Zaki Mirza’s Blog

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… About software and beyond!

Uraan vs Bentley ..?


I worked at Uraan Software Solutions in summer of 2006 as a Business analyst. Two days ago, CEO Uraan, Ali Naqi asked on my post on working at bentley about the comparison of expereince in working at the two companies. Specifically he asked:

How was working at Bentley different from working at Uraan? How do the two companies compare in:
a. Size
b. Teams
c. Hierarchy
d. Nature of projects
e. Project processes

Firstly, my experience with both has been inspiring and exciting. Uraan, being a not-so-infant-but-still-small-young-and-energetic-company was great to work at for mostly different reasons than at Bentley. I’d go point wise and then summerize.

Comparison by size and enviornment:

At the time i was at Uraan, fortunately or unfortunately uraan was going through renovations. Most of my time spent was at the ad-hoc office. I say it was a fortunate event because that brought me closer to rest of the employees as we were all sitting closer and were more accessible to each other. (I mean, in how many companies do you have your team leads, project managers, director and CEO sitting in the line of sight). Anyways, i say it was unfortunate because it was not really very pleasant. (wasnt unpleasant either, it was just something that had to be like that). There were about 25 people back then at Uraan and I got to know almost all of  them.

Bentley, on the other side is big. (I have a complete 6×6 cabin all to myself!). The office is situated at the Evacuee Trust building and they have divided it in two divisions. The testing division is on the second floor and the development division is on the third floor. (Trango is on second floor as well with the testing department). Nonetheless, people are accessible but not as much as in uraan.  I dont even know the exact figure, but the bentley office at islamabad has around 80+ employees. My introduction to a lot of them was because i come from the same institute as they came from: FAST. Yes, there are a lot of FAST graduates working at bentley. They are smart, helpful and fun to be with. So i didnt really have much problem settling in. But otherwise, there werent that many people i was interacting with. (Just the team lead Yasir-bin-qaser who happens to be a fast graduate as well, Group program manager Ather Nawaz and my neighbours:))

So overall id say the enviornment at Uraan that i experienced was much tighter than at Bentley. Bentley islamabad was originally Trivor Software Consultants. The CEO of Trivor is still working at this office, but i havnt had time to meet him yet. I got to know people at Uraan quicker than at bentley. The atmosphere and attitude of people is pretty much the same at both companies. People are generally nice and helpful. They are passionate about their work, company and technologies they are working in. One very important thing, its all about food! You get to interact with people more at lunches than on meetings. 🙂 thats my experience. For a while food at Uraan was free and everyone ate together. (till they started the renovations and we had to shift to an ad-hoc office). A lof of different topics were discussed, not neccessarily technology oriented and that showed how versatile people at Uraan are. Same goes for Bentley. Bentley has a great breakroom and food/snacks etc are nice and free. People like to eat together and that brings a lot of interaction.

(One thing id like to mention here is that even if I try not to, Id still have some kind of bias towards the  fact that I personally knew the CEO of Uraan:))

Comparison By teams and nature of projects:

This one is really difficult to answer. I didnt really have an indepth knowledge of all the teams and projects at Uraan and its even more vague for Bentley. Bentley Islamabad is working on products of Bentley (Since it has been an offshore development and testing office for Bentley). Uraan on the other hand is more project based. Bentley works on enginnering and CAD/CAM products where as the project base of Uraan is more towards b2b or b2c web-based application and a collaboration application. As ive said before, bentley is large so it has many different teams working on different products. Some products are very mature and complex and a lot of employees are from differnt disciplines of engineering (mechanical, civil, electrical etc).

I’d write about the comparison in processes if the nature of work was the same. So I’m with the point of view that its basically uncompariable. Uraan is autonomous, Bentley islamabad is not. Bentley is head-quatered at Walnut Creek. There are regular online meetings/conferences between the two offices at Bentley. The whole eco-system is different because of the nature of projects. For example, the product my team is working on is Bentley PlantSpace Design Series. Design Series is a sub-module of PlantSpace, which itself is built upon Microstation and has many other modules as well. Design-series itself includes many modules where are developed using MDL (Microstation development language) which is based on ANSI-C and has its own compiler/debugger. (which itself is properietry to Bentley). This puts me, as a developer on one of the features of a module in DesignSeries, very deep in the heirarchy of the people working on the product. The codebase is HUGE. The other product i touched at Bentley was Bentley Instrumentation and wiring. It was mostly written in Visual Basic 6 and has a lot to do with data management. The codebase again was huge and i was put only to document and understand certain modules.

At Uraan i was working on, for example, Artbox.com’s marketting flow. I was in contact with the clients, my team lead Faraz and Project Manager Ali himself. That was all there was to Artbox’s development at that stage which later included graphic designer, php developers etc. With lawresourceexchange.com’s design, i was intacting with my project manager and team lead Ahsan and  through him the client himself. So its really pretty difficult to compare the processes of the two enviornments.

If i compare the application development at Uraan with application development at bentley, from the birds eye view i see them pretty comparable, even similar. But these processes, i suppose, are followed by an application development team sooner or later anyway. The only difference is the scale of projects and the tools used, which pretty much do the same thing anyway.

Conclusion:

As i said before, the experience at both the companies has been inspiring and exiciting for different reasons. The different reasons are because of different nature of work. Uraan gave me an oppertunity to look into the processes involved in developing web-based business applications and direct interaction with client. The whole iterative process itself offered a lot to learn about the enviornment and the process. However at bentley, being a hardcore developer gave me an entirely different set of problems and processes. The problems are mostly logic and implementation related. Having to deal with a huge microstation API and getting settled with their tools quickly wa an initial challenge. Then finding the right optimal solutions gave some proper exercise to my brain cells 🙂 And then again, working on such a project where i can improvise and develop my problem solving skills is what i was looking for this summer. The algorithms, data structures and other issues involved have been really exciting. Ill conclude that there really is not much to look into the comparison of these two companies. As long as they have smart, passionate and intresting people with well defined processes, they are great to work at and I see a lot of potential in them.

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Filed under: general, software, ,

2 Responses

  1. naqi says:

    Interesting 🙂

  2. Mirza Ali Raza says:

    Please Help .I want to Microstation soft ware use & training. Please help.From Islamabad.Thankes.

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