Anna Bogdanowicz, Author at Mood Up team - software house
mood up blog

7 things companies can do for their employees during the pandemic

[Polish version]

There is no doubt that the year 2020 has been a challenging one. Even if companies and their employees were not affected by the coronavirus directly, the constant changes and the uncertainty of the situation has been a strain on both mental and physical health. With all that going on, taking care of workplace morale and employees’ wellbeing has become more pressing than ever. Wondering how to do it right? Do not worry – for those who wish to earn the employer of the year title but are not sure where to start, we have prepared a list of seven proven solutions tested by MoodUp Team.

 

Remote work

Social distancing is said to be the best way of preventing infections. It’s why home office currently seems to be the safest option. Allowing employees to work from home is then recommended for every employer who cares about their health and safety. But there is more to ‘allowing remote work’ than just granting official permission. It also means providing employees with the right hardware and software that will ensure smooth communication and workflow. And let us not forget about working stations – in MoodUp, we want our employees to enjoy an ergonomic workplace even at the comfort of their homes. In our case, that means delivering their favorite and comfortable office chairs directly to their doorstep.

 

Office safety

There are some situations when working remotely is just not an option – IT administrators know that all too well. But in fact all employees have to visit their office sometimes, for example to have their hardware repaired or hold an on-site meeting with a client. And since having people in the office cannot always be avoided, it is the employer’s role to make sure that everyone can work in safe conditions. That means keeping the two-meter distance between the workstations , making sure that all surfaces are disinfected regularly, and providing employees with the right equipment, such as hand sanitizer. Reminders about safety precautions placed in the strategic areas of the office are a nice touch, too.

 

Transportation

In case there is an urgent need to visit the office, employees have to face a new problem – how to arrive there without risking an infection. Some decide to use public transportation – unfortunately, those vehicles are where many people are gathered in a relatively small area. In the current times, that seems like a health hazard – one that can and should be avoided.

We have come up with a solution. MoodUp joined the Uber for business and Bolt Business platforms and granted each employee a monthly spending limit. To make sure that our people are safe outside their working hours as well, we have separate budgets for work-related travels and their private activities. Just be warned – side effects of this solution might include employees coming to the office on time twice as often.

 

Proper healthcare

One of the most sought-after benefits offered by companies is access to private healthcare or life insurance – and during the pandemic, it has become even more crucial. We have been offering that benefit for a while now, but in MoodUp, we like to go the extra mile. That includes providing employees with antibody tests so that they can check if they had contact with the COVID-19 virus in the past months despite not showing any symptoms. We have also purchased several pulse oximeters that help monitor employees’ condition by checking the oxygen saturation level in their blood as well as oxygen concentrators for emergencies.

 

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Oxygen concentrators are ready to use

 

Taking precautions

Preventing infection starts with a healthy lifestyle. That is where employers have a chance to get creative – there are as many incentives as there are companies. We try to approach the matter from several angles. The first is promoting exercising and staying active, and it has been a big part of MoodUp’s working culture from the very beginning. We regularly rent a gym to have a game of volleyball, and just last month our employees started attending free yoga classes together. Once a week, we also offer free massages to help employees lessen the strain on their spines caused by desk work.

Another action we take to ensure our employees stay healthy is boosting their immune system – quite literally. Lately everyone in MoodUp has received a gift box that included healthy snacks, natural raspberry juice, fresh ginger and some delicious honey. It also featured a MoodUp facemask and a bottle of hand sanitizer for that extra protection.

 

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“Health box” gifted to every Mood Up employee

 

Financial security 

But what happens if an employee becomes infected anyway? In Poland, regular employees are compensated for the time they spend on sick leave – however, this is not true for all countries. What is more, some people are self-employed and prefer the B2B type of contract – and that is where the matter of compensation becomes complicated. That is why every caring employer should make sure their employees can sleep soundly, knowing that they will not lose their source of income if they happen to fall sick. 

