Web Development, Native Mobile Development, Cross-platform Mobile Development, UX/UI Design, QA, Business Analysis

Interview with Vladyslav Savchenko, CEO - Powercode

Vladyslav Savchenko Interview on TopDevelopers.co

Vladyslav Savchenko  linkedin

CEO, Powercode
Give us a quick overview on Powercode. When and how did you begin this journey and what were your motives to be successful in app development?

Powercode was founded in 2015. The mission behind the idea was to help people digitize their businesses and in turn help their clients to use convenient and helpful products. Information technology is all about win-win solutions that make the world a better place to live in. 

What is your role in the management and development of Powercode? 

As a CEO of Powercode, I determine the overall strategy of the enterprise; make general decisions at the highest level that ensure the sustainable growth of the company; perform representative duties.

Tell us about your biggest achievement in the industry 

I launched the online supermarket Foodex24 from scratch within just 14 days. This E-commerce product has entered the book of records of Ukraine. The Powercode team was able to implement an online supermarket with fully automated processes within extremely short time.
Besides, I implement socially responsible projects that take the business to a brand new level. This spring, we handed over ready-made software for doctors to the Ministry of Health.

How do you schedule the development phases of the apps to promise the timeline to your clients?

It mostly depends on the chosen approach (iterative development with agile frameworks or waterfall) and project state (ongoing/new). In most cases, for ongoing projects, the development scope of new iteration every time of the software development is planned together with the client right before the start of the sprint. In general, we determine short term targets, decompose them to tasks, add them to the project backlog, and form sprints depending on business value, task priority/severity, team workload and velocity, and desired ETA.
In case the estimated timeline doesn't meet customer expectations, we will re-prioritize tasks and reduce the scope for the nearest sprint.

And no matter what approach has been used, before releasing every update; we test new functionality, execute regression testing, and show the demo to the client and gather feedback. When we have a stable release candidate in a staging environment, we deploy it to the production environment.
For projects from scratch, we do some initial planning and discuss the scope for MVP to be released initially. It includes an initial effort estimate, project brief, project plan, and timeline presented in the form of a Gantt chart or roadmap.

Basically, the project timeline depends on the critical path. The term "critical path" identifies the longest stretch of dependent activities and measures the time required to complete them from start to finish.
In case of strict deadlines, playing with a team assigned, scope needed for the initial release, and tasks priorities, we can minimize the critical path, i.e. project timeline, by temporarily reducing/simplifying functionality or working on several functionalities in parallel whereas applicable.
Furthermore, this initial scope before the first production release also has internal sprints (from 1 to 4 weeks) and/or milestones (particular targets we are going to achieve by delivering some scope of work). Each iteration has an internal deadline, the definition of done/acceptance criteria, and a demo for the customer. It gives a better overview of project state on every step of execution and more possibilities to manage deadlines and change requests. This is why we always meet the deadlines we set. Divide and conquer.

How do you help your clients in choosing the right yet profitable platform for app development? 

The right platform always depends on business values (functionality) and target audience (users), and platform tech possibilities. 
There are some functionality that would be more comfortable to use within the web app, than using within a mobile app and vice versa.
Sometimes you need to cover both mobile and web but something can be more important, while something can be postponed.

I can give some simple examples for a better overview:
CRM will be always used as a web app, mostly from the desktop;
An Uber like app, for both driver and passenger, should be developed as a mobile app;
A messenger should be developed as a mobile app first, but it also makes sense to deliver web/desktop versions in further releases;
Ecommerce can have a mobile app or PWA, but the responsive web app is a primary target for the initial release;
And, it's better to deliver a video conference tool working across all the devices from the very beginning to fully cover the audience, so ideally you'll need both web or desktop app and mobile apps for the initial release.

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? 

There are some primary and secondary factors. 

Primary factors are:
Specifics of functionality and technology to be used
Secondary factors are:
Project scope
UI/UX design
Speed optimizations and project size
Reliability, scalability, and possibilities for further support and updates
Strict requirements or available team

Using cross-platform mobile app development can reduce time and budget. So, it's good for small apps or apps with simple functionality (from the tech perspective), MVPs, and startups.
But, there are still some specific functionality that work correctly within Native apps only. For example, any taxi/Uber like app will use a lot of background processes to track location in real time - for now, it works correctly only within the native app. It's better to consider native app development for those apps that will use native functionality of device and hardware, e.g. a lot of work with camera, adding masks, any AR/CV functionality, etc.

