How to Choose the Right Software Development Firm

How to Choose the Right Software Development Firm

Thousands of companies have adopted enterprise mobile apps during a time when they were becoming popular and they wanted to “check the box” that they had an app. While most companies understand the benefits of mobile technology, unfortunately, some have failed to exercise due diligence when developing their app and selecting the proper vendor for their project. There are many great mobile development firms out there, but making sure you have a good fit for a particular project is the most important factor to consider when selecting a vendor. Let’s go through the checklist of items that should be considered any time your organization wants to develop an enterprise app.

1. Does the developer have previous experience with similar projects?

This is an important question to ask because the quality and agility of the project will be significantly better if the mobile dev team has completed a similar project before. For example, if you’re in the banking industry, look for a firm that has made banking apps before. They may have made other great apps for other industries, but that doesn’t always translate into a successful project in yours.

2. Does the vendor have a dedicated UI/UX team?

If the answer is no, immediately disqualify that vendor. Huge mistake companies have made was neglecting the end-user experience. The “it doesn’t matter if it looks that great because they have to use it anyway” line of thinking is counterintuitive with the premise of increasing employee work performance and satisfaction. A dedicated and experienced UI/UX team will make sure the app is intuitive. After all, a user interface is like a jokeif you have to explain it, then it’s not very good

3. Look at customer reviews.

Most mobile agencies, if they have been in the industry long enough, will have customer reviews. These can be found on sites like Clutch and GoodFirms and can provide great insight into how successful similar projects were and how easy it is to work with their team.

4. Get to know the team.

When selecting the right firm, get to know the team that will be assigned to your project. Typically a team will consist of a couple developers, a designer, and a project manager. It’s important to get to know these people to determine how easy it will be to work with them, and also to decipher if they are qualified to take on your project.

5. Look for someone who is concerned with the overall objective, not just the app.

Mobile agencies need to understand the “big picture” that the client wants to accomplish. Some developers may get caught up with the app development and making it really “sweet,” which is good, but clients don’t care about how cool the app is if it doesn’t address the business objectives it is supposed to help accomplish.

6. Don’t get hung up on price.

The saying that “you get what you pay for” has never been truer than in the mobile dev industry. A huge mistake that a lot of companies have made was selecting vendors who proposed the lowest prices. More often than not, those apps did not perform as desired and business goals were never realized. Make sure the mobile agency you select fits all the other criteria, and then discuss pricing.

7. Ask for a demo.

Even if the app is custom, always ask for a demo of an existing app that is similar to the project you want to be completed. This is the easiest way to determine the quality of the apps that could be developed for your company.

8. Ask a lot of questions.

This seems like a no-brainer, but failing to ask lots of questions was a common mistake made by companies that paid for apps during the initial mobile app frenzy. In an effort to save money by going with the cheapest vendor, these companies instead wasted money on apps that didn’t meet their needs. In the long run, they spent more on app development than they would have had they chosen the best agency for the job instead of the cheapest. Bring in all the internal stakeholders and come up with a list of questions to ask the vendor to make sure no details are left out, which could be detrimental to the project down the line.

9. Do they know your industry?

Mobile agencies that understand your industry and business are invaluable. Instead of just taking orders and accepting the requirements, look for a firm that can challenge your own ideas and provide insight that you may not have thought of before. If they are experienced, they should know plenty about how certain apps work within your business and be able to provide best practices for the project.

In conclusion, after taking everything on this list into consideration, you should be able to narrow down the mobile development firm that is right for your project. Even if your company has had a bad experience in the past, following these guidelines should help you avoid wasting money on an app that in the end does nothing to push the objectives of your business.

Ready to get to know the Shockoe team? Reach out to us and see if we’re a good fit for your next app development project. 

