60 smart coders just joined your startup...

u2i is a web technology consulting company with an innovative approach to both its clients and its employees. Founded in NYC in 2000, we went on a quest to find the best engineers out there. Ones that could develop not only great code, but also long term strategies and close, lasting relationships with our clients.

As a result, in 2005, we set up our second, and now main, base of operations in Krakow, Poland.

Even though most of us come from a strong technological background, our focus is always on building great products and high performing product development teams. We carefully choose the initiatives we engage in and we love to cooperate with and support projects which are driven by spark and passion. We're not the guys to call to build out your finished spec, we want to hear from you when you have a great idea!

 

 
$10,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
2000
Show all +
Red Hook, NY
headquarters
  • u2i
    78 Fraleigh St
    Red Hook, NY 12571
    United States
other locations
  • u2i
    Przemysłowa 12A/200
    Kraków, ML 30-701
    Poland

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Citymart

Kinvolved

LittleBird HR

Onward Advisors

Consumer Reports

reciProfity

Reviews

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Web App Development for Media Company

“The whole team is incredibly earnest, hardworking, smart, and creative.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Nov. 2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

u2i collaborates with an in-house team to develop new iterations of a social media analytics app each year, basing the design on wireframes. They build the product using Ruby on Rails, Hive, and Hadoop.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
New York, New York
President & Technical Director, Media Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Using a seamless and adaptive Agile workflow, u2i rapidly develops secure, high caliber deliverables. Each new version of the product features notable improvements that account for customer feedback. The team is not only technically proficient but also pleasant and effortless to work with.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Respondent 1: I lead the social business unit for a media company and am based in New York. We provide a social media product to the media industry.

Respondent 2: I lead our social technology teams and I am based out of Chicago.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with u2i?

R1: Our challenge is to continually add value to our best of breed SaaS product in a highly competitive environment that has rapid change. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

R2: u2i is involved in the entire software development lifecycle, essentially. Their participation extends from requirements and analysis, which one of their architects leads, through the development and business-as-usual support. We follow a very Agile and collaborative process.

They work closely with our product teams who provide the wireframes and some high-level requirements. From there, it's really an ongoing collaboration to get to the design stage and the actual implementation. Our product is a web application that's primarily a dashboard tool. Specific technologies they used included Ruby on Rails, Apache Hive, and Hadoop.

What is the team composition? 

R1: The relationship started very small but has grown over the years. We used to work with just two developers but have scaled up to a team of 20+ as our business, and the demand for our applications has grown.

How did you come to work with u2i?

R1: I was brought in as a product development consultant into another media company to audit their product development talent and process where u2i was their outsourced development resource. It was very apparent that u2i's were a bright spot in their operations. I started working with them on a start up a year later in 2008 that was subsequently acquired a few years later.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

R1: The proof of u2i's success in building a useful application is evident in our revenue growth. We've been getting more and more customers and have enjoyed solid success renewing our existing users. With u2i building our product, we have added large-scale improvements year after year since we first launched.

Change occurs at a rapid pace in this space, and u2i helps us stay competitive with smaller and more nimble startups. As our development partner, they empower us to build stable, functional deliverables correctly and on time. They've successfully executed the product plans that address our customers' demands.

How did u2i perform from a project management standpoint?

R2: Overall, u2i is very efficient. They don't follow the most traditional project management style like the waterfall method. Instead, they tend to be more Agile and iterative. They're better suited to that type a fluid and flexible life cycle. We use video conferencing and Slack to communicate and usually meet in person 1-2 times a year.

What did you find most impressive about them?

R1: u2i is a fantastic group of people. They're thoughtful, serious, and professional about their work. At the same time, their flexibility and sensibility make it really enjoyable for us to work together. The whole team is incredibly hardworking, smart, and creative. It's rare to find a group of over 20 people who are all not only talented but also fun to work with. The sound relationship we’ve formed is a key ingredient to the quality of products we've built together.

R2: Their developers are highly skilled. u2i is very selective about who they are, which is reflected in our day-to-day interactions. In the past five years, I haven’t come across a single resource that hasn’t either met or exceeded my expectations for software development abilities.

Are there any areas they could improve?

