Python Powerhouse - Web app development teams

We are Europe’s Python Powerhouse. Over 160 full-stack Python developers stand ready to supercharge your project with extraordinary code, the Agile way. Based in Poland, we employ a total of over 280 people including UX designers, Manual and Automatic QA testers and communication experts ensuring smooth cooperation with our partners.

With 12 years of experience under our belt, we can provide full-stack web app solutions to clients across all industries using Python Django, Angular, ReactJS and more. We are proud to work with long-term technology partners throughout the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, The Middle East and Western Europe.

What we do:

  • We craft development teams and instill Agile best practices from the beginning.
  • We build working software sustainably and iteratively.
  • We set up open communication channels between development and product management.
  • We deliver according to your goals and timelines.
  • We practice and value continuous improvement.

What we don't do:

  • We don’t sell generic development resources. 
  • We don’t predict 1-year deliverables. 
  • We don’t stop development when your priorities change.
  • We don't insert needless management between you and our developers.

At STX we can easily translate your ideas into successful digital products. Want to learn more? Contact us.

 
Undisclosed
 
$25 - $49 / hr
 
250 - 999
 Founded
2005
Show all +
Poznań, Poland
headquarters
  • STX Next
    12/5 Morawskiego Street
    Poznań 60-239
    Poland
    +48 512 914 236

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Seerene, Coras, Hogarth Worldwide, FusePump, Vyze, StreetTeam, Realface, BetBright, KNMP, Paze, Decernis, Key Ingredient, TBSeen, Newable Business Finance, finstreet and more.

Coras

ABOUT

Connecting the world to tickets. Based out of Dublin, Coras allows customers to purchase tickets for any event or activity, through whatever online channel they choose. 

CHALLENGE

For Coras, the challenge was releasing a working MVP of their product in a short period of time in order to secure another advance of their financing. They were looking to create an app from scratch to serve as a ticket distribution platform for cultural and entertainment events from many content providers. One of the main issues was finding a common solution for all stakeholders of the project and integrating it with one of the major European airlines.

 

STX Next Delivered

  • 2 Full Scrum teams to meet the designated goals of the project.
  • Manage the mark back of tickets from one seller to the other for both general admission and seated events
  • Track ticket sales across all...

Verve

ABOUT

Verve (Formerly known as StreetTeam) is the world’s leading peer-to-peer sales and marketing software for live entertainment. Verve enables its customers to turn their most influential fans into ambassadors who promote their events, selling more than 300,000 tickets in 14 countries since 2012.

CHALLENGE

Verve came to us with an original product built in PHP and a long list of reasons why they wanted to switch to Python going forward, referring to it as a more modern solution. Their current development team is well-versed in PHP but not Python, so they were looking for a provider to manage development in the midterm while their own developers got up to speed on using Python.

STX Next Delivered

  • A global platform that enables advocates to experience the products that they love with their friends
  • A unique SaaS application for brands, campaign managers and ambassadors
  • ...

Seerene

ABOUT

Seerene provides revolutionary insights and analytics into the mission-critical software to help: Enterprises, IT Services Companies and Regulators gain actionable insights into the code, applications, and teams. The company’s headquarters are located in Germany with additional offices in Hong Kong and the US.

CHALLENGE

The biggest challenge for the multiple product teams in this project has been finding the right way to implement deep analytics algorithms that transform low-level code-related metrics into KPIs and insights for C-Level users, Seerene’s primary target group. The team is constantly developing new features and machine learning capabilities into the product to make the raw data more consumable and full of value for decision makers of large corporates.

STX Next Delivered

  • Possibility to visualize the amount of work done over a certain period of time
  • Ability to...

Newable Business Finance

ABOUT

Newable Business Finance is a joint venture between two leading SME lenders in the UK: Newable Limited and Liberis Limited. Newable Business Finance is focused on enabling growth of UK SMEs through the provision of finance to those who feel they are unable to access finance through mainstream (i.e banks) providers.

CHALLENGES

Newable reached out to us with a complete idea for the product’s MVP and a very short deadline. Up until then Newable Business Finance had done all their work manually using paper printed documents. They were faced with the task of transferring the whole process to the Internet. Meaning that the system had to be easy to understand and use but still needed to include several levels of approval. Another goal was to reduce the loan application time for the end-customers.

STX Next Delivered

  • The entire platform in which users can apply for business loans (with...

FusePump

ABOUT

FusePump is a strategic partner for brands, helping them understand and apply technology to succeed in digital commerce. Established in 2009, FusePump started by offering technology that scrapes websites and returns organized, high-quality, real-time data. In 2011, the company launched the first ever BuyNow solution which uses the same data-retrieving expertise to connect customers with live retailer prices.

CHALLENGE

The client came to us with an idea for the product’s MVP. The system needed to be easy to use and flexible enough to build different types of advertisements. The biggest challenge for FusePump was to provide a common solution for all clients who had different needs.

STX Next Delivered

  • One permanent and one temporary Scrum Team available exclusively to the client
  • A set of features and tools extending the basic functionalities of the platform (e.g. providing a...

Realface (Acquired by Apple in 2017)

ABOUT

RealFace was a company whose mission was to revolutionize the way people are recognized. They were creating A.I software with the aim of bringing back human perception to digital process, delivering to customers the technologies needed to connect with their consumers in the digital era. Acquired by Apple in 2017.

CHALLENGE

RealFace was looking for a tech partner who could integrate their library written in C and take over development from a previous company. Their real challenge, however, was to find developers who could understand the logic of the AI face recognition system and deal with GPUImage and the dlib face detector.

STX Next Delivered

Using the most advanced technologies in A.I, developed in-house, STX Next created a user centered authentication service. Meet the first anti-spoof application tailored for everyday use on your device.

FEATURES

    ...

TBSeen

ABOUT

TBSeen is a startup run by 12 British female celebrities, including the founder Kate Thornton. TBSeen.com brings together money-saving deals, offers, and rewards from 500 carefully-curated brands, blended with original, entertaining and helpful content.

CHALLENGE

TBSeen is a unique start-up case. Due to celebrities bringing in followers that immediately converted to sales, the site is making money from day one. The problem was scaling up: with a London agency of just a few devs, TBSeen could not keep up with the pace of their business growth. The need to scale rapidly and within budget brought TBseen and STX Next together.

STX Next Delivered

  • Manageable branded content landing pages
  • Ability to create and manage competition forms
  • New deal types (e.g. handling voucher codes)
  • Integration with new affiliates
  • Completely new Retailers space with...

BetBright

ABOUT

Based in Dublin and founded in 2012, BetBright is an online UK sports betting and gaming operator. BetBright takes an innovative and disruptive technology-based approach to winning on the product, which delivers the very best user experience possible.

CHALLENGE

With three internal teams already working on their project, BetBright found themselves with a need to scale up their development rapidly. In order to do so, they were looking for capable and affordable developers with the ability to make an immediate impact. 

 

STX Next Delivered

  • Casino “Quick Deposit” allows users to continue to deposit money during the game without interruption
  • Mobile page redesign including Blog & Widgetisation allows BetBright customers to stay updated with current events
  • “Recall” adds personalized bet recommendations based on the customers’ bet history. (15+% conversion...

Decernis

ABOUT

Based in Washington DC, Decernis provides regulatory expertise and systems to manage food, consumer, and industrial product safety compliance across more than 180 countries. Decernis gives clients a complete regulatory intelligence on the market through unique, fully integrated, patented technology platforms covering over 80,000 regulations.