Different design specifics, like custom UI elements, and animations also is better and faster to develop with native technology.
Moreover, from year to year, for better performance, Android and iOS policies change and become stricter in terms of using various native methods. For example, the above-described case with background workers arose only a couple of years ago, pushing a lot of customers to rewrite their apps to native technology (Kotlin, Java, Swift) instead of using a cross-platform framework like React Native.
So, having a native app becomes more reliable and scalable from year to year, rather than cross-platform one.

Native apps, if they have a lot of functionality or large audience, always work faster, and it's easier to optimize performance for a native app rather than for a cross-platform app.
Also, sometimes a customer has a strong will to use some specific technology.

Or, on the opposite, there are no differences or any restrictions, but there is some specific deadline, while our company can assign only some specific team at the moment. It also may happen. In this case, to start faster, we can use some particular technology depending on the team available to start the project immediately.
So, this is how we usually make a choice. Of course, both and native technologies have the right to exist. That's why we keep a broad stack of technologies within several teams and develop both kinds of apps, selecting the appropriate technology for each particular case, while some companies try to convince the customer to use the single technology they only have.
Regarding cross-platform development, the only thing here I want you to pay attention to is that I recommend using the most common, and supportable frameworks, having a big community, and a lot of live projects, like React Native or Flutter.

How do you scheme your pricing model? How do you fix your budget? 

Each project is unique, so it’s impossible to develop a certain scheme common for all projects. The pricing model depends on:

Which party is responsible for the project management?
If BA, designers, or CTO are involved
How difficult the task is, and many more
Our core rule is transparency and clarity for the client.  

How helpful are the mobile apps developed by your team, for enhancing your clients’ business? 

If talking in brief, our mobile apps: 

Help in increasing the market share of a service
Enhance customer loyalty
Redefine the audience involved and thus attract more clients
Provide online presence and cover clients’ online queries
This is just in general. In each case separately, an app can be helpful in a vast number of ways. Depends on the goals the client is trying to achieve with the app.

What according to you are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?

I could talk about all that average stuff that everyone mentions, like quality, rates, smooth communication etc. But, all that stuff is pretty obvious, so I’m rather going to speak about human attitude. Approach your client through the prism of human attitude. Show emotions (but surely within the corporate ethics norms), be alive in your communication, be genuine. Show you’re interested; show you care about the end result. My philosophy is about remaining a human in all spheres of life and situations. I am pretty sure that a client always feels the attitude, and everyone deserves being approached in a respectful way.

How do you update your business system to be in pace with the technological advancements?

Business system updates aren’t an end goal, but rather a tool for achieving a result. To make a system work and be competitive in the market, there is a necessity to make sure its each part is sustainable and plays a certain role in achieving an overall goal. To work with metrics quickly and effectively, we use top-notch tools and approaches both in the company management and projects we deliver.
This is an ongoing process based on daily results monitoring and optimizing the team’s actions depending on a situation.

Setting the structure and processes of our company as an example, we often show our clients how their existing system can be optimized and the ways of reports automation and sales structuring.

What are your thoughts about AR, VR and Internet of Things (IoT)?

I believe that it is huge progress for humanity, and in the hands of the right people, these things can become a tool for significant discoveries. It can have a particularly positive effect on the development of modern medicine. Besides, it provides opportunities and ideas to create startups.

What do you think will be the future of Mobile technology?

We see a trend that mobile devices are getting "smarter". AI and deep learning are becoming common in mobile applications. This allows apps to learn and adapt to user's preferences and needs. Another area, which expects booming is Augmented Reality in business mobile programs. It will change how businesses can deliver ideas, products to their customers. Another great addition is the Internet of Things. With more devices joining the ecosystem, it is logical that the devices we most interact with also become a part of it. I believe mobile technologies will play an even bigger role in our lives in the future.

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