App Microtransactions: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

App Microtransactions: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

microtransactions-in-app-purchaseThe concept of app microtransactions is not foreign to consumers of mobile technology in the modern app market. Apps that include or require consumers to submit payment for additional features or add-ons have become the norm. This business model has grown organically as a result of users having a hard time deciding whether or not they should spend their hard-earned money on an app. By making an app free and offering the user the choice to pay for additional features as needed, the barrier to entry for new users to download and use an app has been greatly reduced. This model has its benefits, its downfalls, and its unsightly impact on consumers’ wallets.

 

The Good  

Developers have immensely benefitted from microtransactions. Developers can more easily test the waters of the market with their apps. Instead of overcoming the hurdle of figuring out whether or not their app is a good idea in the first place, they can create a slimmed-down version of it and release it as a free product. After it has been on the market as a free app for some time, developers can access the potential for the app to have continued success. If the app proves to be working, then they can take the time to implement the rest of the features and release those features at a cost to the current user base in a new update through a microtransaction.

Microtransactions have been most successful in the game app market. Games have an advantage over value product apps in that games are inherently more addictive and entice the user to want to win. Developers have a big opportunity here to add “pay to win” add-ons to help their users win by giving them in-game boosts. These boosts usually come at a small cost for small boosts, and can cost upwards of $100 for larger boost packs. This gives developers the opportunity to make more money than they would with the typical $1.99 to $9.99 price tag of most paid apps on the market.

 

The Bad

While this model benefits developers, it negatively impacts the quality of apps on the market by requiring a microtransaction to unlock more features. Apps are being released to the market that are not full featured and polished, leaving users with half-made apps and wanting more. While it may benefit developers to release apps on this model, it is unsatisfactory for consumers who look for apps to fit their needs but find that the apps lack the features they want.

It may be that you find a free app on the market that you really enjoy, but unless many others find the same enjoyment in the app as you, the developer might not release an update for it. You wouldn’t want to go out and buy a brand-new vacuum just to come home and find that the one you bought will require you to purchase two or three other attachments in order to vacuum in tight or high places when the packaging claimed it was compatible, right? Apps should not operate this way either, or they will continue to deter consumers from exploring and discovering new apps on the market outside of the mainstream apps that their friends and family use.

  

The Ugly

microtransactions-the-uglyAdditionally, apps that have success with this model are leaving users with the ugly truth that they will need to sink more and more money into an app to get the most out of it. This practice is particularly prevalent in game apps. As I mentioned earlier about developers having a good opportunity to make money, requiring microtransactions in order for the consumer to be successful in an app exploits the addictive nature of the game, and promises the user that by paying money, they will be able to win. Oftentimes these games involve high scores, and consumers will do anything to beat their peers in order to show that they are superior, whether they pay for the app or not.

Over the past few years, there have been many articles about children who are spending thousands of dollars on in-app microtransactions from games such as Clash of Clans, Candy Crush, Game of War, and others. A child in Belgium who was given a credit card by their mother to buy e-books racked up a total $50,000 worth of microtransaction charges in the game Clash of Clans. Another child in England spent $5,900 on the iPad game, Jurassic World, after memorizing their parent’s password for the App Store. While it can be argued that it is not the microtransactions’ fault for these incidents, it is obvious that microtransactions are enabling this behavior.

Microtransactions have their place in the app market when implemented with consumers in mind. Developers can use them as a tool to allow more freedom in the app-creation process. This way, developers will not be deterred from taking the time to make an app that will not be profitable. Making apps is not a simple process, and the reward of economic benefit helps developers feel better about putting forth the effort to make great apps. Microtransactions just need to be done right, and not with the intent to exploit the consumer. Consumers want to feel good about giving an app a chance and not feel like they are just going to be wasting their time by downloading a free app they can’t use. The amount that consumers can invest in apps should be throttled or deferred into donations for the developers to continue making worthwhile apps.