We’ve got that covered. In MoodUp, if an employee tests positive for coronavirus, they are guaranteed to receive a major part of their salary even if they are unable to work – regardless of their type of contact. And if they decide they are still in good enough condition to work remotely, they receive as much as 150% of their salary to cover any other expenses. We are planning to throw in a small bonus too. Those unable to leave their home will get some extra funds that they can spend on the Uber Eats platform.

 

Staying in touch

It is important to remember that the pandemic is a strain on both mental and physical health. Good employers take that into account – and although face-to-face meetings are not recommended anymore, they make sure that the employees do not lose contact with their coworkers. Why not order everyone a pizza and enjoy it together at a Zoom meeting or host an online game tournament? The possibilities for virtual meetups are nearly endless.

 

Going the extra mile

Are all these solutions worth it? Definitely. Employees who feel secure about their job are guaranteed to perform better than those who worry about the pandemic affecting their careers or income. It can also be a huge boost to the workplace atmosphere or relations, which impact on the projects is often immeasurable.

What does your company do to ensure the employees’ wellbeing during the pandemic?

 

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7 rzeczy, które firmy mogą zrobić dla pracowników w trakcie pandemii

 

Chyba nie ma nikogo, kto mógłby powiedzieć, że rok 2020 był udanym zwieńczeniem tej dekady. Nawet u osób, które nie odczuły skutków wirusa, ciągłe zmiany oraz niepewność tego, co wydarzy się jutro, mogły negatywnie odbić się na zdrowiu i psychice. W tej sytuacji dbanie o dobre samopoczucie pracowników staje się ważniejsze niż kiedykolwiek. Jeśli więc zastanawiasz się, jak podnieść morale w zespole, mamy dobrą wiadomość. Dla wszystkich, którzy chcieliby zdobyć tytuł Szefa Roku, przygotowaliśmy listę 7 sprawdzonych rozwiązań, przetestowanych na zespole MoodUp Team.

 

Praca zdalna

Ponoć najlepszym sposobem zapobiegania zakażeniom jest dystans społeczny – co oznacza, że obecnie najbezpieczniej jest pracować w trybie home office. Każdy pracodawca, któremu leży na sercu bezpieczeństwo i zdrowie pracowników, powinien więc umożliwić im przejście na pracę zdalną. Warto jednak pamiętać, że pod tym pojęciem kryje się więcej niż tylko wydanie oficjalnego pozwolenia. Wiąże się z tym także zapewnienie odpowiedniego sprzętu czy oprogramowania, które umożliwia pracę w nowych warunkach i płynną komunikację w zespole. Nie zapominajmy też o stanowiskach pracy – w MoodUpie zależy nam, żeby pracownicy mogli cieszyć się ergonomicznymi stacjami roboczymi także w domach. Dlatego na ich prośbę dowozimy im ich wygodne, biurowe krzesła – aż pod same drzwi.

 

Bezpieczeństwo w biurze

W niektórych przypadkach praca zdalna nie jest możliwa – wiedzą o tym dobrze na przykład administratorzy sieci. Ale również pozostali pracownicy czasem po prostu muszą wyjść z domu, na przykład wymienić sprzęt lub spotkać się z klientem. A skoro biura nie da się całkowicie zamknąć, rolą pracodawcy jest upewnić się, że wszyscy mogą pracować w bezpiecznych warunkach. Oznacza to na przykład zapewnienie dwumetrowych odstępów pomiędzy stanowiskami pracy i dezynfekcji wszystkich newralgicznych powierzchni, oraz dostępu do środków ochronnych, takich jak płyn do dezynfekcji rąk. Miłym gestem będzie także rozwieszenie plakatów czy przypomnień o zaleceniach sanitarnych – można je pobrać bezpośrednio ze strony WHO.