CHALLENGE

Decernis’ application was based on a fairly old technological stack. Supporting the technology was a growing challenge, and Decernis saw the need to push the project into a direction where they could switch to newer technologies with better support. Another challenge for Decernis was finding a partner who could work with their multiple offices in various locations around the globe and across multiple time zones.

STX Next Delivered

  • Introduced RESTful web services, increasing overall scalability and modularity of the system
  • ...

The Outplay

ABOUT

Analytics, DMP and DSP solutions based on cookie-less technology. Myntelligence helps companies put their customers first, to transform these customer’s digital model into a user-centric business and manage audience buying independently.

CHALLENGE

TheOutplay was looking for a tech partner to create an MVP of their product. Their goal was to present the MVP to potential clients and investors and secure further rounds of funding. They were looking for a quick and cost-effective solution to have a presentable prototype as soon as possible.

STX Next Delivered

  • User’s data visualization with interactive charts
  • Ability to group unique users into segments

  • Online campaigns management module

  • Campaign efficiency analysis module
  • Admin panel for platform management (creating accounts, managing permissions, etc.)
  • “Demo account” for sales...

T Dispatch

ABOUT

T Dispatch was a progressive software development company which has built a unique dispatch system for passenger transport fleets.

CHALLENGE

Due to T Dispatch’s diverse, global customer base, there was a demand for localized customer features and payment service provider integrations. The development team also had to focus on improving the performance of the overall system in order to handle an increasing number of end-users.

STX Next Delivered

  • New search engine, over 10 times faster than the previous one 
  • Increased performance which eliminated system outages 
  • Security improvements related to booking and payment processes 
  • Integration with payment providers in 7 countries 

Inteligo (PKO Bank Polski)

ABOUT

Inteligo Financial Services S.A. is one of the first online banks in Poland. It is owned and operated by PKO Bank Polski, Poland’s largest bank by market value and listed among Forbes Global 2000 in 2016.

Completed in 2014.

STX Next Delivered

  • A proprietary (open-sourced) module stxnext. staticdeployment enabled generating a static version of the content
  • Existing infrastructure was integrated with a CMS Plone system
  • A reliable ‘storing data in relational database’ architecture was created which enabled the CMS application to operate in a hot standby mode
  • Integration with Google Maps to enable search of ATM locations
  • The portal was linked with tracking systems and forms to open accounts and deposit money was created

Key Ingredient

ABOUT

Founded in 2005, Key Ingredient is based in Austin, Texas, and features more than 2 million recipes that have been shared by cooks over the years. With about 3,000,000 unique visitors per month, their largest demographic segment consists of millennial home cooks.

CHALLENGE

The website, despite its long existence, was poorly optimized for SEO and the design required some refreshment, especially on the mobile site, because the majority of the users access the website from a mobile device. Another issue was that the page loading time was highly insufficient. The code itself contained a lot of legacy code, with outdated libraries and unused features.
 

STX Next Delivered

  • Site speed improvement (4-5x faster)
  • The highest SEO ratings due to front-end, back-end, and sitemaps improvements
  • Streamlined technical stack by moving categories to elastic search (removing...

Key Ingredient Mobile

ABOUT

Key ingredient is a social networking application for cooking enthusiasts. The application contains over 2 million recipes, which users browse, share and collect into personalised cookbooks. Key Ingredient offers text recognition system for digitizing recipes as well as text to speech engine, allowing to list the recipes.

FEATURES

  • iOS and Android platforms
  • Text recognition system
  • Text-to-speech engine
  • Internal currency system (Key NotesTM)
  • Mobile ads platforms: Amazon Ads,
  • MoPub, TapJoy
  • Mobile payments: Google Play, Amazon, iOS In-App Purchases 

Polish State Forests (Lasy Państwowe)

ABOUT

Polish State Forests (Polish: Lasy Państwowe) is a Polish governmental organization that manages state-owned Polish forests on behalf of the Polish State Treasury. The agency is among the top 20 companies in Poland based on revenues from sales. (This project was Completed in 2014)

STX Next Delivered

  • Portal based on a modern CMS that allows intuitive and convenient content management accompanied by a new graphic design.
  • Due to performance requirements, modern caching techniques were employed.
  • We used tools, such as Munin and Nagios, allowing for the monitoring of the server status and alarming the agency in the event of problems.

Paze.me

ABOUT

Paze was founded on the premise of eliminating the dependency on short-term credit and encourage working people to save. It is a next-generation consumer finance company that lets customers get the money they’ve already earned without waiting for payday. Paze does this by paying customers their salary on a daily, weekly, or on-demand basis and collecting from the employer at the end of the month.

CHALLENGE

Paze needed to scale up their development team quickly while ensuring that they bring software engineers with the right skills on board. They were about to launch their service and needed more resources for support and future development.

STX Next Delivered

  • Every day reports about reconciliation
  • Tab for checking statuses of disbursements
  • Using cards for paying installments after opt-out
  • Tab for employers to manage their employees 

cielo24

ABOUT

Cielo24 delivers searchable captions, media data and media intelligence for large media platform partners in the online education, enterprise, news, and entertainment markets. Their clients turn to Cielo24 to meet the growing demands on their multimedia including compliance laws, discoverability, reach and user engagement.

CHALLENGE

Due to limited internal bandwidth, Cielo24 sought a qualified technology partner to support their inhouse development team on a series of complex projects. They were looking for skilled developers who could develop and maintain their product.

STX Next Delivered

  • User requirements validation
  • Project scoping
  • Data preparation and migration
  • Custom functional development
  • User Interface/User Experience
  • Performance testing, maintenance and support

Vyze

ABOUT

Vyze is a leading financial technology company for retailers & manufacturers. By combining a comprehensive lending supply, technology, and support under one roof, Vyze is able to deliver businesses simpler, more satisfying financing experiences for their customers, wherever and whenever they shop. Formerly known as NewComLink, Vyze raised $13 million in series B funding in 2016, bringing the total funding to $35 million.

CHALLENGE

The main challenge for Vyze was scaling up their internal development team, bringing resources onboard with the right skill set, who could hit the ground running and be able to execute on their strategy. They required qualified developers with extensive knowledge and previous experience.

STX Next Delivered

  • On-site financing platform for retailers
  • Fulfilling eCommerce financing experience
  • Advanced and robust API
  • Full...

KNMP

ABOUT

KNMP (The Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association) is a Dutch umbrella organization for both professional pharmacists and the pharmacy in general. It promotes both the interests of its members and the interests of the pharmaceutical sector in the Netherlands.

CHALLENGE

The goal was to create a viable product that would help KNMP manage shortages and inform specialists about supply forecasts. The ambitious goal was to be completed within a fixed price/fixed scope project. Despite very thorough documentation, the final product needed to evolve to fit the needs of the end users.

STX Next Delivered

  • A custom Content Management System that allows the management of medicine shortages
  • An application design that enables the user to easily update content
  • A system that quickly notifies doctors, pharmacists, and patients of the availability of a particular medicine 

STX AR

ABOUT

The STX Next Mobile Team created this application in order to improve skills in new technologies such as Augmented Reality and 3D graphics. The team used the Vuforia to place animated 3D models real life space. The application recognizes the STX Next logo and displays 3D objects chosen by the user. The user can interact with these objects.

FEATURES

iOS and Android

Face detection functionality

Libraries: OpenCV, dlib


Mp4 with av-Foundation

Connections with Amazon S3 

Coras Mobile

ABOUT

Coras automates the most time consuming processes of ticket sellers (promoters and venues). STX Next delivered not only agreed features and functionality but real value for the client and for the end user.