Top VR and AR Trends in 2018

Top VR and AR Trends in 2018

Last month, our CEO and I attended the 2017 VRX Conference in San Francisco. Billed as the conference “where the business of immersive tech gets done,” speakers and attendees included key individuals from companies such as Walmart, Ford, Qualcomm, ExxonMobil, and Wayfair. At Shockoe, we focus on developing enterprise applications, so we were particularly drawn to VRX for its dedicated enterprise track. We saw this as a great opportunity to review the current state of immersive tech at companies within our primary industry verticals (retail, logistics, manufacturing, and energy). In addition, we knew the conference would be a great way for us to network with other tech professionals from around the country and learn from some of the top talents in the industry with speakers and attendees from many of the major immersive tech organizations such as Google, Microsoft, Oculus, HTC, and Intel.

Based on our experience at the conference and our work at Shockoe in 2017, here are my thoughts on top trends for VR and AR worth watching in 2018:

 

Settling on a Name for These Emerging Technologies

 

One immediate takeaway from the conference is that the naming conventions for immersive technologies are still very much in flux. Almost daily, there seems to be some new acronym related to immersive media. For example, while at VRX we heard all of the following terms from different panelists and presenters: VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), MR (Mixed Reality), IR (Immersive Reality), and XR (Extended Reality). While the definition for VR is fairly clear, there’s still some confusion surrounding the differences between AR, MR, and the overall umbrella terms IR and XR. In fact, a constant refrain from presenters was “XR… or whatever we’re calling it now.”

 

Yet, this confusion is nothing new. As industry veteran Charlie Fink points out in this Forbes article from last October, the struggle to settle on names for these technologies has existed for nearly 25 years and it doesn’t seem that the matter will be settled anytime soon. At Shockoe, we refer to this group of technologies as Immersive Media, though we will often refer to each individual technology by its specific name. We see VR as creating a new reality that a user enters, AR as augmentation of the physical world via a handset device, and MR as an interactive, head-mounted display based augmentation of the physical world. As the industry continues to evolve, we’ll adjust our naming accordingly to meet the needs of our clients.

 

Understanding Deployment of Immersive Tech in Enterprise

 

If 2017 was the year of ideation and stakeholder sell-through for an immersive enterprise, 2018 will be the year of addressing the complexities of deployment at scale. While many companies are already investigating and quantifying the benefits of immersive tech in the workplace, few have begun the significant undertaking of deploying these solutions at scale throughout their organization. Ideation and creation are only the first steps. Moving forward, it’s imperative that IT teams understand all of the potential pain points and best practices throughout the delivery process. They must ensure hardware deployment, content management, and ongoing support are all factored into the equation.

 

While immersive enterprise deployment is similar to the deployment of mobile technology (also a relatively nascent technology in certain industries), both offer unique challenges that must be considered. The primary consideration is hardware. From AR capable phones to room-scale 6-DOF VR headsets, immersive technology requires a significant investment in hardware for many companies. Furthermore, the logistics of large-scale deployment of these devices is challenging. As such, a clear solution and deployment roadmap that balances capital investment and ROI is crucial.

 

Once the hardware is accounted for, another significant factor is the content pipeline that is critical to interfacing with immersive experiences. Integrating with existing infrastructure, content management systems, and APIs can often prove overwhelming if not correctly managed, particularly if there are a large number of 3D assets to be implemented. Having a successful pipeline also means maximizing the efficiency of assets (reducing polygons, simplifying textures, etc).

 

Post-deployment, operational considerations become major factors in the adoption of these new systems and devices. It is critical that organizations train their IT teams to handle the complexities of immersive tech deployment, both for device management and for troubleshooting the new use cases. Organizations that address these factors will increase chances of successful deployment and adoption of immersive technology in 2018.

 

Integrating AR into Retail Applications

 

With the 2017 introductions of Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, 2018 will likely be the year that spatially-aware augmented reality truly enters the mainstream. Given that the current install base for AR capable devices numbers in the tens of millions, the only thing limiting adoption is recognition of use cases and the time needed for the design and development of related applications. It’s crucial, however, that these new apps are addressing actual user needs and solving real organizational problems.

