college basketball’s March Madness, Math Madness. There’s a league phase, where we have scrimmaging between schools, which lasts four weeks. That moves on to a single elimination bracket tournament. In addition, we’ll be launching our Pick-Up Play functionality in a few weeks, which we’ve been coding on and off for four or five years. This will allow teachers to create matches on their own inside the classroom, either by dividing the class into multiple teams or challenging another team.

What is your position?

I’m the owner.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Railsware?

I wanted to launch a new web application, but didn’t have the know-how to do it.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

Railsware has built almost everything, and they’ve been involved right from the start. When we commenced with the final phase of the development of our Pick-Ip Play functionality earlier this summer, the engineers who had previously worked on it from Railsware weren’t available, so we decided to do a joint venture between Railsware and their semi-partner, Netguru. The primary backend engineers have been from Netguru for this project, but we have some front-end engineering, project management, and the design work done by Railsware.

The Railsware members of this team are almost done with their work on Pick-Up Play, although the front-end and the designer will have some limited contributions going forward. We’re almost ready for the release. Once accomplished, we’ll probably be halting the development of anything new for a few months. We’ll then get feedback and see what the market’s response is.

There was one engineer who really coded most of the application, probably 65% to 75% of it all by himself. He started on the project right at the beginning, and probably worked on it for three of the past five years. He would be doing the heavy lifting, backend stuff, and then we’d have a front-end guy come in here and there to finish off, and a designer here and there. He was remarkably good.

How did you come to work with Railsware?

It was a relatively quick process. I have a friend who was returning to freelance work, and I suggested that he work with me to get this project started. He had a friend who had used Railsware and was very happy with them, so he referred them to me. I called them in December of 2010, and we really hit it off immediately. I didn’t even interview anyone else, since we got along so well, and I didn’t have any other recommendations.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, but not a million.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in December of 2010, and we’re very close to completion.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We launched our Math Madness event almost two years ago with almost no hiccups whatsoever. We had 10,000 users on the system, 500 different schools, so that was quite a stunning achievement. It’s been so successful that we’re charging for it now, and we have very decent revenues.

The main engineer loved the project the way that I do. I know he feels like it’s kind of his baby as much as I do. We’re very close; anyone who treats my company with that kind of loyalty, I get very close to. He’s just a good, loyal, great person to work with, and I can’t ever say enough about him. Other engineers that have come in and out have been very good, and there’s probably been 15 or 20 at this point. A few were okay, but by and large, they’ve been excellent. We wouldn’t have the monetary success or success in user base expansion if it were anything but that, so I’m extremely pleased with them.

I have survey results from our signature event with student rankings of the event and of the application itself, which are quite positive overall. Those are really the only metrics I have.

The core experience is kids answering questions in what we call an online match arena, so there’s a scoreboard, points, a time clock, all that kind of thing. What the whole application is about is finding different structures to deliver that core experience. What we’ve learned over the past two and a half years is that this core experience of kids competing over questions is very exciting to students, and it’s very motivating to students as it pertains to learning.

Given that feedback, we knew we were onto something, so now we are launching this Pick-Up Play functionality. It will deliver the same core experience but in a different way. It will be functionality that is much more teacher-driven, so teachers are going to create their own matches, which will be much more flexible for them. We’re basically finding different ways of extending that core experience.

How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?

Timing is never an issue. It’s not easy to predict how long the development will take, but I’ve gotten much better at it over the years. In the past, it hasn’t been exact when we made budget predictions, and that was on both sides. I don’t think they were terribly flawed in their estimates, I just don’t think they could be as exact as you might want. It’s possible they could spend more time and get it a little better, but I never got the feeling that they were just totally under-budgeting to rope me in to do the project. I have full trust that they give me the estimates they really think are true.

The last major wave of development two years ago did run over what we were expecting when we first started planning that project. However, we did add in some new things that weren’t planned at the beginning, so it’s not a bone of contention at all.

What distinguishes Railsware from other providers?

I don’t think the application would be where it is without the main engineer who worked on my project. They clearly have some great talent over there that they can draw from and assign to their customers.

Is there anything Railsware could have improved or done differently?

I think it would be good if Railsware were able to teach the entrepreneur how to do some very basic design screens. It sounds very simple, but it actually can have enormous benefits because it forces you to think through things very systematically. As you do the design screens, you see problems with your thinking, how things interconnect, that you can’t just think about in your head and write on paper. It’s not until you see the screens that you realize things are missing, or something is not going to work or is redundant. Teaching the entrepreneur how to more systematically and clearly convey the idea is essential.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    It’s not that they don’t take the project seriously, but maybe they could improve their predictions.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Even if we went over budget, I was still getting an immense amount of code per dollar spent. I think I’ve been getting a great value for my money, it’s just that things weren’t predicted as accurately as maybe they could have been.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
     

Rails Developed Engagement Platform for Startup

"As I worked with Railsware, I developed a confidence and a trust with them."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
3.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Nov. 2011 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Railsware revived a failing .NET app. The team rebuilt the robust, web-based app using Ruby on Rails. They are currently in a two-month sprint for a new project, and provide maintenance and feature expansion.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Philadelphia Metro Area
Co-founder, Educational Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Railsware’s app repair has translated into business success. The team does not hesitate to challenge an idea in order to improve the process or the end product. They are knowledgeable about the technical aspects of the work and are passionate about the projects.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Our product is called Montessori Compass. It's a classroom management and parent communication tool for schools, specifically Montessori based schools. Teachers observe what's happening in the classroom, document that in our system, plan lessons, communicate with parents, provide progress reports, and all that sort of stuff.

