Who do you talk to during the project? Roles in the team
Behind every successful project is a whole team of specialists. Each of them is assigned specific tasks at different stages of the work. Seemingly sounds simple, but industry terms such as Product Owner, Project Manager or UX/UI Designer can confuse you. After reading this article, the tasks of the experts we encounter during the development of mobile applications will no longer be a mystery.
Division of roles in the team
Who the client talks to during the development of the mobile application depends largely on the organization of the specific company, but usually either one person is appointed who is responsible for communication with the client throughout the project, or at each stage the client is handled by a different person, responsible for a specific task. We’ll give you an idea of what this looks like at our company.
The project begins with the “first contact”, or the so-called discovery call. It is used to say that this is the most important conversation one has when working with a software house. You can read more about how to prepare for a conversation with SH here. At appvinio, such conversations are conducted by Mateusz, our CEO, and can take the form of a phone call, a video call or an in-person meeting. It’s a time to discuss the idea, goals, business needs, concerns, and to learn about proposed solutions. After that, the conceptual work already begins – in our case in the form of workshops, which are attended by (depending on the needs): a business representative, Project Manager, Analyst or UX/UI Designer. During these workshops, an application concept is created, which is a solid basis for further work on project development.
From the moment the client decides to have our team lead the project, the Project Manager comes into play. He is the one in charge of the contact between the team and the client, collecting questions from both sides and presenting potential solutions to the client. The next steps are the analysis phase and the design phase, where, as the name suggests, the Analyst and UX/UI Designer play the main role, respectively (you can read about what UI and UX design is here). The Analyst, in consultation with the team, determines what tools and technologies will be needed to create the expected solution. At this point, a first draft of the project is also created, as well as a detailed breakdown of stages and tasks. The UX/UI Designer’s work begins with creating an application prototype in the form of a “clickable” model. It is used to establish the flow of the application by creating the paths that its users will use. Such a model is meant to simulate the target application and help get a feel/examine whether the application is intuitive and whether the user will be comfortable using it. In addition, the UX/UI Designer is, of course, responsible for other elements, such as selecting fonts, colours and drawing screens.
For the next stage, the development stage, we have our own idea worked out, although we adapt to the client’s wishes if necessary. We divide this phase into so-called sprints, usually two weeks long. Each sprint begins with the so-called planning, i.e. a meeting with the client, attended by all team members. During it, we plan what tasks will be performed during the upcoming sprint. During each sprint, we hold daily meetings, which the customer can join, although it is not necessary. When necessary, we also hold thematic meetings with the customer to clarify the scope of the assumption we are currently working on. Such a meeting is attended on our part by the person who is responsible for the specific task. The two-week sprint ends with the so-called demo, which is a meeting in the same group as in planning, during which we show the client what has been done. This is also the time to give us any comments and additional requirements. In the development process, the main role is played by programmers, who are responsible for creating code that implements all the predetermined assumptions.
At this stage, testers also have their share, taking care of the high quality of the product. Their task is to verify that the produced functionalities work according to the project assumptions. If deviations or errors are detected, the testers pass the information to the programmers to verify the detected issue.
Once the product is completed and quality verified, there is a moment when it is made available to users for use. This moment is not the end of the cooperation, as we still remain in contact with the client to monitor the performance of the product and suggest possible updates.
Communication – the key to success!
Communication, whether during the development of a mobile app or in any other aspect of life, is very important. Let’s point out right away that conversations do not have to be strict with the client – he can designate a specific person to be responsible for contacting the team during the project. It is also not uncommon for one person to be responsible for general communication with our team, but on specific topics, we speak with a specialist designated by the client. Clients very often downplay or don’t realize how important the flow of information is, and are also unaware of the large volume of time often required for this.
As long as the project is very well defined, which is not that often at all, or is very simple, these meetings usually go smoothly and quickly. But the more specialized the subject matter, for example, where the application supports some very specific process, the more meetings and more questions there are, and we need more time from the customer’s side to talk. We always try to get the product the customer receives to meet his needs. It is during these meetings that we have to gather all the assumptions that we are then supposed to translate into code. If the contact person is unavailable or responds late, it makes it much more difficult to create the product the customer expected.
Communication avoids many problems, so one has to be prepared for the fact that developing an application involves a lot of questions from the team. This has to be seen as something positive, because there are software houses that say they will do a project, then there is no contact with them and in the end, the client gets completely not what he expected. For our part, we always do our best to make meetings as smooth as possible, including preparing detailed agendas. We also have, without boasting, a certain advantage over large companies, because we don’t have overgrown internal procedures that cause protracted decision-making processes.
How to effectively write a mobile app brief?
You already know who is responsible for the various tasks during the development of the project, but as a freebie to the text, we will add something else that will be useful at the very beginning – some tips on the brief. A brief is a document that should list exactly what the client expects from the agency or software house. This helps right from the start if only in determining the duration of the project and the budget you will need to spend on it. Of course, the creation of such a brief is not necessary before starting discussions. Our team at the meeting will be happy to help you gather all the necessary information. Below you will find some topic areas to discuss at the start of the project.
In the beginning, you should introduce yourself, tell a little about the company and explain whether the planned application is part of the main business or a side project. This will allow the developers to propose different – the most suitable for the needs – solutions. The next part of the brief is to describe the factors that will affect the project. It’s a good idea to specify who enters the potential audience – important elements include age, gender, position and education, as this allows the interface to be optimally tailored to the user. It’s also a good idea to boast the results of market research, if available, describe the competition, and indicate whether you are planning an app for the domestic market only or overseas… Every detail is important. You should also indicate the purpose for which the app is to be developed. As a rule, the main goal is simply profit – as it is in business. But every application is supposed to serve the user in some way. A precise description of what needs it is supposed to meet will help create an intuitive, short path of use from turning on the app to achieving the goal.
The most important point of the brief, however, is the scope of the app’s functionality. This will give the development team an idea as to whether any additional screens (such as registration, login or a “My Profile” tab) will be needed to meet users’ needs. Once the list is created, it’s also a good idea to prioritize features. The MoSCoW method is often used for this, i.e.: M – must have, S – should have, C – could have, W – won’t have. In the end, there should also be information on how much the budget is and at what time the application would be implemented.
The process of developing a mobile app may seem a bit complicated and well… it is. But rest assured – at each stage the team has a contact person who will oversee the collaboration and patiently answer any questions. To paraphrase a trite but true saying: communication is the key to a perfect mobile app.
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