 

With that in mind, perhaps no better AR use case exists than presenting accurately sized and scaled objects in a spatially correct environment; e.g., Will this sofa actually fit in my living room, and what will it look like? In my estimation, 2018 will see the rise of AR integration into a wide variety of retail applications. From furniture to clothing to groceries, being able to pre-visualize an item in context prior to purchase will be hugely beneficial. Indeed, many major retailers have already integrated AR tech into their apps, the most noteworthy of which is Amazon. In 2018, this tech will shift from a “nice-to-have” feature to a “must have” for retailers to remain competitive.

 

AR and MR for Data Visualization in the Supply Chain

 

While the most commonly cited use case for AR is for retail applications, there are some exciting possibilities for AR and MR data visualization throughout the supply chain. For example, Microsoft’s MR Hololens headset is beginning to be used to show real-time overlays on factory and warehouse floors, allowing foremen to see the flow of goods in real-time and manage processes using hands-free interactions. While the technology is still very experimental and expensive, the potential efficiency benefits are massive.

 

Until MR headsets are a more realistic and affordable option in supply chain operations, AR has significant potential for an affordable and portable visualization option. Assessments and overlays can be easily implemented to increase efficiencies and promote a three-dimensional view of data and/or processes. Just as AR adoption in retail will grow significantly in 2018, enterprises will use AR improve the efficiency of their data management.

 

Adoption of VR for Training

 

One of the most prevalently discussed use cases for VR at VRX 2017 was the anticipated adoption of VR corporate training in 2018. Walmart spoke to their success using VR to train employees for scenarios such as Black Friday, as well as their ongoing efforts to train for common management/customer service simulations. Training company StriVR discussed their use of VR training for multiple NFL teams and the benefit of being able to avoid significant injury while still retaining information. Because virtual reality has such a significant amount of experiential presence, it has the potential to form memories the same as if we were to literally experience something. As such, per StriVR, it’s possible to increase retention from 20% with written material to as much as 90% with an experiential material. This kind of efficiency gain will be huge for large organizations looking to improve their training processes.

 

So when does VR training make sense for an organization? Generally, virtual reality training is most beneficial when standard training would be:

  • Dangerous: Certain equipment or work environments necessitate carefully considered training tools that mitigate the potential for user injury
  • Expensive: Repetitive or expensive tasks that would be prohibitive for training can be repeated at a fraction of the cost
  • Impossible: Certain scenarios are literally impossible to test in current conditions (e.g., going to space, deep-sea exploration, etc.)
  • Rare: Other significantly important scenarios are hard to replicate outside of controlled environments

 

Look for organizations to significantly adopt VR into their training programs in 2018.

 

The Emergence of Social VR

 

It’s often said that the “killer app” for virtual reality is going to be social; after all, Facebook clearly acknowledged the potential of the technology when they acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014. While social immersive tech is likely to be adopted more rapidly by consumers than businesses, there is a significant interest in its role in streamlining the efficiency of communication for enterprises. While current teleconferencing and online meeting methods allow for more flexibility than ever, the future of off-site communication likely lies in a world where employees have a sense of presence despite lacking true physicality. Being able to not only see someone but also interpret their facial gestures and body language while moving through space will give business communication a new form of digital intimacy, allowing businesses to improve efficiency while significantly decreasing travel expenses. Look for these applications to make their way into the enterprise in 2018.