FEATURES

iOS and Android


Push notification

Integration with Coras.io main system

CI - Jenkins


Distribution Fabric.io 

Paze.me Mobile

ABOUT

Paze is a next-generation consumer finance company that lets customers get the money they’ve already earned without waiting for payday. Paze does this by payig customers their salary on a daily, weekly, or on-demand basis and collecting from the employer at the end of the month.

FEATURES

iOS and Android
 platform

List of transactions

Yodlee verification of bank accounts

Changing amount of weekly/daily disbursments and schedules

Push notifications 

Reviews

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Platform Dev for Online Retailer

“I massively value their opinion … they really listen to us so they can understand our business.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Jan. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

STX Next used a previous MVP build along with Python, Django, and SQL to build an AWS platform. They developed six complex APIs, a CMS, and a data management system.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
London, United Kingdom
Neal Hendley
Managing Director, TBSeen
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

They bestow a level of transparency that significantly boosts overall confidence. A goal-oriented and relentless QA process ensures consistent and error-free delivery. Product ownership, communication, and effective use of both Agile and Scrum methodologies are also notable qualities.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I was the former operations manager at TBSeen, and currently act as the managing director. We are a retail platform for shoppers that provides curated deals from over 650 U.K. retailers. Our team searches for the best available discounts, vouchers, and cash-back incentives for our users to save money. Kate Thornton directs our outsourced team of two celebrity providers in the U.K. who provide fashion and style content.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with STX Next?

Our initial website development took place in London, which isn’t the cheapest place to build a completely new platform that has many technical requirements. I decided to look at different offshore options after the MVP was developed.

We were looking for development teams that had the right qualifications and experience with both Python and Agile methodologies. Effective product ownership was an area in which previous providers were lacking, so it was important that the new team have this quality as well.

We needed to save money, maintain quality, and increase productivity.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

STX Next used the previous MVP build along with Python, Django, and SQL to build our platform on Amazon Web Services.

They brilliantly worked to understand and take ownership of the platform in order to maintain it. We ended up having a productive 30-day process of exchange and knowledge gathering. They used prior knowledge and support from others to find an effective solution for every issue. 

Once they were running it, we set out to improve the product, gather data, and further understand how users were engaging with the first iteration. We developed a product road map for enhancement, then STX Next used strategic thinking to help push the product into a better proposition for customers.

We’ve also been working on improving the backend technology to make the process smoother and more reliable. We added new features to the site during this development.

We built a series of six fairly complicated APIs on the platform. Each API is plugged into a network that’s running marketing transactions for U.K. brands trying to generate leads. We then pool all this data into one central standardization on our site to present to our customers. We are able to track these purchases all the way to the final sale, which required a fairly complex tracking and interpretation system that works with every affiliate network.

We also have a CMS that allows us to run a magazine and blog on our site. We have a management system that we use to publish our deals, as well as a system to curate and manage deals we think are suitable for customers.

We also have a browser extension that acts as a reminder to pick up a voucher during checkout.

What is the team dynamic?

There were two backend Python developers that also helped with the data side of things. We have one content person, one QA, and a part-time UX specialist who we use to update user experience features. We also have a full-time proxy product owner and a partially full-time scrum master. It’s a comprehensive team.

How did you come to work with STX Next?

An agency recommended them to us, so we flew out to see how they operate. It was refreshing to see an Agile team in separate units working on different projects. Depending on the requirement, they always had a scrum master and either a product owner or a proxy product owner. They had the Python skill sets we needed, as well as the right staff size.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent £300,000 [$392,499].

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve been working with them since January 2016, and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Data from insights we've tracked with our customers, along with feature performance before and after implementation, are what drives our development. We understand what the engagement levels are of any specific feature before we launch a new one. We’re very user sensitive. We use Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, and we also have all the sales tracking going on in the background.

Everything we do is to improve business, efficiency, and to increase the number of users on the platform. The team is very goal-oriented and makes sure to track all changes. We run a series of weekly charts that monitor everything to ensure understanding of functionality so we can react appropriately.

We run analysis on our efficiencies, including how many front and backend features we’re working on every week, how many have been released, and what type they are. Sometimes it can be misleading depending on the size of the feature, but for the most part, we have a good grasp of maintained speed, work, and velocity.

We have to be a little obsessed about making sure we’re doing everything from a data perspective so that improvements are accurate. We work to find solutions to failures, but also to make successful areas even better.

How did STX Next perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re done remarkably well, and the development pace has been excellent. We’ve been able to release features basically every week, which is great. We’ve been successful in starting with smaller items then working up to larger ones during very fast one-week sprint cycles.

We started off with a full-time scrum master, but we’ve reduced their time since the team became self-sufficient. The scrum master also runs the backlog to make sure the team is communicating correctly and planning efficiently. Their role is very important, and the team thrives by having someone who rigorously drives their thinking and is constantly looking at ways to improve our workflow.

The project management role is completely intertwined with the product owner. STX Next is the only agency I’ve worked with that actually has any sense of product ownership. We have a full-time proxy product owner that concentrates purely on product and researches how it can be better. They work directly with our team and the scrum master to make sure everything we’re achieving is heading in the right direction.

Knowing that progress is being made without having to constantly supervise it helps us as a business, and also boosts our confidence in their team. It’s very reassuring to know there are people driving the team and making sure they’re as efficient as they can be.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We quickly developed a real sense of partnership instead of a vendor-type relationship. I’m very open about our business goals and transparent about how I want this to perform. We give them all that information and work together to try and reach the same target, which has been really beneficial. They’ve really enjoyed the process of being a part of our team.

I massively value their opinion because of their insight and talent. They really listen to us so they can understand our business.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We knew the handover process was going to be challenging, but they’ve handled it really well. They’re very open minded. It’s vital that both teams communicate as often as possible, but sometimes, we fall short on our side. This ultimately causes us to lose sight of communication. However, we recently started increasing the frequency of our communication, and we also take trips to Poland for face-to-face contact.

5.0
Overall Score I’ve worked with so many different agencies over the past 16 years, and they’ve been incredibly refreshing. It’s made my life easier.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They’re very prompt. We’ve always been very pragmatic about deadlines, which makes it easier when shifts occur. They met every urgent deadline.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    That’s one of the reasons we went with them. It was quality work, so the value was excellent.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The quality has been excellent. We’ve always been obsessed with the data, and we’re always been trying to make sure that our work succeeds.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve already recommended them.

Salvaged Dev Project for Innovation Consultancy

"[STX Next] delivered with high quality, dedication, and diligence."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Mar. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

After conducting a code audit of a banking web app developed by previous vendors, STX Next scrapped the code and developed from scratch an improved solution. They assisted in frontend, backend, UX, and testing.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Berlin, Germany
Innovation Manager
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

STX Next proved highly scalable and accommodating, and a top bank using the app is satisfied. Despite being under immense pressure to deliver quickly, their deliverables were high-quality. The team is professional but fun to work with, and they are diligent and dedicated to meeting deadlines.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are an innovative tech solutions company which mainly deals in the area of digitalization in the financial service sector. I am the innovations manager. I’m responsible for dealing with the customer, asking for the requirements, and conforming those requirements into software or into code.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with STX Next?

We needed our application to be rebuilt from start to finish.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We did a whole restart of the project because the code which was written by the former supplier was not usable. STX Next started with a code review and the result was not satisfying; they were forced to write the application from scratch.

