SmallCozian — a geek with people skills.
SmallCo is a team of techies. But our focus is squarely upon people, and not tech. No matter what some folks may tell you, designing an app is first, last and always about relationships.
The first and founding relationship is our relationship with you. And the first challenge is to build your trust in our team, by standing up a working app in short order.
Our first design job is to identify the smallest app that we can build first, an app that can give you an early win no more than a month or two of work. Setting the scope of this work is the responsibility of your Project Manager at SmallCo. This will likely be Gianna, with the assistance of Hassell, Tomas, Milan & Albert.
Your work with us will often start with a two-hour block of consulting, to begin to identify this first small scope of work, and to explore a rough budget for the project. We’ll precisely define this work scope in a second block of hours, so we can give you a cost and time estimate for building this first app.
The scope of work will likely be documented in a Specification of Goals by Role. The goal spec lists the people your app serves, identified by their role, and then lists what this person wants to accomplish in that role: their goals.
This is not a Functional Spec. At SmallCo, we may follow with a functional spec after the app’s platform has been selected.
The Right Tools for the Job
Once the goal spec is done, it’s time to select a platform for your app: a web app, a native app on iOS or Android, the FileMaker Platform, or a customizable and commercially available pre-designed app. We may also choose to integrate this custom app with existing data, apps or web services. This is where we choose a security model, and where we decide how to deploy your app, on premise or in the cloud.
Your Data Wranglers and SmallCo will corral your current data and place it into your new custom app. Anja & Dave are the right “guys” for the job. Salman or Jakov will spin up your server, so you’ll be able to see the app take shape.
Mockups, Working Prototypes & “Standing Up Your App”
Your SmallCo team works fast. Within a week you can see your first mockups of your app. And a few weeks after that, you will have something you can start to use and test. At that point, the app itself begins to “talk back,” entering into a kind of dialog with the team through testing. SmallCo’s designers lead this discussion. That would be Albert and his mini-me Marjy. Design is what made SmallCo world famous.
The API team can then link your app to the rest of the world: your accounting system, website, inventory, e-commerce, etc. Leave it to Milan, Jakov & Anja to get the job done.
Reliable Code. Dependable Deadlines. Balanced Budgets.
Writing code is an art. Solid, reliable code comes from great teams of coders, using time-tested practices. There is a difference… A brilliant young developer can write stuff that works—for now—but has all the beauty of a run-on sentence. SmallCozians write code for today and for the future. The result is code that is easy to read, well commented and well factored.
SmallCo’s Code of Coding says,
“Code as if the next coder who has to debug your work has an anger management problem and knows your home address.”
Critical code is written in pairs, in a manner called pair programming. Teams show off their work in SmallCo’s Coders Dens, held every two weeks. Our aim is to write apps that are Anti-Fragile, apps that actually grow stronger and more effective with time. One champion of this effort is Andre, who has been coding for 50 years. An early project for Andre was code that controlled the dikes that kept the Netherlands from flooding. Talk about mission-critical…
When your project finishes on time and on budget, you will thank Hassell. Hassell is Business Manager at SmallCo, and all of our expenses and project time budgets are reviewed by her. We wanted to include a photo of her when she makes one of those “I’m not happy with you” faces, but we quickly backed down when she made one of her “I’m not happy with you” faces.
AppCraft: Trustworthy Tools by a Trusted Team.
SmallCo has refined this workflow over 25 years. We know that our craftsmanship-like approach to software design works. And soon enough, you will too.
After deploying your first app, it’s time to consider what app to build next. Some of our customers build one or two apps with us, others build a half dozen. No single project takes more than a few months. We know what happens to tech projects which go too long, because we rescue failed projects all the time. Our first step is always the same: start small, and then build from there.
Oh, and of course, when the work is done, it’s important to rest!