Whether it's an MVP or a Full-Fledged Product, our approach is always the same: work With our clients, not For our clients.
The key is that we always strive to offer more than just Software Development, but rather become one with our Client's Team and work alongside them to launch a Good Product.
If we don't believe in the Product, then how would we be able to fully commit to it?
Commitment is key, and it's always our approach to building Digital Products - we only give the best, for the best.
At First, There's An Idea
Our first interaction may be on either one of the channels we use for communication: email, phone and online platforms.
The discussion is centered around the idea, the Business that needs our Expertise to build a Product in the Digital World.
Whether it's a Marketing Website or a Complex Web Application, it's of utmost importance that we determine the best solution.
For instance, we have received a Brief to build a Product that would use NLP to match large sets of entries from CSV files with entries from an existing database.
The challenge was that the Client had a very limited budget and while the usage NLP was key to the Product, it would have taken up a large portion of the budget.
Instead, we moved to see if NLP was really necessary for the MVP Phase, and we were surprised to find that the usage would have been solved by simply using a Full Text Search Software, specifically Apache Solr.
This has resulted in a successful MVP, which is now live thanks to our ability to quickly understand the needs of the Product, and the perfect balance between Technical Requirements and Budget.
What was the process to reach the Technical Solution?
From the initial discussion we foresaw a lot of challenges in using NLP, the main one being the fact that we would have to build the Model ourselves, with limited datasets from our Client.
Given the Complexity of the Brief, we have allocated 1 week for the Discovery Phase, and in the process we have determined that:
matching entries that would work together was based on certain properties they had in common
whilst that still stood, it was not a priority, but rather being able to match entries that are referring to the same real-world item was more important
consequently, we would be able to replace NLP with Full Text Search, if the Client agreed to move matching based on properties to the Second Phase, which has happened due to budget constraints
Therefore, all we did was listen to our Client, understand their Financial Constraints and provided the Best Solution that has actually led to the launch of the MVP.
The Discovery & Design Phase
Discovery is the process of breaking down an idea, clarifying everything down to the smallest task possible, and then moving on to start the Software Development process.
In Discovery we take multiple steps to ensure the next Development Phases go very well:
Redact or Analyze the Specifications of the Project
Group the Specs into User Journeys
Create a Wireframe based on the User Journeys
Run through multiple iterations of adjustments of the Wireframe, as Specs are becoming clear
Finalize the User Journeys
Create the UI/UX Design
Create User Stories & Final Approval for the Scope with the Client
The process takes up to two weeks of working full time for the team comprised of: the Client, our Project Manager and our UI/UX Designer.
The deliverables at the end of this Phase are:
UI/UX Design, and other materials, such as Branding Guidelines
In the above image we're showing the materials we have Designed for ourselves, which consist on Branding Guidelines & UI/UX Design for our Website.
User Stories & Software Development Phase Planning
In the above image we're showing the first Sprint of a Product where we are currently in the Discovery Phase, having defined User Journeys and drafted the first User Stories, where we are currently finalizing Specs and defining the necessary allocation.
Why not just skip Discovery if I already have a Design?
Discovery is essential for building a good Product, without we would be working on a Project we do not understand.
If our Client already has a Design, we will use it to build the other components of the Discovery Phase, and make any adjustments we determine together as necessary.
What is expected of you, as a Client, for our Team to work with you?
We're expecting that you have enough time to commit to the project, during normal business hours, as your input is the only one we may rely on whenever there's a Spec that needs clarifying.
The amount of time you need to commit depends on the complexity of the project, but also the progress of each Phase. Discovery is the one that requires your attention on a daily basis, as it is key to future phases.
The key takeaway is that the Discovery Phase is the time we use to get to know each other and the Product we are going to build together.
The deliverables of this Phase are the UI/UX Design and the User Stories that will be used in the Software Development Phase.
This is just part one out of the three articles that we wish to write to give our readers an insight into our approach to Product Development.
In the next part we will be presenting the Software Development Phase, where we will talk about our internal Development and Project Management processes, leading up to the delivery of the Product.