In the last 4-5 months, STX did a fantastic job. It’s an application for the corporate banking sector, and we worked very hard to deliver it in August. In Germany, we supply to some of the top banks. Their corporate clients are forced to go to the bank branch and hand in a number of documents in order to ask for an offer for a credit to finance their vehicle, machinery, and so on. Our challenge was to create a way for this process to be fully online, where their corporate clients could upload all necessary documents, type in all necessary data, and the bank could make an offer based on the inquiry. One of the critical parts of the application is the overall processing of the inquiry, because there are several parts involved. It was very important to consider various user roles.

The team with STX Next consisted of 1 automatic tester and 1 manual tester. There were 2-3 backend developers, 2-3 frontend developers, a scrum master, and the product owner. Łukasz Marcinczak [Scrum Master, STX Next] was acting as product owner and scrum master. On our company’s side, I also had the role of product owner and acted as the face to the customer, the resource between STX’s work and our end customers.

How did you come to work with STX Next?

We did some market research and found STX Next. In the past, we’ve worked with some providers offshore. We had collaborated with one based in South America, but we weren’t satisfied, so we were looking for a new supplier.

On the shortlist, there were 5 companies we were looking at. We had some interviews and asked for references. We narrowed it down to 2 suppliers at the end. After the first contact with Matthew Harris [Director of International Partnerships, STX Next] we got some references from them. We called some other clients of theirs and all of them confirmed that they are very satisfied with STX. After visiting and calling STX Next, we got to know them very well and had a good feeling about starting a collaboration. This was the right decision.

How much have you invested with STX Next?

[Confidential]

What is the status of this engagement?

The first meeting took place in February 2017, the start of the development was at the beginning of March 2017, and the work is ongoing. The “go live” already took place; the web application is available on the internet. This is our “friends and family” stage so that we are able to give feedback about the application to the banks before the full rollout. Some features will be added soon, and at the beginning of September, we will start the marketing campaign.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The number of visitors is not that big right now, but I think that is going to change at the beginning of September. I can’t provide any useful numbers to that end.

The app before STX started working on it was very bad quality, and there was no end in sight. STX Next had a lot of pressure on them, because there was a 3-5-month slowdown caused by the previous vendor, and banks were expecting the application at the end of July. We were forced to put as much scope or as many tasks into one sprint as we could, but STX got us where we needed to be.

Overall, STX delivered very high-quality. They were very dedicated in terms of meeting the deadline. They also worked on the weekends and sometimes during the night. I am very satisfied. Our client, which is one of the top 5 banks in Germany, is very satisfied with the application too.

How did STX Next perform from a project management standpoint?

There was no dedicated project manager on the STX Next side, but their team collaborated well, incorporated themselves efficiently into our project, and delivered with high quality, dedication, and diligence.

What did you find most impressive about STX Next?

The team spirit is very good. To work with those guys is a real pleasure for me. On the one hand, they are very professional, and on the other hand, they were fun too. I think the very intense communication between us is one success factor I would like to highlight.

Are there any areas STX Next could improve?

There are no big improvements I would like to mention.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with STX Next?

You could be doing a great job, and the bank, or your client, could be doing a great job too. But if your supplier isn’t at that level, there’s the bottleneck. Selecting a good supplier and making the right decision at the beginning is the success factor which is most important.

4.5
Overall Score It’s close to perfect.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Overall, I’m very satisfied. STX Next always met the deadline. I’m close to saying 5.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The rates for every developer are fair, considering the quality they delivered.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The quality was very high, except for some smaller issues because of the big scope of the sprints.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would recommend STX, definitely.

Developed Micro-blogging Platform for Ed Tech Firm

"They’re on the ball. I would use these guys again, absolutely."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
May 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

STX Next helped internal dev teams by taking over a legacy app rewrite. They used Python/Django to create an education-sector blogging platform, and continue to help with testing and integrations.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Newark, United Kingdom
Darren Ryan
Product Development Manager, PrimarySite
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

STX Next is accommodating, transparent, confident, and they excel at communication. They understand business goals and are proactive at solving problems. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I am the product development manager at PrimarySite, Ltd., which is the leading provider of primary school websites in the U.K. We’ve got over 3,000 customers, heading towards 4,000. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with STX Next?

We’re very busy and we have a legacy application which needs rewriting. We couldn’t find the time to ever do it, so we decided to outsource. Python and Django are the main technologies we use. That’s what we wanted it written in.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

It’s a blogging platform aimed at primary school kids. The teacher of a class is ultimately in control of that class’ blog. The children can post their own blogs, but the teachers have the ability to authorize every single blog to make sure it’s appropriate. There’s also a third party avatar-creating tool that we’re integrating with. So, the kids have the fun of creating their own avatar. It’s a child-friendly blogging platform and the reason we’re using this with kids is so that they can build their IT skills, and their reading and writing skills as well. Even though there’s still a couple of weeks’ worth of work, we agreed that it would be a launchable product for us upon delivery. Then we’ll take about a month for our own QA, and have our internal team do some migrations from the old platform. In that time, STX Next will just tidy up code as needed.

What was the team dynamic?

There are about 7 guys. There are 3 backend developers, 2 frontend developers, a product owner, and a QA tester. 

How did you come to work with STX Next?

We looked through several companies along with STX Next; they’re a Python powerhouse. It’s well recognized internally that they were a good match, especially because of how spot-on they were at sensing our needs, even after only a few meetings. They listened what we wanted and were very confident. Their price was very competitive. We knew of them in the industry. We found a couple of others on the internet researching, but we were aware of STX Next. Price and whether they understood our needs and fed it back to us in our conference calls is how we decided. It was also having the confidence that they were going to deliver. Whoever we picked, we would have the final say of code review, and STX Next was very happy with that.

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

About $20,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them June 2017 and have been working together since.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

The initial milestone was the launch date, and it was agreed between all of us that it would be about the beginning of July. That slipped by a couple of weeks, but it’s not business critical for us. As long as we’ve got it out for September, we’re happy with that. When it did slip, the guys were straight with us, saying, “Yeah, we’re not going to meet this deadline.” Part of that might have been our fault due to the technology stack that we wanted to use. They’ve even thrown in an extra frontend developer at their own cost just to try and speed the process up.

How did STX Next perform from a project management standpoint?

It’s been a stable team that hasn’t shifted at all throughout the process. There was a bit of miscommunication right at the very start because we weren't explicit enough with how much frontend work was needed. Initially, the backend Python developers were going to do the frontend, but it became quite clear that there’s a lot more frontend expertise needed.

They do their own in-house code reviews, but because we ultimately could end up maintaining ourselves, we wanted to make sure it was to our standards. They were more than happy to comply with that and included us in their daily stand-ups. We have a catch-up every fortnight to make sure we’re on track. We also communicate on a Slack channel. We’ve had many conference calls and we screen share and that sort of thing. Their communication has been extremely reliable throughout the process. They’ve also given us access to their JIRA board so we can monitor that as well.

Things have slipped slightly, but they’ve been happy to provide extra frontend developers when we requested them and they’ve given us a significant discount, which is quite nice. To ensure we make the latest deadline, they’ll even throw in another frontend developer, free of charge. When there’s been any slight slippage, the guys have been very quick to let us know, “We’re not going to be able to do this,” or “Can we change this?”

What distinguishes STX Next from other providers?

The last vendor we used was quite a few years ago. STX Next is definitely quicker than them. They’re on the ball. I would use these guys again, absolutely. Their communication has been really good. 

Is there anything STX Next could have improved or done differently?

The only issue we’ve had is the lack of understanding about our frontend needs, but I think in fairness to them, we probably weren’t clear enough about the technologies we required on this. As for areas of improvement, it’s probably on our shoulders and not theirs. When we had these issues, they were very proactive in trying to come up with solutions. With projects, there’s always slippage, and it was kind of expected.

