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Packet Analyzer Platform Case Study

ENTERPRISE WEB APPLICATION

User-Friendly Interface and Data Visualization for Complex Network Engineering Logic

What did we do for this client?

  • Product workshops

    Product Workshop

  • MVP development

    MVP Development

  • Product Delivery

    Product Delivery Within
    Strict Deadlines

  • Redesign

    Interface Redesign

  • UX Analysis

    UX Analysis & Enhancement

  • Ruby on Rails, AngularJS, React

    Ruby on Rails and AngularJS/
    React.js App

Packet Analyzer Platform mockups

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This was one of the most demanding and satisfying projects we've ever worked on. For over two years, we've been collaborating with the client's in-house team, eventually delivering a complex UI while handling its implementation and ensuring its proper performance.

 

Challenge

The Packet Analyzer Platform is a Web application used by networking engineers for monitoring and troubleshooting purposes.

As the client's team is focused primarily on core logic engine implementation, the challenge for Monterail was building a solid frontend along with a UX/UI to present data in an accessible way. This Packet Analyzer Platform project was entirely different from anything we've worked on before and it required us to explore a range of security - and privacy - related matters that we've never dealt with prior to this project. Due to the client's requirements and specific business model, we had to abandon our typical workflow as each release of the product would be separated by a 6-9 month window. Key challenges of the project included:

  1. Collaborating with the client's in-house team responsible for API implementation.
  2. Formalizing difficult problems and getting deep into the higly complex internal logic of network engineering.
  3. Rethinking our understanding of Agile development to deliver on a tight deadline.
  4. Building a user-friendly interface and visualizing data in an accessible way.

 

The process

At the outset, the most important part of the project was the UX strategy and design. We started our efforts with researching ways in which engineers could monitor network performance without diving into a sea of complex data. The whole process was supposed to be fast and easy. The team working on the first release consisted of one designer and three developers - since then it's grown to fifteen people, the expansion intended to speed up the process and facilitate collaboration with the client's network and software engineering staff.

As of today, we've released three versions of the application. Every iteration included workshops, architecture enhancements and design, and a lot of testing. The product is not available on the Web and has to be deployed locally for each client, so there is no option for releasing updates whenever they're available. We have just one shot and we need to make it work. This is how we make it happen:

  1. We keep our commitment to the release date no matter what.
  2. To deliver under tight deadlines, we use Agile methodologies to approach business needs and manage requirements.
  3. We conduct numerous on-site meetings at the Monterail and client offices.
Darya Stepanyan

The best thing (and the hardest!) is that the ever-growing scale and complexity of the project always forces us to find new technologies, processes and solutions (many of which we later apply company-wide). As a team we've seen some ups and downs, but it was NEVER boring.

Darya Stepanyan

Project Manager

The outcome

After a period of collaboration spanning over two years, we delivered a working version of the Web application that our client now sells to companies across the globe. The Packet Analyzer, a part of a complex network analysis solution, includes both hardware and software components. When connected to the network, the hardware components send information to the software. Then, the app presents the collected data to end users in a highly accessible way.

Having a ready-to-sell product that was already in use by the financial market, we started to think about further development. We've drafted a development plan for one year into the future and filled it with lots of great ideas for upcoming releases. The success of this project hinged on the following factors:

  1. Commitment to learning about and understanding the complex engineering problems encountered by users of the Packet Analyzer Platform.

  2. Improved usability and data visualization methods.

  3. A solid team of fifteen people working towards accomplishing one common goal.

NUMBERS

7 400

commits and counting


15

team members involved


291

packages
released and counting


7

on-site meetings at Monterail
and client offices

Packet Analyzer Platform web app mockups

Monterail continued to dig in, ask questions and do what a good consultancy is supposed to do - namely, dig deep into the client's needs. As a consequence of this, we're getting a better product.

Development Director, Packet Analyzer Platform

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