R2: Due to their model of working, scaling is a bit of a challenge for u2i. Their strategy is to prioritize certain types of quality and culture over growing their company. Being a niche player rather than a typical large consultancy might be a conscious decision on their part. This does create some challenges if we have critical needs to scale on a concise timeline. This is their strategy, though, and I don't know if it's necessarily an area for improvement.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    R2: It's not like we never missed a deadline. R1: A five is impossible.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    R2: They are at a higher rate but produce reliable work. We pay our resources in Poland less, but there's a trade-off in quality.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    R2: It’s as high as possible in my opinion. R1: I concur.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Software Development for HR company

u2i’s expert developers have a substantial technical knowledge base about new products, apps, and technology.

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Mar. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Using Ruby on Rails in a Bootstrap framework, u2i programmed a digital HR and onboarding software program. The cloud-hosted database uses Amazon Web Services. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York City, New York
Noah Barnes
COO, Little Bird HR
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

All developers at u2i are in the top 5% of industry talent. The team built an automated system that improves hiring, staff support, and administrative process workflows for K-12 school employees.  With 2,000 users, positive feedback, and an average 8.7 rating, the software is a great deliverable.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Little Bird HR is a digital platform that’s tailor-made for staff in K–12 schools. We’re a professional organization that offers worksite employees benefits and HR support.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with u2i?

We hired u2i to code and develop our HR technology system called Little Bird Nest.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

u2i built our human resources information system (HRIS). This platform automates the entire onboarding process. It connects users with our payroll and benefits administration tool. Our whole infrastructure is software-based.

Developers coded the software using Ruby on Rails with the Bootstrap framework. The cloud infrastructure database is built on Amazon Web Services (AWS). They’ve completed numerous feature sets and planned a roadmap for 4–5 additional major upgrades. The product is live and is currently in version 2.0.

What is the team composition?

We work with three developers and a scrum master from u2i. We can scale the team up or down based on our cashflow.

How did you come to work with u2i?

I heard about the team through a referral.

How much have you invested with them?

Their work has cost around $700,000 so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with u2i in March 2016. The project is ongoing. We might scale development down a bit, but we're unlikely to stop it completely.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

About 2,000 school employees are currently using our software, and we’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from clients. They’ve definitely loved the different iterations of our product and are always giving us new and different stories to work through.

Using our system to manage teacher-specific administrative functions helps schools function more efficiently. We conduct a survey at the end of a client’s onboarding process to ask how they like Little Bird Nest. The average rating is 8.7 out of 10 at the moment, which is fairly good. We haven’t experienced any major crashes or bugs stemming from their work.

How did u2i perform from a project management standpoint?

U2i uses the Scrum methodology for projects. We hold daily calls at 8 a.m. between u2i’s Polish team, myself, and our internal product manager. We have a larger meeting twice a week to discuss our backlog and functional needs.

We’ve run through internal process iterations to simplify things. After initially using Pivotal Tracker, we transitioned to the Kanban project tracking framework. This tool has worked very well. The team carefully tracks progress and sends regular updates to keep us informed.

What did you find most impressive about them?

u2i’s expert developers have a substantial technical knowledge base about products, applications, and new technologies.  The company hires the top 5% of the development talent in their market. Their profit structure gives each resource equity which motivates them to take ownership of their work product and put in the best effort possible.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Our products require substantial support to run smoothly. They do a good job providing support but could benefit from making this concern a higher priority.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

Clients need to be involved in the team selection. Meeting the developers will help you make sure that the right resources are working on your project. Try to learn about the process of writing user stories, and make sure your team is capable of handling this piece.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They do a good job of adhering to our schedule.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The costs have run up a bit at times, but this is probably my fault. We always want more work done.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’m definitely willing to refer them to friends and colleagues.

Multiple Web Dev Projects for Children's Publisher

“We haven’t found anyone else like them. They are the best external team I’ve ever worked with.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
2008 - Jan. 2017
Project summary: 

For nearly a decade, u2i was the primary web developer for a book publisher. They used Ruby on Rails for new builds, maintained PHP sites, integrated API features, and customized flexible CMS.

The Reviewer
 
5,0001 - 10,000 Employees
 
New York, New York
Digital Product Director, Children's Publisher
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The community of users has grown and is active on message boards u2i built from scratch. They helped adopt a successful agile process and each manager also acted as a developer on each project. They set a high standard for any other vendor.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the digital product director at a large children’s publisher. Primarily, we create content for kids, including a variety of books and digital products. I work on our websites and game apps.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with u2i?