Do you have any recommendations for others considering working with STX Next?

Just make sure when you’re writing out technical specifications, that you leave nothing for the developers to guess how you want to implement it. You have to be very explicit in every single detail about your requirements so that, when the developers come to work on your story, they have no questions to come back to you with.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They threw in another frontend developer without cost, which is very nice.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Very good.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Enterprise Platform Dev for Financial Services Firm

"They’re immersed in the entire business process and the development."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Dec. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

STX Next helped develop a platform to automate back-office lending processes, like applications, disbursement, and repayment. They lead customer-facing integrations and continue developing products.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
London, United Kingdom
Head of Technology & Operations
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

STX Next never sacrifices quality, and their contributions are always market-ready. They challenge assumptions to ensure the highest quality product is being delivered, in the most efficient way. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Our company is a government-owned business that has multiple business units. The one that I belong to employs business lending, and we have multiple types of products. I’m the head of product and technology. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with STX Next?

We needed a platform and web application built from scratch.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

We started off pretty small with a couple of developers. We developed from scratch a platform and a web application that enabled us to automate a lot of the back office processes for allowing customers to apply, and then manage the application process and the disbursement and repayments of the loans.

After a few months, we decided to launch a few more products. As a result, we expanded the team by 2 more developers, a QA engineer, and a product owner. We’re developing a couple of products and looking forward to launching a few more.

The development is almost entirely outsourced to STX Next. Because we’re part of a bigger organization, the homepages and the corporate website are owned by an internal technology team. Up until the point where the application starts and the entire servicing of the customer starts, our corporate-owned website and from that point in, it’s entirely outsourced to STX Next.

The main complexity of this project was around multiple custom integrations. I would roughly divide the work that they’re doing for us into 2 parts. One will be the customer-facing website where they apply and service themselves, but the back office of everything is just multiple integrations with our lending platform and payment platform: Slack, payment systems, account creation, e-money accounts, and the various other integrations. In other words, the complexity is in how you orchestrate all of that in a seamless way so that we don’t interrupt the customer experience, and won’t fail entirely if one of the services fail. That’s the main complexity behind it. On the frontend side of things, there isn’t a huge challenge there.

How did you come to work with STX Next?

I worked with them in my previous company. They stopped working on that project and were available to me right when I needed them at this company. I was very happy with them, and so I hired them again.

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

Around $130,000–$140,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them December 2016 and have been working together since.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

The primary thing that I could talk about is the fact that we hired the first couple of developers in December 2016 and we were live with the first product before the end of January 2017. That says a lot about how quickly they turn around and how quickly they deliver things that actually work so that we can go live. That’s the best testament to the quality of their work.

Because it worked very incrementally, there aren’t huge things that we’ve done at once and given praise. We’re just incrementally improving everything. I would say the second thing worth mentioning is that the product we are launching right now is a peer-to-peer product, and as before, from a technology point of view, we are totally ready to go live. What’s stopping us now is mostly admin and legal work. The technology was always ahead of business and other admin stuff with everything we did.

How did STX Next perform from a project management standpoint?

I got most of the same team I had previously, in addition to another developer I didn’t know before. One of the things that I love about working with them is that they are very product- and customer-oriented. Unlike any other outsource team I’ve worked with and even some of the general teams I’ve worked with, they are not the type of developers you hand requirements to in isolation. They’re always asking questions. They’re always questioning my assumptions of how things are going to work. They always have brilliant ideas about how to improve the user experience, how to find exceptional cases. That part made my job and my decision to work with them again a lot easier.

We used Pivotal to track work and now we’re using Kanbanize. We moved from Scrum Sprints toward Workflow. We use Slack for day-to-day chats and messages, and Appear.in for video conferencing and screen sharing.

What distinguishes STX Next from other providers?

I’ve experienced working with a lot of outsourced companies. In terms of delivery, STX Next has never fallen from or dropped the ball with any companies I’ve ever worked for, even compared to internal teams, and not only outsourced teams. Whenever I recommend STX to others, my biggest selling point for these guys is that they are developing a product. They are not coding minions that get basic instructions, follow them, and don’t care about what they’re doing. They are always trying to understand what they’re doing, what the product is, what the end goal is, and what the future plans are. They’re immersed in the entire business process and the development, which is what distinguishes them from any other company I’ve ever worked with.

Is there anything STX Next could have improved or done differently?

Perhaps the only thing would be more flexibility around working hours, but that’s always an issue with near shore/offshore outsourcing; the time differences. Although in this case, it’s not a huge time difference because a lot of the developers there start working early, which in my time is way too early, which means they finish out very early. There are always a couple of hours at the end of the day where I have no one to talk to. Having more flexibility on that would make things a bit easier, but I can’t think of a case when things were needed after hours. In the couple of instances that I really needed them, they were there for me.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re a little pricey.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    6, even.

Team Augmentation for Digital Product Studio

"They help us develop the right software in a more efficient way."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
May 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

This review was STX Next supplies full-stack engineers who help develop a secure collaboration suite. Up to 5 resources support an internal group and continuously expedite production. 

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
London, United Kingdom
Head of Development
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Throughout the engagement, STX Next coded several custom features from scratch, demonstrating excellent technical skills. Their problem-solving abilities and eagerness to incorporate feedback continue to drive project success.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the head of development for a security software company. Our products allow users to conduct secure correspondence with other individuals by email or our secure collaboration software. Users can go online and collaborate in a secure environment and share files. The company started in 2008 and has grown steadily over that time.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with STX Next?

We knew we wanted to grow a part of the development team, either internally or through an agency like STX Next who could quickly provide the resources we needed. We needed to get software developed and into production as quick as possible.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

It’s a secure collaboration product, so I can’t tell you much about the tech stack. STX Next was confident and resourceful. The product’s an OpenStack platform, and they do the full development lifecycle for the frontend and backend. They provide development resources to help us with the full suite of software.

We currently have 3 developers, a tester, and a product owner working on the project. We gave them an idea of the kind of work we wanted, and then STX Next put a team together for us. When we first started working with STX Next, they had an office where the developers were based, but they moved our development resources to another office, so we had to transition to another team. We started with 2 developers and a tester and added a developer; now, we’ve got the product owner as well to manage the software as a whole.

How did you come to work with STX Next?

I wasn’t involved on the hiring side, but I think our CTO found them. We were introduced to STX Next, and it really went from there. Before we signed the contract, I talked with them about our products, our strategic vision, and what we wanted in terms of a results profile. We got quotes from them about what they could do, and that went through our chain for approval. I’ve been working with STX Next since the team was initiated.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They’ve worked on a number of projects. We’ve seen better results when we’ve been able to isolate specific chunks of functionality from the main product. It’s a secure collaboration, so we have a PDF annotation part of the solution, which STX Next developed from scratch. It was a sub-system, and they took the requirements and worked on them in isolation. From a results point of view, we found that approach turned out much better. We’ve also tried to mix the development resources from STX Next into our team here, but we found that strategy was less productive than giving them bespoke pieces of work.

They are working on slightly different pieces, so I don’t want to compare them to other suppliers or our own team. I’ve had no issues with the performance of their developers. They seem to develop high-quality code that’s always been tested to a sufficient level. They follow the process to the letter, which helps us integrate them into our team. They’re always bringing ideas to the table as well. They’re not just a resource that delivers exactly what we tell them; instead, they come to us with ideas and alternatives.

What did you find most impressive about STX Next?

