To find the best way on how to proceed, we mix our knowhow, your industry’s traditions, your staff’s skills, time and budget constraints, dependencies, the general technical difficulty and the approximate size of the project together and work out a feasible way that works for both you and us.
Designing the product initially starts with other tasks than you might expect:
- Understand your company’s business model (value flows, KPI’s, core processes, USP)
- Understand your company’s traditions, culture and history.
Don’t worry, we are not going to waste your time and money with creativity process workshops like „Design Thinking“ but we might use some simple tricks like the Walt Disney method, but only if really needed and helpful, not just because of reasons.
We will transparently guide you through all what’s needed and build the project’s roadmap depending on:
- Skills & HR requirements
- Availability & Time
- Budget & Rates
Together with the roadmap you will also get rough cost & time estimates, the CV’s of all the people involved and a (rudimentary, small or huge) specification of the product’s features.
There are multiple reasons to build a small prototype before actually starting the real project.
- Technical: Sometimes it is needed to build a small prototype so we can get a feeling for the complexity before we can deliver you more precise estimates about time & costs. This is usually initiated during the project kickoff phase.
- Convince your boss: Working in a big company usually means that you have to convince more than just yourself of our skills and/or the project’s value. In that case we will build a marketing-effective prototype which demonstrates how cool that your project is what everybody is looking for.
For a fee of CHF 2500 we will start a small Hackathon. A team of one developer and one designer will try everything they can during a 12 hour period to make your demo perfect.
It’s important to note that code which has been produced during prototyping will not be used in the product.
Before the negotiated project management process kicks in, we will always build a very minimal viable product first (MVP). This helps everybody get onboard the engineering process and lays out the „central theme“.
What is an MVP? While a prototype is getting thrashed after demonstration, an MVP (minimum viable product) is the first version of your product and is the base for the future development. But it is so small that even if you’re actual project is a 12 month monster project, this version will be live after just 1 week of work time.
An MVP provides very early access to the product. This gives us the following advantages:
- Early feedback
- Laying out of the „central theme“
- No upfront, engineers don’t fall into the „overengineering hell“ and stay focused on the product.
Example of an MVP Project goal: Build a global corporate website for an insurance company with a self-service portal for customers. The self-service portal allows a client to book an appointment with an agent, see all his active contracts and conditions and allows to manage those contracts online (cancel, upgrade, change) with a special conditional workflow. Estimated time to finish: 3 months.
MVP the engineers build in the first week: One-page website that consists of a logo, a title, the company mission text, the legal address and a login form. After login the user gets redirected to another page where he can submit a form to book an appointment online and receives updates per e-mail. The web app just sends a pre-filled e-mail to the central inbox of all agents. At this point, almost everything is manual and very important features are missing but we have the first self-service portal we can build upon. This approach focuses the whole team on one feature instead of everybody getting lost in discussions about how to achieve a nice workflow.
With the confidence of the MVP deployed on a testing domain, the team can now move forward together.
When we build something, we will always be transparent about the money burn rate and will proactively tell you when we need to build a feature more lightweight or stop on implementing the super-cool animation at the top right of the 3rd page. That way we will 99% of the time stay in budget and deliver on promised features in a way it’s feasible with the time/money left. Of course you can always lift the budget.
You will never get offered a flat rate for projects from us if the amount of hours we deliver is not fixed at the same time. We think it’s highly unprofessional to shout out fixed rates even if you specify the scope on sub-atomar level. In no way we want to be incentivized to maximize our profit on the back of your software’s quality or feature set.
Modern Technologies: We currently trust in React.js, Node.js & Apollo GraphQL
Hosting by us:
- No vendor lock-in, you will get readme.md and deployment scripts to move the software to any other provider
- Docker containerized apps
- All servers in Switzerland @ exoscale.ch
We will backup all databases daily or weekly and provide 99.9% up time for your apps. This is a specialized service for our clients of software projects, we don’t host foreign docker containers on our servers which we don’t know to ensure maximum security.