A different firm built an older version of our site, but we weren’t happy with their prices or what they were able to produce. We wanted a team to take control, salvage the old site, and get us on a path toward a better future.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

For years, they were our primary web developer for our kids’ websites. They used Ruby on Rails and maintained our original PHP sites. They customized an incredibly powerful and flexible CMS for each, which was the most important part of what they did for us. The customizations helped us integrate a lot of features into the API and easily connect user data in variety of places. At the push of a button, we could have the exact features we needed. They also helped choose the right commercial and custom tools for our projects.

They did DevOps for some of our games and a lot of other useful systems. Everything they built was responsive to our needs and expandable. We have a different team who does lower-cost maintenance for us now. u2i found that team and oversaw the transition, but we do miss their skills.

What is the team composition?

Over the years we worked with them, the team expanded or contracted to suit our needs. The team had anywhere between one and seven members, depending on the task at hand.

How did you come to work with u2i?

I wasn’t responsible for onboarding them. I believe another member of our team found them through a personal connection.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent over $1 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

The relationship started in 2008 and ended around January 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We built a community of hundreds of thousands of users who post over 10,000 times each month to the message boards u2i built from scratch. Our marketing team was delighted with their flexibility and how quickly they could make changes and additions.

For a small investment, we built something that allowed them to achieve really great things. They made everything much more responsive and reactive.

How did u2i perform from a project management standpoint?

They helped us adopt an extremely successful agile process for both coding and project management. Anyone who acted as a project manager was also a developer, which helped keep things moving. They’re all incredibly talented programmers. We could contact them through Trello and Skype and they were willing to use the tools that worked best for us.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They are a perfect combination of easy-going and competent. They are incredibly organized and we haven’t found anyone else like them. They are the best external team I’ve ever worked with. Without reservation, I recommend them to anyone who needs their services.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I don’t think so. We’ve never worked with a team that had their level of flexibility. We measure all our other vendors against them.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Give them the opportunity to help find the solutions you need. Trust their experience, knowledge, and expertise. They can implement your existing ideas, but they’re really talented problem solvers. Honor their creativity and intelligence and use the full toolset they offer. They will respect your needs and help you accomplish your goals.

5.0
Overall Score They’re the best vendor we’ve worked with.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve recommended them.

Software Dev for Municipal Government Clients

“We value their qualified and trustworthy opinions. They calibrated our project to maximize a sustainable ROI.”

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

u2i facilitated a startup’s transition from human services to product services. Developers designed UX/UI and feature options. The web app is built on an SQL database and coded in JavaScript and Node.js.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
New York, New York
Sascha Haselmayer
CEO, Citymart
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Development efforts yielded a functional, elegantly designed collaboration solution. The deliverable is uniquely user-friendly and efficient compared to standard government-focused products. The team offered transparency, reliability, and skillful management and engineering services.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the founder and CEO of Citymart. Our company provides SAAS services to domestic and international municipal governments.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with u2i?

At the start of 2016, we decided to transition from human services to product-based services. Our digital product aimed to address the user and market needs we’d been serving offline. Since we didn't have an internal tech team, we needed a vendor to develop this software from scratch.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Our internal team designed the original concept. We used customer interviews to assess potential iterations. u2i designed and developed the entire architecture from scratch. They continuously help us prioritize feature development and advise us on architecture choices.

The team formulated the original platform's feature set and UX/UI. Once we were on the right track, they planned an ideal development strategy. They helped us navigate the unique challenges of launching a company.

Municipal governments can use our platform as a web app to design and deliver better public service projects. Our product is a single server built on an SQL database with a conventional three-tiered architecture. There’s a single API in the browser-based client application. The server code is written in JavaScript and Node.js.

The team’s agile thinking helped us solicit useful feedback at an early stage. Our investors conducted due diligence for QA purposes. Getting users in the system within three months was a critical milestone. We formally launched the software in May 2017 with a limited group of pilot clients. The official announcement came out by that October. The ongoing development aims to consistently improve the product. u2i skillfully leverages our existing assets to create new features that validate our business needs.

What is the team composition?

We’ve built a strong relationship with their developers, project management, and leadership. The CEO is conveniently located nearby in New York. On average, three developers from u2i were dedicated to our project. There were minor fluctuations as the pace increased. At one point, we scaled up to five resources. We integrated their developers into our internal data science team.

How did you come to work with u2i?

Our head of product was referred to u2i. They’ve worked with several startups during periods of rapid expansion. This experience uniquely qualified them for our project requirements.

How much have you invested with them?

