Give us a quick overview on Dashbouquet. When and how did you begin this journey and what were your motives to be successful in app development?
In 2011, I worked in the Mediant startup that focused on developing mobile applications for studying Maths and other STEM disciplines. Since I am not a developer, we were hiring third-party service providers for app development. While doing so, we saw all the shortcomings and issues arising during the work with startups - a high level of uncertainty, constantly changing scope of work, limited budget and burning deadlines.
In the summer of 2014, we decided to create our own software development company and we kept in mind the experience we had as a customer of such companies. We wanted to eliminate all issues and shortcomings that we encountered before and provide a better quality of service. At first, we were targeting startups mainly.
Over time, not only startups were added as clients, but also large enterprises that wanted to work as startups - they needed to quickly test hypotheses and quickly bring new products to the market.
What is your role in the management and development of Dashbouquet?
My role has changed constantly over the years. When we were just starting at DashBouquet, I was responsible for almost everything: sales, project management, recruiting, finances. But as the company grew, these roles were overtaken by dedicated specialists or even by departments. At the moment, I am responsible for general management, building new departments and managing key sales.
Tell us about your biggest achievement in the industry
We successfully completed hundreds of projects, we are frequently listed on the top positions in various rankings and listings, and we are overall considered one of the leading service companies for startups. We also create good working conditions for our employees and we developed a culture that allows us to keep the churn rate of both employees and customers of our company very low, nearly close to zero.
How do you schedule the development phases of the apps to promise the timeline to your clients?
Before starting the project, we break it down into user stories and estimate each user story separately. Note though that we try to keep each user story under 8 hours of development or less. After that, depending on the budget and preferable deadlines, we assemble a team and break down all user stories into sprints (one sprint usually lasts 2 weeks). We then prioritize the sprints and get down to work. At the end of each sprint, we reorganize the plan based on the team performance, the number of additional tasks and needed changes, and double-check the dates of completing a certain part of the product functionality. If a client has a certain date in mind and wants a certain piece of functionality to be ready by this date, we normally deliver with 100% success due to our experience and specifics of project management in the company. The thing is, we are constantly adapting to the changing conditions and environment: we can expand the team, skip features with low priority, and work overtime if needed.
How do you help your clients in choosing the right yet profitable platform for app development?
Which would you suggest for a successful and profitable business progression, Native or hybrid apps? How do you define the factors that influenced you to make this choice?
Both native and hybrid development approaches have their pros and cons. To determine what’s best for a client, we always do a lot of preliminary research, make sure we understand the client’s idea correctly, and only then we suggest the preferred development method.
However, there are certain things in general that help us make a decision quicker. If you need rich graphics and a high level of interactivity then you should choose native development. But for a business app that doesn’t require extra tweaking or over-the-top graphics, hybrid development will be more than enough. It will allow you to quickly enter both mobile platforms (iOS and Android), update both apps simultaneously, and you won’t need to have two separate developers for the maintenance.
How do you scheme your pricing model? How do you fix your budget?
We work on Time and Material model only and we normally bill our clients per hour (though there may be exceptions). The biggest advantage of this approach is that a client is more involved in a project and it’s in his best interests to release functionality on time. The client can also make a pivot even in the middle of the current sprint and can quickly test various product hypotheses. Right now we bill from 25 to 60 dollars per hour, depending on the specialist’s experience and role. On average, the cost of creating an MVP and launching it in the market is between $15 000 - $50 000.
We can fix the budget but then we won’t be able to fix the deadlines of the project and the amount of completed functionality - some features may be postponed if the budget is not enough.
How helpful are the mobile apps developed by your team, for enhancing your clients’ business?
After testing the product on the market, some of our clients stop the development process and then come back with a new idea. Others get good responses from the market, receive investments or start to receive a stable cash flow from new clients that were obtained due to our work - in this case, we expand the development team and such clients usually stay with us for ages.
What according to you are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?
The most important practice for customer satisfaction is well-functioning and open communication, a willingness to fully understand any client's problem and solve it. Openness, honesty and complete transparency are one of our main cultural values both among our employees and with our clients.
How do you update your business system to be in pace with the technological advancements?
We are constantly evolving to be a top notch service provider and we are trying new approaches both in technology and in business. We build hypotheses, digitize results and make decisions about what will work best for our business and for our clients.
What are your thoughts about AR, VR and Internet of Things (IoT)?
These are definitely the technologies of the future and are very interesting to work with. I really look forward to the time when these technologies will enter our life in all aspects and will radically change it.
What do you think will be the future of Mobile technology?
I think that mobile and non-mobile technologies will be unified into some kind of a universal, wearable device that will 100% connect a person and the things around him with the network and that no sphere of human life will function without such a device.