What is your position?

I'm a co-founder.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Railsware?

Toward the end of 2011, we had an app that was in beta and being tried out by a couple of schools. Things weren't going so well. We were using a completely different technology, .NET, and the developers that we had previously hired just did a poor job. The product wasn't scalable, and it was on its deathbed. As a result, we had to make a choice about whether or not we wanted to continue to invest in what was probably never going to suit our needs, or to cut our losses and begin anew.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

They built our new product from scratch. After doing some research, we decided we wanted to switch to Ruby on Rails. I don't think we were 100 percent set on switching to Ruby on Rails when we first started talking to Railsware. We showed the people at Railsware the old .NET app, and they gave us feedback on it. It was clear at that point that it was the right move for us.

The product is a web-based application. We don't have any native mobile apps, although we certainly intend to at some point. It's a robust system. There's a lot of moving parts, and it doesn't lend itself very well to be in a slimmed down mobile app, but we probably should take some of the core features and try to shoehorn it into a mobile app at some point.

We pretty much got all the features that we wanted, taking our budget into consideration. I believe all of the features we wanted to keep from the old .NET app were able to be reproduced in Ruby. We're very happy with the overall product, and I would say it ended up being a good decision to make the move.

I think we had two engineers, a project manager, a graphic designer, and there was probably a QA [quality assurance] specialist. At that time, I was still in touch with their CEO [Yaroslav Lazor], who was our initial sales guy. The team consisted of around five or six people. They probably had other people assisting in the background, but those were the people I was engaged with. 

How did you come to work with Railsware?

We were looking to outsource in hopes of getting something more affordable. We talked to a couple of different companies at the time. Railsware was not the cheapest option; however, we felt that they really understood what we were looking for and had a solid approach to do it. They were very good at following up. I thought their communication was excellent. I just enjoyed the initial approach with them. I felt like they were bringing ideas in, so it was very consultative and very productive in the early stages. That's why we decided to hire them. Their pricing was competitive, and certainly less than United States firms.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

I don't have an exact number, but it's well north of $300,000 or $400,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in November 2011. We were full-time for a few months until we had a working system for beta testing. We've been off and on with them for about four years now as we need them. If we could afford it, I'd love to have them working around the clock for us. That'd be great. We continue to work with them once or twice a year on projects, fixing bugs and expanding the feature set a little bit. We're in a sprint right now that will be about two months. We get feedback from customers, and we continue to evolve the product.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

I don't have anything concrete to share, no real figures or anything. I've never worked with any other Rails firms, so I don't have a direct comparison. The app that I brought to them was dead on arrival, so it's difficult to quantify what happened. I just know that I had something that was broken when I first engaged them and, four years later, I have something that works, and works well. We have a software as a service model here, we have people who pay us money, and we keep the lights on. I can feed my kids, and we have a real business. That's the best indicator of success.

How did Railsware perform from a project management standpoint?

The only real criticism I have is in this area, and I don't know if it's on them specifically as it's really tough to say that a specific feature is going to take a set amount of time. We've had a lot of learning along the way, and I now have a pretty good understanding of how long things should take and can budget more realistically. We've run into budgeting issues in the past, but I think that probably falls on both sides.

There are things that could have been done differently by Railsware, and myself but, all in all, I don't really have any negative feelings about it. Their involvement has been a very positive experience, and I got a crash course on what it takes to manage a team of people that I don't see. There are challenges when working with people remotely, and you don't always get as much as you want, but things have gotten done.

We've used a variety of tools over the years, such as Pivotal Tracker, Trello, and JIRA. We've also used Skype, Hangouts, Google Docs, and all the standard collaboration tools that are out there. I love using Trello because it's so simple.

What distinguishes Railsware from other providers?

They're definitely not "yes men." They don't necessarily just give me what I want. They will challenge you, which I think is a good thing and it's for the overall benefit of the end product. Just because I'm the founder doesn't mean I have the best ideas, and they've challenged me on many occasions. I like that, and I appreciate that they're trying to make the product better for the end consumer. Railsware's communication has always been good.

It's tough when you're a nontechnical person, but my gut feeling is that they know their stuff on the technical side. Because I had a bad experience with the last developers, I was kind of gun shy. As I worked with Railsware, I developed a confidence and a trust with them. I felt that they were passionate about what they were doing.

Is there anything Railsware could have improved or done differently?

Through the years, they've grown and they're always busy. It's tough to get a sprint scheduled with them now. In the early days of our relationship, I would have liked a better understanding on budgeting. I think that could have been managed better on both sides.

4.5
Overall Score It's been very positive.
  • 3.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    But, it's improved through the years.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Four and half. They've very competitive, and I think the value is good. They're not the cheapest game in town, but I think you're getting a superior level of workmanship.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    It's very good.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I recommend them to anybody who asks. I would choose them again without any hesitation. I have no doubt that we made the right choice at the time.