 

2018 and Beyond – A Snapshot

  • VR software revenue will reach $17B by 2020, surpassing hardware for the first time
  • VR headset price decreases have led to more consumer adoption in 2017. This trend will continue into 2018
  • For investors in immersive startups, the expectation is that ROI will be slower than traditional tech startups
  • The highest potential for growth in immersive is in enterprise applications
  • Mobile graphics are currently ten years behind desktop and 20x lower quality. But…
  • The future of immersive tech is mobile. Why and how?
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip will have significantly advanced immersive capabilities
  • The NGCodec will compress data by 99%
  • 5G networks will allow for graphics processing in the cloud
  • All of this will combine into device-agnostic experiences that are streamed to any headset, which will only be limited by screen resolution

 

In Summary

 

2018 is poised to be a breakout year for immersive technology, particularly in the enterprise space. While consumer and entertainment immersive will continue to have a significant role, it is likely that corporate adoption will push the next wave of XR growth. As companies identify use cases and learn to navigate the complexities of VR, AR, and MR deployment, they will begin to reap the benefits of these new methods of interaction and visualization. Overall, the outlook for 2018 is very bright, and we’re looking forward to pushing the limits of this technology here at Shockoe.

 

Interested in continuing the discussion or investigating how emerging technology can improve your organization? Get in touch with us here.

5 Ways an App can Increase Employee Productivity in Manufacturing

5 Ways an App can Increase Employee Productivity in Manufacturing

While we spend most of our efforts helping clients, there are times where we step back and reflect on the lessons we learn through these endeavors. I spent half of 2017 working with Crown, a leading innovator in world-class forklift and material-handling equipment. Through the course of this time, I personally saw changes confirming the app we were developing truly was a key factor in an increase in their employee productivity.

Through app usage, Crown developed a productivity mindset and removed organizational obstacles to their workforce productivity. The app gives employees the ability to work efficiently, keep their equipment operational, and ensure that tools or parts are readily available. Employees are now more productive because the former structures and processes, that consumed valuable time and prevented them from getting things done, have been replaced. Now, with higher labor throughput and with the same amount of relative work, they are more productive.

With these efforts in mind, I compiled the following five ways an app can increase a manufacturer’s employee productivity.

1. Reduce movement to optimize task efficiency
There are many factors that can contribute to unnecessary, time-consuming movement including ineffective floor layout; temporarily displacing material, information, tools, or people; and inefficient working methods. Movement can be reduced by strategically placing objects and information within an app, giving employees quick and easy access to this information. This can eliminate the need for time-consuming searches and demonstrations. For example, video of how to operate equipment can help employees better familiarize themselves with key information about the operations, which will empower them to make informed decisions that help improve their overall productivity.

2. Improve scheduling and plan for interruptions to reduce bottlenecksblog image - schedule effectively and plan for interruptions
Companies must act quickly when something goes wrong, or when their process must be put on hold momentarily because of a malfunct
ion, rejections, or any other changes that may occur. By having access to real-time information regarding employees, tools, and materials, adjustments and accommodations can be made for interruptions. Establishing the right system enables a company to determine the feasibility of scheduling requests, estimate the impact, and even minimize the impact it could have on production. 

3. Improve equipment reliability
Neglecting to maintain equipment, tools, or software puts the process at risk from unaccounted-for downtime. Furthermore, equipment that is poorly maintained or outdated will affect product quality. By taking a more strategic approach and analyzing performance data for key trends, potential issues can be anticipated and maintenance schedules created to extend the longevity of tools, equipment, and software. An app that displays these maintenance schedules gives employees quick access and keeps them informed on equipment status, enabling them to know which equipment needs repairs and which parts are needed for the equipment beforehand. As a result, there will be plans in place to help avoid disruptions to production due to unplanned downtime.

4. Optimize inventory levels to reduce shortages
It’s difficult to be productive when the proper tools to handle a task are unavailable. Companies need to account for and address short count, unexpected delays, and/or late deliveries. An app with this useful information allows accurate and timely visibility of inventory, keeps users informed on what’s running low, possible issues that might arise, and helps address these issues before they become problems that will affect production. In the cases where the shortages are unavoidable, having this system in place will enable users to account for them and even re-assign resources in the meantime.