We've spent about $250,000 on their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in September 2016 and have a substantial volume of ongoing tasks.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The quality of their deliverables has been excellent. Our product works well as a collaboration tool. The architecture, coding, design, and use cases are all high-quality. Public procurement is a heavily bureaucratic process. Our government clients usually work with antiquated legacy systems and are rarely exposed to SAAS technology. They’ve indicated that our product is beautifully designed and delightful to use. Just last weekend at SXSW, the U.S. Conference of Mayors held a competition for new government technology solutions. We won the second-place prize.

u2i’s invaluable strategic input accounts for the entire scope and potential impact. Their work has been integral to our success. We value their qualified and trustworthy opinions. They calibrated our project to maximize ROI. During our budget consideration process, they showed a vested interest in cultivating sustainable growth. They’re consistently reliable in the face of difficulty and never try to upsell their services.

How did u2i perform from a project management standpoint?

Since the team is permanent, it was critical to foster a strong, functional partnership. u2i advised our team on best practices for regular stand-ups, information flow, communication tools, and channels. It's been a deeply collaborative effort with upfront communication. They carefully planned and organized each task. Proactively flagging errors helps them promptly detect lags in pace. Engineers spot issues even outside their designated roles.

A unique level of internal transparency preempts unexpected circumstances. They encourage resources to voice questions or concerns. A high staff retention rate preempts continual onboarding expenses. They're our first contractor to conduct annual reviews with the CEO. The whole team excels at dynamic collaboration. After thoughtfully considering our feedback, they deftly implement our requests.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We've used a variety of contractors for different types of services. u2i’s willingness to think beyond the next six-month invoice sets them apart. Their intentionally limited clientele makes for a stronger relationship than I ever expected. The team maintains an outstanding, long-term perspective. Unwavering consistency is one of their strongest attributes.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Cultivate trust within your relationship. Sharing both your technology and business strategy will maximize their consultation value. When comparing them to other vendors, consider the strategic value of a partner who works more like a co-founder than a contractor in their depth of engagement. They have substantial value to offer. We didn't need to dedicate as many internal resources as anticipated. They excel in project management and care about client success.

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

Ruby on Rails Dev for PEO Advisors

“Building the technology has been that much more enjoyable because I like the people I’m working with.”

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

u2i has employed Ruby on Rails in development of a digital platform that will streamline an analyzation process for PEO advisors. Plans for leveraging their design services are now in the works.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Greater New York Area
Partner, Human Resources Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

u2i’s contributions have become pivotal to increasing overall efficiency. Communicative project management, a willingness to accommodate requests, and technological adeptness have helped establish the confidence to further increase their involvement.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We guide our clients through a streamlined process, including a full-scale financial analysis, for evaluating and choosing the best PEO option

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with u2i?

The analysis we do on behalf of our prospects is very tedious and time-consuming, so we started working with u2i to build a technology that will make this process easier and more efficient.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We gave them a general outline of what we were looking for in hope that they could provide insight to ensure the new output was as clean as the original.  The idea was to replicate our current process, that uses multiple Windows-based products, through a streamlined digital platform.

I believe they’ve used Ruby on Rails, but I’m not sure. There are more parts to our process that we plan on using them for because we think they’ll have a positive impact in terms of making our workflow more efficient. It’s become apparent that they have what it takes to leverage technology in a way that will have the same positive effect on the rest of our business.

What is the team composition?

We have one coder who we interact with on a regular basis that is lead on the project.  We’ve also engaged with other team members who offer different areas of expertise (e.g. design), as well as two or three others who have helped out when needed. 

How did you come to work with u2i?

They came referred to us through a business relationship.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent roughly $30,000.

What is the status of the engagement?

They mostly provide development services right now, but I anticipate involving them in the design once we’re finished. We want to get everything built to our liking and look at the actual design work first. I have no doubt that they have the capability to deliver.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I couldn’t be happier. What they’ve been able to achieve in the time we’ve worked together has blown me away. It’s a game changer.

How did u2i perform from a project management standpoint?