In my experience with outsourcing, you generally give the outsourcing company a set of requirements, and they deliver the requirements exactly as you specified. If it’s not right, it was your fault because you didn’t specify your needs clearly. But, STX Next is more collaborative. They talk about the problem and suggest ways that could solve it more efficiently. They look at alternatives, particularly when bringing in the product owner. He’s been trying to introduce more processes for developing this solution, whether it’s a customer issue or something we want to do strategically.

STX Next is unique in that they don’t just deliver what you ask for. They help us develop the right software in a more efficient way.

Are there any areas STX Next could improve?

When we tracked the 2 teams, they didn’t always communicate enough with each other. The STX Next team would be tasked with creating some functionality. While they were doing that, they’d refactor some code. It’s great from a development manager’s point of view, as they’re making the code better. However, they didn’t necessarily communicate that to our team here. When we tried to put the software back together, it caused conflicts. At the time, we were unsure why these conflicts were happening, and that caused a few issues. We went back to giving them isolated pieces of work to build from scratch, and that line of separation between the 2 teams certainly works better for us. 

4.5
Overall Score It’s been really good. They give feedback and make the software better, rather than just delivering what we ask.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    There are times when we haven’t given all the information they need; however, if they’d gone that extra mile, we probably would have gotten software out a lot quicker.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They don’t always get it right, but they do go back and rework any issue.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have no concerns about recommending them to anyone.

Ongoing Enterprise Dev for Hogarth Worldwide

“[They have] very energetic and sociable teams, and we get along well.”

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
Confidential
 
July 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

STX Next engineers help internal groups mitigate project overflow. Contributions to 4 separate products range from bug fixes and code refactoring to writing automated testing scripts and building new features. 

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
London, United Kingdom
Greg Swimer & Jim Mellor
CTO / Product Director, Hogarth Worldwide
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Collaboration with STX Next throughout several challenging engagements ensured both timely conclusions and favorable outcomes. Unexpected turnover is rarely an issue and excessive bureaucracy never undermines critical progress. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Hogarth is an advertising production company. We specialize in the production and adaptation of advertisements for TV broadcasting, print, and digital media. We’re one of the largest advertising production companies in the world, with over 2,500 employees in 20 countries. Our client base is predominantly made up of large, multinational advertisers. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenges were you trying to address with STX Next?

About four years ago, we couldn’t recruit Python developers fast enough and at the scale that we needed in London. That limitation drove the need to find a capable partner. We first engaged STX to provide what development bandwidth was missing, internally. The relationship has grown and evolved from there.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Hogarth develops a fair amount of IT technology that's exposed to our customer base as several products that they can license. We have an extensive product development relationship with these customers.

In the last four years, STX has worked on four enterprise web application products. The majority of the work involved Python software development, testing, and QA, fitting them in with our Agile processes.

Their involvement was similar across all four projects — building new features, bug fixes, refactoring some legacy code, and writing automated tests. We have a hand in defining the composition— the scale, size, and makeup—of the teams, but we don’t have a hand in selecting the individuals. Largely, STX’s interpretation of our requirements governs their recruitment process. The teams have worked out well. It’s fair to say with any relationship like this, it’s a partnership. You have to work with individuals and we do invest a fair amount of time in working with management. STX ensures that we get the most out of our teams, just as we would with our own staff.

At peak capacity, we worked with probably about 40 engineers from STX — about five teams of eight. That would be going back a few years now. Now, it’s more stable, around 25.

How did you come to work with STX Next?

STX Next was competing against was the decision to continue using an increasing number of freelancers in London. Generally, Poland is a very effective offshoring option for companies in the UK. Although the resources are remote, Poland is reasonably close. It’s cost-effective, and the working cultures are similar.

​​​​​​What is the status of this engagement?

We first made contact in July 2013 through email. By August, we were in their office to kick off an extensive project. That fast turnaround and the scale-up period was one of the very impressive things about STX.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our enterprise DAM product, Zonza, is a successful platform in its own right, and it’s used by a large number of customers in over 100 countries. STX is an integral part of our team, so it’s not solely their success story. What we get from STX is solid, high-quality, dependable development augmentation. I’m not just measuring the success of Zonza. Instead, we measure the success of the relationship based on output, value for money, quality, cultural fit, agility, and responsiveness. Generally speaking, we’re very happy with the way the relationship works.

How did STX Next perform from a project management standpoint?

STX Next integrates directly into our workflow and is familiar with the tools we chose to use from the very beginning. Other than minor changes, we’ve not had to adapt anything to work with a remote team. Since we can’t meet in person the whole time, we’re usually on Skype. We manage projects in JIRA together and share access to our Confluence wiki for knowledge management. Largely, it’s a seamless process. It’s almost as if we were working with local developers.

STX has a system that lets us track time and allocation of that time against jobs. We can look down the list of tasks and see which developer is assigned to what specific user story or task we’ve put into JIRA. It’s very granular in that respect. While it’s something we rarely do, it’s there if we need it.

We haven’t turned over our product management to them at all. We spoke about that once or twice, but it’s quite key to our model that we handle our own product management design and research. We haven’t really turned over our tech or dev ops.

On the whole, team churn is expected since it’s a fast-paced industry. However, we’ve been working with some people at STX since way back in 2013. As a result, they’ve retained a very deep, technical knowledge of the products.

What did you find most impressive about STX Next?

STX Next has very energetic and sociable teams, and we get along well. After working extensively with their teams, we honestly see them as colleagues rather than suppliers. That’s a unique thing, and it has to do with the culture of STX — it’s something they should be proud of.

STX doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary processes or bureaucracy. In contrast, other third-party development companies tend to overload processes. STX doesn’t and we’ve found working with them to be quick and easy — they just get it done.

Are there any areas STX Next could improve?

By and large, we’ve experienced some challenges in the last 4 years, but that’s the case with every organization. For example, acquiring and managing talent, and figuring out the best way to use various methodologies.

When we started working with STX, they had 80 or 90 people in one city. Now, they have over 200 people in 5 cities. As any growing company will experience, they’re having to go through a phase where things aren’t quite so flexible and easy. That means we’re dealing with a different type of organization, and we need to be prepared to work with the company through those issues. Certain changes are harder than others, and we feel that as customers. It’s not a criticism per se, its natural artifact of success and growth.

STX Next prides themselves on being a “Python powerhouse.” To us, that means that STX codes in one language, and that suits us down to the ground most of the time. But more and more, we’re seeing that our requirements require a little more skill diversity. For example, they would need to adopt other tools to support things like DevOps, cloud orchestration, and deployment. They’ve been keen on doing that, even though it’s not strictly straight Python. As they’re a growing company they might not see a need to diversify as much as we’d like them to, but as a technology partner of Hogarth, it’s something that we would encourage and embrace they do.   

5.0
Overall Score They’re great.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    There’s always room for improvement, but it was mostly good.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They score pretty highly compared with what it would cost us to do things in London.
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    There may have been better ways of doing some things, but they’re generally good with delivery.
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Absolutely.

Platform Modernization for Events SaaS Provider

"Rather than looking for upfront specs ... [they] made an effort to understand the product."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Dec. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

STX Next replaced an inferior product with an overhauled platform built mostly from scratch. The project team brainstormed and helped validate objectives before developing the new MVP. 

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
London, United Kingdom
Bradley Wright
CTO, StreetTeam
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The modernized product delivered by STX Next surpassed expectations and already drove significant sales increases. Direct communication with assigned engineers yielded very productive results, but this might not be possible for less technically experienced clients. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

StreetTeam is a word-of-mouth sales channel for big music festivals. Most of them tend not to sell out, and the best way for them to empty their remaining inventory is to have their biggest fans sell tickets to friends through a social network.