5. Automate the processblog image - increase and optimize your inventory
The advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning has reached, or in some cases 
surpassed, humans in several different work activities. Having an automated process in production, or even part of an existing process can greatly improve the efficiency and productivity of the process. When the gathering and sending of information is automated, the possibility of human error is eliminated, which effectively prevents disruption to workforce productivity.

At Shockoe, we have been helping businesses increase their productivity by implementing these ideas. We even improved our own process by having systems in place to make our process more productive and efficient, so we can deliver an exceptional product to our clients. Our work with Crown has given us insight on how an application can improve a manufacturer’s productivity. By providing functionality like time tracking, inventory and equipment management, parts logs, order checklists, and more, we have successfully improved productivity for Crown’s workforce. Contact us to take the next step toward improving the quality of your company’s processes and productivity today.

Mobile Development Project Management from a Consultancy Point of View

Mobile Development Project Management from a Consultancy Point of View

shockoe-project-manager-Rebecca-mobile-development-project-managementMy journey into Mobile Development Project Management was almost accidental. I started my career in television production, first as a producer on a reality TV show and then jumping into production at a large advertising agency, helping to create television, radio, and video projects for national brands. But after six years of production, I started gravitating more towards the internal management of teams rather than organizing shoots and productions. I decided to give project management a try, and from the minute I felt the warmth in my heart of seeing my client’s multi-media campaign scheduled out across all deliverables, I knew I was home.

When I made the jump to a tech firm six months ago, I discovered several stigmas placed on project managers at creative consultancies:

  • They don’t know agile, having worked in a decades-old process that is viewed as slow, clunky, and requiring several layers of approval.
  • They’re only used to working on large, expensive projects, and are unable to follow a tight budget.
  • They’re “snobs” if the work can’t win a snazzy industry award that looks good on a shelf, they’re not interested.
  • They don’t know digital or tech, and they can only work on traditional media (TV, radio, print).

But while there’s some truth and mostly fiction in all of these stigmas, I believe that my experience at that large, clunky agency has given me important lessons and ideas that I incorporate into my mobile development project management on a daily basis. And as more advertising agencies move into 2018 and beyond, agile is becoming more than just a buzzword; consultancies must incorporate more SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) project management techniques in order to stay competitive and meet their clients’ needs.

With that, here are five lessons I learned that can be helpful to project managers and team leaders in advertising/marketing and tech:

1. Process should help the work get out faster, and evolve and improve it over time
Agile has become something of a buzzword in advertising, and for good reason. Clients are getting frustrated with the time and cost it takes to get work done. But consultancy creatives have several fears about the agile process: that you can’t quantify the time it takes to get the “big idea,” that clients won’t be able to see work in progress throughout and envision the final product, that daily stand-ups would become too much of a time-suck, and that traditional teams should be structured as a copywriter and art director. A large hurdle for an advertising consultancy to get over is to view the work as an evolving piece, and not a finished product. Sometimes that means releasing something to the client or the public if it’s not finessed to the nth degree, or if it has minor bugs. If you’re constantly updating, engaging, and storytelling, then the focus is more on the brand’s journey over time, and less on one 30-second TV spot. Consultancy teams would also benefit from the structure and accountability that a daily stand-up can provide. Responsibilities are made clear, each employee is accountable for the progress and completion of their own work, and the small team is united in their singular mission of getting the work done. And while Project Managers in both industries keep a full list of functionality or deliverables, tech PMs have more of a voice around Sprint Planning, and work with their clients and team members to determine priorities around features, and keep a fluid backlog of “nice to haves” depending on time and budget.