Their project management is fantastic. They utilize some tools that were originally unfamiliar to me, but we’ve since started using them and they’ve worked very well. We use Slack and Kanban for most of our communication. We also have video chats once or twice a week.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re great to work with and very responsive. They’re fun and personable, as well as very good at what they do. Building the technology has been that much more enjoyable because I like the people I’m working with. They’re in Poland, but the time difference hasn’t been a problem. The communication (both verbal and written) is superb. Their quality of work is top-notch and they’re happy to accommodate changes and are eager to please.  It’s been a wonderful experience overall. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

The engagement has been everything I’d hoped it would be and more.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

You should just give them a chance. There are a lot of choices out there, but in terms of overall spend and quality of work, you can’t do better than u2i. You could probably get someone to do it for less, but you’re going to be giving up a lot. Similarly, you could do it with someone a bit closer proximity-wise, but you’ll end up spending a lot more. You just can’t get better value for the price. Also, if you think it’s going to take three months, you should probably plan on six. That’s probably a smart way to approach just about anything that you’re doing in life, but especially with technology.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    There have been revisions and things of that nature, but that’s more on me than them. I couldn’t be happier and they haven’t missed any deadlines.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

App Dev, Data Security & Platform Management

"[I]t has really evolved into a more organic, collaborative, and symbiotic relationship."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Dec. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

u2i developed and currently maintains a software solution, handling both the frontend and backend of a mobile and web app, while providing direct access to engineers and an overall scalable team.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York, New York
Alex Meis
Co-Founder, Kinvolved
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The app’s success is in part due to u2i’s involvement; it has grown significantly over two years. The team’s flexibility and willingness to do an initial project for free in order to build trust really minted the relationship. However, scheduling can be an issue due to the time zone difference.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the co-founder and chief product officer of Kinvolved. We’re a startup focused on elevating K-12 student attendance by way of family engagement. I work with developers every day in technical management and roadmap development. I also work with our internal team on rolling out the software to our clients, while managing our customer success team and customer questions as well.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with u2i?

Hiring an internal engineering team is really expensive, along with the vetting of the engineers and the technical challenges. I’ve also advised teams that aren’t technical themselves but are building tech products that outsourcing is a suitable option to build out your early years of software.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

u2i maintains our full software, handling both the frontend and backend of our mobile and a web app. We’re very analytics heavy and report oriented, and work in a highly regulated industry in education technology of K-12 students. There’s been an eye towards maintaining security and data privacy with analytics and communication oriented companies. u2i has done a lot of work in the routing of communications and attendance data.

What is the team dynamic?

I work directly with the engineers and the team from u2i. We have about four engineers, and the team is able to scale up and down depending on our needs, all within reasonable notice to Tom, their CEO, and his COO. We had a frontend specialist work with us for a few weeks just to get more UI/UX [user interface/user experience] features out the door. At the same time, if we needed more DevOps support, it was easy to get a specialist on board.

How did you come to work with u2i?

Our relationship has changed over time. They started working with us through a referral. One of my advisor’s mentors suggested that I reach out to them for technical support because he saw that we were spending all of our revenue towards hiring engineers. As an early stage startup, it’s hard to build a business, especially in technology. So to save capital and to test the minimum viable product, he suggested I talk to Tom to see how they could help us.

Now, it has really evolved into a more organic, collaborative, and symbiotic relationship. I have no idea how we do it given that they’re in Poland and I’m in New York City. I looked into contractors locally and at hiring engineers. While u2i is not the cheapest outsourcing firm that I’ve come across, it’s certainly more affordable than having local in-house developers.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in December 2015 and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They’ve been a really effective and collaborative outsourcing agency and are critical to our success. They’ve helped us scale our software significantly in the past two years. I’ve worked with other outsourced agencies before, and from those experiences, I was definitely really jaded in my opinion about outsourcing developers.

I’ve only worked with one other good development firm in my career. u2i definitely stands out over the other development firms and they’re really fair and flexible regarding billing. I’ve worked with firms in the past that are literally to the hour and to the dollar, and take advantage of the clients in terms of estimates for future work. u2i is the opposite and it doesn’t even feel like they’re an outsourced team. They feel like they’re my engineers, the only difference being the distance.

How did u2i perform from a project management standpoint?

It was a bit of challenge with our former scrum master; she wasn’t the most organized person, but in terms of technical product management, she’s really a detail-oriented person that understands development. I addressed our struggle with Tom, and now we have a new project scrum master that has been a lot better.

For anyone looking for a development firm, it’s important to really understand who is going to be the on-site project manager for your software and have references for them. It’s essential to have someone that is very detail oriented and organized. We’ve worked together to make sure we’re on time for deadlines, so that’s never been a problem, and they’re also very communicative if there is a challenge.