We provide a Software-as-a-Service solution which engages influencers and serves as a sales tool on behalf of their favorite festival. In exchange, they get returns to deepen their experience during the festival in the form of tickets, backstage passes, an upgraded camping site and so on. It deepens their connection to the brand while also helping the company sell tickets. I am the CTO of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenges were you trying to address with STX Next?

We had gone through a re-platforming after we figured out that the current technology in place when I joined the company wasn’t right for our ambitions of global reach, and in terms of the types of partnerships we wanted to sign. We made the decision to write a fairly minimal version of the product. That was launched three weeks ago, and it will be written in Python and ReactJS. Hiring engineers anywhere is very hard, especially in London

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

STX Next rebuilt a number of functionalities from scratch and employed a whole new architecture for the MVP. We had a microservices-based approach, API integration in the middle, and responsive mobile frontends. We went through a story-mapping effort in collaboration with STX Next, coming up with the features that the site needed to have, and drawing out a watermark through them. We outlined what the walking skeleton of the project would be. That skeleton formed the basis of the build.

We had two internal resources prior to STX Next joining the project. They have been working collaboratively from both locations in an Agile fashion. As we continue to hire internal people, they will join the bigger team that STX Next is a part of.

We are using 11 engineers, 3 test automation people, one QA, and one scrum master from STX Next’s team. We’ve been working with the same people from the start, apart from one or two individuals who have left for personal reasons.

How did you come to work with STX Next?

They were recommended to me by a couple of CTO friends, as a good way of leveraging highly-skilled Agile Python developers. STX Next was a way of building capacity quickly, given that they already had a very good team in place. There were three or four other companies under consideration, ranging from expensive London agencies through to very cheap ones from Eastern Europe. STX Next was somewhere in the middle, with a competitive price and high quality at the same time.

We had existing engineers in Wroclaw, Poland, which is also STX Next’s location. While I was there, I took the opportunity to visit their office and have a fairly advanced talk about what they did, and what they could do for us specifically. I spoke to their service director, Łukasz Koczwara, who is a very impressive person. He presented the whole team to me, talked about the engineers’ work, and let me interview them ahead of time. Based on what I wanted in terms of quality of process, demeanor and communication skills, it was an obvious fit for me.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started onboarding STX Next in December 2016. We picked up the pace in the first week of January 2017. The prototype took 12 weeks to build, which was our specified timeline. We have an ongoing collaboration with STX Next and plan to have them as part of our team for a while. We do plan to hire more internal resources, as we undergo more fundraising.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We’ve seen increased sales. Clients have loved the look-and-feel and new features of the product, so we are seeing much bigger festivals sign up to us than before. We’re also in the process of building integrations with third-party ticketing systems. The new architecture demonstrates that we can more easily do that than before. We’ve seen sales and business-channel success, but we also have a stable platform on which we can build over time, whereas the old one was a bit harder to modify.

How did STX Next perform from a project management standpoint?

I haven’t used any other agencies for this project, but, based on previous experiences, I found STX Next to perform well. They’re at least as good as some big agencies in London. We have a direct, one-to-one connection with our engineers, and they’re not hidden behind an account manager. This leads to much better teamwork, and better cohesion for the project overall.

What did you find most impressive about STX Next?

The quality of engineering is much higher than I expected. I was looking for standard, shop-level skills, but STX Next’s coders are very good. They’re people I’d happily hire internally. Their approach to Agile is quite surprising. Rather than looking for upfront specs and documentation, STX Next went through a proper scrum process, talked through stories and made an effort to understand the product. They want to be in it for the long-term, which is a bit different to the normal fire-and-forget agency model.

Are there any areas STX Next could improve?

Support is a touchy subject. STX Next operates in a culture with strict working hours, so they don’t offer out-of-hours support as a service. This was made clear from the start, and it’s not something I can fault them on. It’s simply a service which I wish they had. I have a very good relationship with their director, and we have had conversations on this matter. It may change in the future.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with STX Next?

They should never pick anyone who wants an upfront spec. The Agile process is the best way to build good products and software, so clients should be cautious of someone who wants one big info-dump, and goes away for two months. It’s important to see the work in progress. Agencies which want to get deep into the needs of the client and their users are the best choice. This is my personal bias towards methodologies, but it has worked well for me.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I can only compare STX Next to full-time staff, but I’d give them a maximum rating for value. They have some outstanding engineers who would be earning a lot more in London.
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The only thing I would add is that, due to some timeline pressures, there were some cut corners. I wish that there was a bit more rigor about that stuff.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Python Developed MVP for Data Intelligence Subsidiary

"[They] never forced us to buy a service until we considered it to be necessary."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

STX Next supplies a dedicated engineering team. The assigned developers help an internal group rapidly add new features to an existing cybersecurity solution. 

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
Paris, France
R&D Director
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Organizational skills were a key strength from the very beginning. A complimentary project manager was assigned to prevent unexpected issues, which came as a pleasant surprise. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are a cyber security and computer science company. I work for a subsidiary of a much larger company, which acquired us in 2016. I’m the head of R&D for my department. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with STX Next?

We were looking for additional manpower, and it’s hard to find good, affordable developers in France. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

STX Next provided developers for the technology we were looking for, namely Python. They have worked on certain features of our software, as well as GUI [graphical user interface] elements. We do have internal Python competencies but don’t have enough manpower. STX Next’s role is to speed up our development.

Our main project is a global security solution that gives users information about malware, trojans, bad domains or IP addresses, and so on. We needed to develop a web API that would connect to a number of different websites. STX Next worked on this component and also developed the graphical interface for it, which is an Angular2 portal.

We’ve used 2 developers and a project lead from STX Next. We expect to increase the size of the team, but there are some administrative and political aspects of our company that have delayed the process. I was not involved in selecting the resources assigned to us, but I did explain my needs to STX Next’s business developer, who understood them quite well. I needed senior, experienced people to whom we could add some more junior developers later.

How did you come to work with STX Next?

We were initially contacted by STX Next’s business department through LinkedIn. I researched the company on Google and saw that they were well-referred on sites like Clutch. I had a few meetings with STX Next’s team on Skype and appreciated the fact that I was never pressured into a commitment. We had never worked with an outsourcing company in the past, and we needed some time to determine what a good test project could be. I visited their office in 2016 and found that STX Next had reliable internal organization, so I became confident in them. We didn’t contact other companies because we had a feeling that STX Next would be a good fit. We decided to launch a 1-month test project and decide whether to continue after that period.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with STX Next at the beginning of January 2017. The project is ongoing, and there is no end date. We have enjoyed working with STX Next and plan to use them for any additional features we need to have developed, as well as other projects.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We have an ongoing project, so I cannot share any official data for it. We plan to launch an MVP in 2 weeks, through which we will begin to demonstrate the product to customers and our internal people. We couldn’t have reached this point without STX Next’s help since the majority of our internal team is working on other projects.

In comparison to our own team, STX Next’s technical level is superior (at least for the 2 developers we’ve used).

How did STX Next perform from a project management standpoint?

We decided to use the Atlassian suite, including HipChat as an instant messenger, JIRA for tracking scrum projects, Confluence for weekly meetings, and Bitbucket as a code repository. I asked STX Next which type of tools they preferred before starting the project and was told that the Atlassian suite was a good choice. My own team uses internal messaging and tracking tools, which would not have been possible to share with external people.