2. Design should improve the experience, not just impress other industry folks
Software Development Life Cycle Mobile project managementAwards are a necessary evil for any consultancy. They’re motivating for employees and serve as PR and sales tools, attracting new clients and making them aware of the consultancy’s work. But one criticism of a creative consultancy is that work is often done for the sole purpose of winning an award, and not serving the consumer. Yet tech companies may often lean in the opposite direction, where design is sacrificed at the expense of functionality and performance. There is a lesson to be learned from both. There is always a place for impeccable design, but its end goal should be to improve the user experience and solidify the consumer’s impression of the brand. As a project manager, that means involving UX/UI designers and developers throughout the lifespan of a project. My most successful projects have started in a room where a designer and developer are both throwing ideas up on the board, and continue collaborating on functionality, navigation, and UX throughout the process, even in QA. But that’s not meant to undercut the importance of a developer because all the smoke and mirrors in the world can’t hide something that doesn’t actually work. This is why in the agile process, we’re not presenting a PDF to the client, we’re presenting a functioning piece of technology. The code isn’t just the “back end” it’s as much of a client-facing deliverable as a design presentation and needs to be as clean, thorough, and documented as the slickest consultancy deck.

3. Strategic Planning can set a foundation for development too
The best advertising campaign is built upon a solid strategic foundation, and a mobile app or tech project should be no different.Functionality shouldn’t be added just because it’s a hot trend– it should make sense for the overall brand and their consumer, and deliver on a business problem the same way a piece of advertising would. One takeaway that a tech company can glean from a creative consultancy is the importance of a creative brief that’s rooted in the overall brand strategy. If the design is always driven by strategy in addition to the normal technical requirements, your projects will never feel like just a string of new functionality with no big picture in sight– which is frustrating for UX/UI designers and developers alike. While sometimes our clients in IT aren’t privy to the marketing plans and decisions of their brands, it’s our jobs to help them create a strategic plan and roadmap that bridges that relationship and creates consistency across all platforms.

4. Saying “Yes” doesn’t mean “Yes, right this minute”
Mobile Development AgencyIn a company meeting recently, our COO Alex was answering questions about timesheets, and stated, “Your nights and weekends should be your own.” I was immediately shocked and felt like applauding (ok maybe I did a little bit). That a statement like that would be shocking speaks to the culture of creative consultancies– you’re expected to be “on call” at all times, and you almost wear your late night and weekend work like a badge of honor. But why? I admit I’m still a bit stumped on this one. Could it be that creatives maintain that conception is not a science, and they can’t predict when lightning will strike? Or that good ideas don’t come until 3 a.m.? Or that marketing clients operate on faster timelines, with emergencies and last-minute media placements popping up quickly? Either way, I have seen some differences after working at a small tech company. UX/UI designers, developers, and project managers all employ “heads-down” tactics that help them to make better use of their time during the day. Also, daily stand-ups and using tools like JIRA and Slack help teams keep tasks prioritized and get work done quickly.

5. But saying “Yes” isn’t a dirty word either
Mobile Development Project Management Creative and Tech One frustration I hear about project managers in IT and tech is that whenever a new idea is raised, the first answer is “No, it’s not in scope.” But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being an consultancy producer and project manager, it’s flexibility. Saying “yes” is now innate for me, but how do I make sure that we’re protected as a company and not giving away work for free? It’s still a tricky line to walk, but by ensuring my estimates have room for any bugs or issues that naturally occur in development, I can give us and our clients enough space to get it right, not just done. At that point, a new ask from my client begins a conversation: Is this the right piece of functionality for this release, and will the timing work? Will it make this release that much better, that it is worth the extra hustle? With those questions answered, now we can address the budget: How are we doing overall on our hours? Do we have room to add in extra work, or would this addition cause us to go over? By treating a new ask from a client as a conversation and opportunity instead of a disruption, we can reach the goal that’s shared by creative and tech project managers alike: to create work that we all can be proud of.

 

Note from Editor: 

Our team is all about sharing our “lessons learned” and techniques, here are a couple of other blogs that we think you may find interesting:

Ensure Success with the Right Mobile App Delivery

4 Tips in Designing a Retail Inventory Management App

5 Ways Shockoe Supercharged Mobile Workflow

3 Tips to Start Using Motion in Design

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