Sometimes, scheduling is a complication due to time zone differences and different holidays between the two companies. I’ve had to learn how to be flexible and plan our future priorities more strategically.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Overall, I’m really satisfied with them. I take the referral process really seriously, and I’ve recommended them to colleagues and friends. I know how hard it is to find a good outsourced firm.

Early in 2012, we worked with another outsourcing firm that was pretty horrific, so I was very hesitant to work with another one. Tom, however, had an engineer come over to the U.S. with him to really understand our business needs. I spent a few days with them talking about our concerns, our problems areas, where we see the business going, and its technical needs.

Then, Tom had their team work on a technically complicated project free of charge. We started to build trust during that initial project, and from there, I had two engineers that I would pay on a monthly contract that we could cancel at any time. Tom and his team were really flexible about that, which made me comfortable that if this relationship didn’t work out, it was not the end of the world and there were no contractual obligations.

Are there any areas they could improve?

The general nature of the time zone difference is challenging and holiday scheduling is really hard as well.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have recommended them to friends and colleagues.

Cloud Migration for Food Software Platform

"[T]hey’re an Agile programming shop. They get it, know what it means, and deploy it very nicely."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
3.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Aug. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Upon the failure of another vendor, u2i migrated an outmoded dekstop-based application to the cloud using Agile programming methods. Post-launch, they continue to code and implement updates and bug fixes.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Greater New York City Area
CEO, At-Your-Service Software
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

u2i’s battle-tested Agile processes engender trust and stability. Following those procedures to the letter can delay progress at times, but their programming skill and commitment to collaboration usually end up carrying the day, and to date, have helped the new software win positive reviews.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

At-Your-Service Software markets, sells, and designs software for the foodservice industry, including restaurants, caterers, corporate feeders, and food stores. Anybody involved in recipes and food costing are potential users of our software.

It’s an inventory food-costing system that doesn’t include a full suite of what a restaurant might use (i.e. no accounting or point-of-sale), so it’s a niche piece of software.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with u2i?

We were migrating from a desktop app to the cloud and needed a brand-new company to work with. Our previous software was Windows-based—and 25 years old.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

u2i went through our existing desktop app and decided which frameworks to use to help us reach our goal. They understood the types of devices we wanted to be on and started coding the application based on the specifications we gave them.

We did engage a UI consultant to help us with the interface, so it hasn’t been all u2i.

What is the team dynamic?

There are roughly three programmers, a Scrum master who is part-time, and sometimes Tom [President, u2i] gets involved. He was part of the early meetings and has been called in a couple of times to help with questions when things get tricky.

How did you come to work with u2i?

We used another provider before u2i, and the project failed miserably. 

We talked to a couple of companies after that, including u2i. We liked everything we saw from u2i. The other companies weren’t anywhere near where they were in terms of skills and qualifications. We’re a small company and didn’t need much time to make the decision.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent between $100,000 and $200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working them in August 2016, and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We’ve released the product, and with Agile development, we can continue to release updates. Our goal was to come out with something we could sell as early as possible so we could get some money and feedback.

Since it’s just been released, we don’t have any metrics. We’ve gone through beta testing and have some users through that. The feedback has been positive.

How did u2i perform from a project management standpoint?

Their processes are well-honed and well-defined. We have daily meetings with them on the phone. There’s a Scrum master who makes sure everyone is on the same page and jumps in when he has to. The level of management, the skill level of their team, and the fact that they all buy into it really helps. We’ve learned to trust the team and engage in that process as well.

When they introduced a new person, he integrated smoothly into the process and ran by the same rules. They get it, know what it means, and deploy it very nicely.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They are very thorough in their communication. The toolkits they use to manage the product are sophisticated, and they deploy them very well. There’s no language barrier, which we had with the previous vendor. The president is a down-to-earth guy, which was not the case with the previous company.

They don’t get defensive if there’s a problem. They admit it or tell you what happened, and we talk about it. It’s a mature discussion. They are clearly trained in the process—not just programming languages. There’s feedback and they find solutions to problems. That makes it easier because everyone works as a team and by the rules. We’ve adapted to their rules because we were used to desktop software, and this is different.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There were a few things we’ve had differences about. Sometimes, the process is too procedural. It can slow things down when we’ve just had to get something done. There’s been times I’ve had to insist that they be a little bit to be more flexible.

Once in a while, they make minor mistakes, and we have to look at the process. Overall, however, there have been no problems with the company.

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