We only asked for 2 developers initially, but STX Next assigned our project lead completely free of charge for 2-months in order to ensure that the project would be a success. They were planning to assign the lead to another project on the third month, but I specifically asked to keep him. I found it to be a very good commercial model. STX Next never forced us to buy a service until we considered it to be necessary.

What did you find most impressive about STX Next?

They are a very organized group. My team wasn’t used to working with outsourced resources, but STX Next made the experience very pleasant. I was very impressed by them and have really enjoyed the collaboration.

Are there any areas STX Next could improve?

I would have preferred to have more resources in order to make the project go faster. Working with only 2 developers prolonged the process, but this isn’t really an improvement point for STX Next. It has to do more with our company. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    This can always be improved, but STX Next was efficient in responding to our communication. I can’t find any fault with them.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I can’t really compare STX Next to anyone else. They were the first company we used for outsourcing, but they’re far less expensive than French developers. For us, it was a question of quality, not cost. We would’ve chosen them even at a higher price.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I have no complaints. Without being asked, STX Next’s developers provided documentation and testing. It was a pleasure to work with them.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Flagship Product Enhancement for Marketing Technology Firm

"They are quite experienced and quite strong in the Agile process."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Feb. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

STX Next accelerated the production of a platform that grants businesses the ability to customize their product catalogs and related data within their existing websites.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
London, United Kingdom
CTO
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The project team demonstrated efficiency by streamlining processes and supplying frequent performance metrics. Resources always communicated effectively, and the deliverables were almost completely bug-free.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CTO of a statistics agency in the UK whose origin is handling product data. We work with retailers to extract their product catalog from their website, often by scraping but sometimes by API integration. We then create product databases that are used to get product catalogs on to different channels online. About six years ago, we started working with major brands to scrape the websites of lots of different retailers so the brands can find out how their products are being sold.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with STX Next?

We were looking to develop a platform that could provide multiple clients with a streamlined user interface. This solution would essentially let these end clients customize the integrations on their own websites.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We started working with STX Next in February 2015. The first project was our platform, which was built with Python/Django. The frontend components appear on our clients’ websites in Angular, now in Angular 2. Clients can customize how their integrations look through the control panel that’s live on their sites. In those two years, we’ve also built a mobile app with STX Next.

The maximum STX Next resources we’ve engaged is 32. We tend to work with full-time people who stay for a while, so some of the people who started with us two years ago are still working with us.

How did you come to work with STX Next?

We didn’t look very hard when we picked the company because we had a recommendation from an associated agency. We started off with a fairly small team to see how things would go and expanded the teams over time.

How much have you invested with STX Next?

I don’t think my contract with them lets me disclose that. If you multiply that peak of 32 STX Next workers by hours per month, that’s where they are.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’re also engaging them with another project that’s quite confidential, so I can’t really go into detail.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

STX Next is really good about sharing operational statistics on performance. These are in terms of the predictability and velocity of each team. I’m not sure if the statistics are particularly meaningful because they’re on a sprint-by-sprint basis, but we’re very happy with that they’ve produced. Over the past two years that we’ve been working on the platform together, we’ve only had one or two bugs that clients have discovered. Obviously, there are other bugs here and there, but they identify them and triage them.

How did STX Next perform from a project management standpoint?

We use JIRA primarily and GitHub, and then Google Hangouts for face time. They’re quite good about changing people out. They make sure there’s a sufficient hand-over period and we’re not charged extra for that.

One of the teams has been very good and has met every deadline. They make it very clear very early, and they’ve very good at responding to changes. However, another team is a bit larger and a bit more unwieldy. They don’t perform quite as well in terms of meeting sprint goals and things like that.

What did you find most impressive about STX Next?

One of the things that impressed me is that they are quite experienced and quite strong in the Agile process. Although they’re generally accommodating because we’re the client, they are good at saying, “Wow, this isn’t a very good way to work.” They offer alternatives so that the work runs smoothly. Reducing disruptions means that we get better value. We have a strong culture of Agile processes, and we’ve learned as a business ourselves from watching what they’ve implemented.

Are there any areas STX Next could improve?

It’s always tricky working with someone in a different country. We ought to fly out there more than we do. I think we’d get slightly better results if we were a bit more closely engaged. But in general, I’m happy.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They don’t work on a fixed price or deadline basis, so we’re ultimately buying people to sit and work. Based on the team I work most closely with, I’d give them about a 4.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Compared to other agencies in Poland and in London, they’re the cheapest.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Data Entry Solutions Developed for Pharmaceutical Company

"It’s rare to find a shop with reliable access to this kind of value."

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

STX Next developed 4 separate data entry systems to track and manage complex data sets. They assigned a dedicated and talented team for each project to ensure speedy completion.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Hague, Netherlands
Hans de Wit
Manager, KNMP
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

STX communicated successfully using Bugzilla. They deliver solutions within the specified budget and on-time, which can be challenging for other suppliers. Clients can expect reliable service and attention to detail even on larger, complicated projects.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work for the Dutch Royal Association of Pharmacists. My organization publishes a monthly database of all medicines, along with a lot of associated data.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with STX Next?

We needed a large number of data entry systems but couldn't develop them alone.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

STX Next helped build four of these data entry systems and are helping us develop 25 more. We’ve been working with STX Next for 1 1/2 years and in that time, we’ve built four systems. The first one was a data entry system for what we call the preference policy of insurance companies. They enter information about which specific medicines they cover and which ones they don’t. The data they enter is necessary for the preference policy. The other systems are similar, but instead of being for insurance companies, these data entry systems are internal. The second one was for pharmacists to enter corrections. STX built the system so that we could enter the corrections and provide pharmacists with the actual data on the medicines. There are new medicines every month and we have to enter the updated data.

The team from STX Next was always four people: two developers, one tester, and a team master. All four projects had the same size team, and each project was finished within three months.

How did you come to work with STX Next?

I found them in a database of European developers. We wanted a larger team that could do big projects for us using dedicated teams. We felt that the smaller parties in Holland couldn’t cope, and they are usually working on your project along with lots of others. STX Next could guarantee us that we could get a team and have them working exclusively for us. This way, the project was finished in the time they estimated.

How much have you invested with STX Next?

I think we’ve spent about €250,000 [approximately US$264,187].

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in September 2015. The fourth project is still ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I don’t have specific data, but I have my opinion. They’ve delivered everything that they’ve promised. When you do a project with STX Next, you know that you will get your product and you’ll be able to use it when it’s done. It’s on time, on budget, it’s functional and it’s of a high quality. It’s correct and they deliver. Until now, everything is going this way. We know our project will be finished in three months and that’s very valuable for us. It’s quite predictable. They are a certainty in an insecure world.

How did STX Next perform from a project management standpoint?

We’ve always used Bugzilla and STX uses JIRA, but because we are communicating, I don’t think it’s a problem. We want to continue using Bugzilla and they’re fine with that. We’re flexible.

What did you find most impressive about STX Next?

The most important part about STX Next is that they deliver in terms of time, quality, functionality, and cost. Normally, you get two or three of these things—it’s rare to find a shop with reliable access to this kind of value. They just deliver. For me, that’s very impressive.

Are there any areas STX Next could improve?

Up until now, no. Okay, there’s one thing they don’t provide. After a system is in place, you tend to have small things that need to be changed. This isn’t in their contract. They’ll make the changes, but it’s out of their own goodwill, on their own time.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The first project was very cheap, and then they raised their rate. They’re not very cheap anymore, but they’re very good.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’m not very outgoing and my company is not very outgoing either, so that costs them the last half.