Client background & business context

Partnering with the teamproved to be an excellent choice. Together with theteam,we managed to complete this enormous project. For this implementation, we were looking for an experienced development partner with previous .NET projects and a solid experience with Visual Studio and this was the right choice for us." -- Company’s Project Manager for Software Development

Client: worldwide producer and distributor of highly accurate laboratory instruments and process measuring systems, providing custom-tailored automation and robotic solutions 

Project: measuring device software reengineering  

Challenges

The company is one of the leading manufacturers of high-quality measuring and laboratory equipment for the Scientific and Research industry. Before the implementation, they had concerns such as: 

  • Lack of internal resources: the company opted for Accesa, a Microsoft partner company capable to offer end-to-end implementation services dur to our expertise, but also due to the lack of internal resources. Due to the project’s complexity, several were co-opted and collaborated to deliver this project. 
  • Deprecated interface: due to the technological advancements in the industry, the software’s interface no longer responded to the company’s users’ needs. 
  • A complex existing environment with various issues: over 220 requirement changes and more than 1000 errors. 
  • Availability concerns: the company was looking to enhance the availability via software reengineering and code refactoring. 

This project featured over 700 individual requirements, that had to be implemented in almost three years by teams from different countries. As part of this project, we allocated a remote team which integrated close to 300 requirement changes and fixed more than 1000 reported errors during the runtime. The rest was covered by the other service providers implied in the project. 

Our approach

For one the company’s physical measuring devices, the software in charge of the preparation, execution and evaluation of samples, no longer corresponded to the current technological needs. The end-goal of this project was to research, design and develop a modern software capable to address the users’ needs while allowing future integrations. 

To tackle the complexity of this project, we acted as an autonomous product team with an allocated product owner from the part of the company. This approach enabled us to react quickly to bottlenecks and to add any missing resources to the team when needed. The project started with an analysis period, during which we and the rest of the project team collected all the requirements and then structured them into actionable tasks and processes. Due to the project’s complexity, we started by using the Waterfall methodology, then moved to Scrum for enhanced operational efficiency. 

The company’s measuring instruments are modular with accessories tailor-made on customer requests. The modular design means that the instruments have different custom processors and firmware. Yet, the actual controls and evaluation of the measured data must still be carried out via the same software connected either via LAN (Ethernet) or USB. This meant that we needed to create a single custom software capable to cover the finite number of available customizations. Also, another feature that needed to be created was that of “remote control”, a function that enabled users to control the measuring devices from distance, thus allowing a higher computing power. 

As the existing application was in Standard C (that was about to become EOL), together with the rest of the allocated team we moved to C#. This enabled a reduction in the actual time required for additional changes and implementations. Using Microsoft Visual Studio, the project team created a modern and powerful application based on Microsoft WPF, .Net Framework and SQL Server. 

Technologies

  • .NET
  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Microsoft WPF
  • SQL Server
  • C#

Results

The interdisciplinary project team developed a modern and powerful software for the company’s physical measuring instruments. As part of the project, the project team ensured code refactoring for more than two million lines of source code, thus allowing enhanced stability and functionality. With clear targets and goals, the project team ensured 

  • A smooth project flow thanks to optimal project management 
  • Agile development with several distributed teams in Romania, Germany and other countries 
  • Future-ready, easily upgradeable application if required 
  • Higher customer satisfaction due to extensive evaluation options and attractive user interface 

"With a Preparation and 'post-processing' phase, preparation of documentation, training, packaging, etc. of a total duration of five years and about 30 persons involved, this is currently the largest software development project - Company’s Project Manager for Software Development, 

The result is a powerful software based on the Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and the .Net Framework. Since the application uses the Microsoft SQL Server as database, almost any queries and evaluations of the measured values are possible and can be executed very quickly. 

The platform’s look and feel were made to correspond to the Microsoft design principles, making it very convenient for users as most laboratory staff are very familiar with this interface. 

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