for fast moving product teams
Product teams are often hyper focused on an execution centric development cycle. We can work in parallel to help explore solutions without sidetracking your team.
Micro App Development
So you've got a powerful platform and can't cram all the functionality into your app. We can build a complimentary micro app to help your users with specific needs.
We generally like spending at least an hour kicking things off. In addition to introductions, this is a great way for us to demo the product, learn the space from the team and start the Q&A process. In some cases we'll start talking about ideas and solutions but the main goal is to learn.
We find that great ideas rarely reveal themselves during traditional brainstorming sessions. Instead, we prefer to let ideas come to us naturally in the days or weeks following the initial kickoff. When an idea sparks, we capture it and initiate a discussion with your team. Slack works wonderfully for this and is strongly recommended. We can also use email or other old fashioned communication tools if necessary.
Once we discover ideas that you'd like to explore, the prototyping phase begins. We'll schedule intense 3 hour sessions. The goal is to produce at least 1 functional prototype. In most cases, we're able to produce multiple variations.
Whenever we finish an iteration, we'll post it to Slack (or email) to get realtime feedback as we work. The idea is not to go off in some dungeon for a week and eventually reveal high res prototypes. We want to take advantage of your team's expertise and involve you in the process.
- Why prototype?keyboard_arrow_downIt is far too expensive to explore ideas using dev cycles that are optimized for stability, scalability and maintainability. An hour of prototyping has the potential to save weeks of engineering time.
- Shouldn't my product team be responsible for prototypes?keyboard_arrow_downIdeally yes. Unfortunately, teams are often either too focused on execution or a skill gap makes it impractical. We believe in a collaborative process that encourages your team to learn while be involved.
- Do you need access to our code base?keyboard_arrow_downNo. In fact, we strongly believe that prototyping in a dependency heavy environment goes against the spirit of building a tight feedback loop for rapid iteration. Our preferred environment is Codepen.io which is private, dependency free and sharable.
- How do you collaborate with our team?keyboard_arrow_downIdeally you invite us to a Slack channel everyone has access to. This gives us an environment to kick around ideas. When we do a prototyping session, we'll submit iterations in realtime and incorporate suggestions on the fly.
- What are typical deliverables?keyboard_arrow_downWe'll share a multiple variations of each prototype as private Codepen.io projects. These are intended to be shared internally and externally to get customer validation. We'll also share the thinking that goes into each design in realtime via Slack and as a bulleted summary.
- How do we turn successful prototypes into real features?keyboard_arrow_downIdeally your team is involved enough in the process for a smooth transition. If additional project management is required, we can help write stories and work with the design & engineering teams as needed.
- Do you work with existing ideas or require a blank slate?keyboard_arrow_downBoth. We don't pretend to have all the answers. The ideas you've already sketched out are a great starting point.
- How will you get up to speed in our industry?keyboard_arrow_down1) We'll rely on the expertise from your team by listening and asking questions. 2) If necessary we'll do research. If we do our own research, it will be minimal by design so we aren't to heavily influenced by existing solutions. Our goal is to discover new and hopefully better solutions, not reuse old solutions.
- What is a micro app?keyboard_arrow_downQuite often, companies build apps that solve a variety problems. For example, a CRM might be designed to handle many functions related to managing a group of contacts. But a micro app, is typically designs to be a solution to a single very specific problem.
- Why do I need a micro app?keyboard_arrow_downYour app could be a growth hack to generate leads. You could also generate revenue by extending the functionality of your platform or API.
- Will we be able to choose the tech stack?keyboard_arrow_downWe are open to minor suggestions but in order for us to quickly build and deploy your micro app, it is highly recommended that you let us use the technology we already know. As of now, we prefer a minimal implementation of Vue.js with Vuetify and Firebase hosting.
- Who hosts the app?keyboard_arrow_downWe intend to host and maintain the app. If you'd prefer to do your own ops, we'd be happy to hand off the code and assets.
- How much will you charge to host the app?keyboard_arrow_downWe use Firebase for hosting under the hood and automatically bill 10% more than they charge us.
- What about a database? Can I require users to signup for my micro app?keyboard_arrow_downAbsolutely! Micro apps don't have to be limited single page applications. You can collect signups, and seamlessly integrate with a wide variety of tools.
- Will our dev team be able to contribute?keyboard_arrow_downSure! The code base will be a private github repo with instructions to build a dev environment. Your developers would then be able to submit changes as a PR.
- How will the app be maintained?keyboard_arrow_downWe can make changes as needed. Ideally changes are planned in advance but we can make emergency changes if necessary.
After spending the last 15 years working as a product engineer, I've realized how important it is to prototype. It's almost impossible to figure everything out before implementation begins. This usually leads to teams being forced to invest expensive dev cycles to adapt to incorrect assumptions. I firmly believe teams should explore solutions and make mistakes in an environment where the cost of change is minimal. The difference can be hours of extra work versus weeks or in some cases, months.