 

Transport

Jeśli wizyta w biurze okazuje się konieczna, pracownicy muszą zmierzyć się z nowym problemem – jak dostać się na miejsce nie ryzykując zakażenia. Niektórzy wybierają komunikację miejską. Niestety, często oznacza to dłuższe przebywanie w towarzystwie wielu osób stłoczonych na stosunkowo małej powierzchni. Może to stanowić zagrożenie dla zdrowia – którego wcale nie jest trudno uniknąć.

Bo w MoodUp mamy rozwiązanie i na to. Postanowiliśmy dołączyć do platformy Uber dla biznesu oraz Bolt Business i przyznaliśmy każdemu z pracowników comiesięczne środki na przejazdy. Aby zapewnić bezpieczeństwo także poza godzinami pracy, mamy osobny budżet na transport do i z biura oraz na przejazdy prywatne. Uwaga jednak – skutkiem ubocznym mogą być pracownicy, którzy dużo częściej niż zwykle stawiają się punktualnie na spotkaniach.

 

Opieka zdrowotna

Już od dawna jednym z najbardziej pożądanych benefitów pracowniczych jest prywatna opieka zdrowotna lub ubezpieczenie – a w trakcie pandemii ta tendencja tylko się nasila. Nasi pracownicy korzystają z tych benefitów już od dawna, ale w MoodUp lubimy zawsze pójść o krok dalej. W tym przypadku zamówiliśmy dla naszych pracowników testy na przeciwciała, żeby mogli sprawdzić, czy w ostatnich miesiącach mieli kontakt z wirusem, nawet jeśli nie wykazywali żadnych objawów. Kupiliśmy też zestaw pulsoksymetrów, które pomagają monitorować poziom saturacji tlenu we krwi, oraz kilka koncentratorów tlenu na wypadek sytuacji wyjątkowych.

 

Lepiej zapobiegać

Zapobieganie zakażeniom zaczyna się od zdrowego trybu życia. Tutaj pracodawcy naprawdę mają pole do popisu – pomysłów na różne inicjatywy EB-owe jest tyle, ile istnieje firm. My próbujemy podejść do tematu od dwóch stron. Pierwszą z nich jest promowanie aktywności fizycznej – coś, co od dawna jest ważną częścią naszej kultury pracy. Regularnie wynajmujemy salę do  siatkówki, a od niedawna nasi pracownicy mogą brać udział w cotygodniowej jodze. Raz w tygodniu mogą też skorzystać z darmowego masażu i ulżyć nieco swoim kręgosłupom po całym dniu spędzonym przed ekranem.

Drugim sposobem na dbanie o zdrowie naszych pracowników jest wzmacnianie ich układu odpornościowego – i to całkiem dosłownie. W tym miesiącu wszyscy w MoodUp otrzymali prezent zawierający zdrowe przekąski, naturalny sok z malin, świeży imbir oraz słoik pysznego miodu. Dorzuciliśmy też MoodUpową maseczkę oraz płyn do dezynfekcji rąk dla dodatkowej ochrony.

 

Poduszka finansowa

Co jednak, jeśli pracownik i tak zostanie zakażony? W Polsce osoby zatrudnione na umowę o pracę mogą otrzymać chorobowe, jednak nie w każdym kraju działa podobny system. Co więcej, niektórzy preferują samozatrudnienie i współpracę na podstawie umowy B2B – wtedy kwestia wynagrodzenia w przypadku choroby zaczyna się komplikować. Właśnie dlatego każdy pracodawca powinien zadbać, żeby jego pracownicy nie musieli się martwić, że w razie zakażenia stracą źródło dochodu.

Zadbaliśmy również i to. W MoodUp Team pracownicy, którzy otrzymają dodatni wynik testu na koronawirusa i nie są zdolni do pracy, niezależnie od typu umowy, mają zagwarantowaną wypłatę znacznej części swojej pensji. Jeśli jednak stwierdzą, że pomimo wyniku dodatniego są w stanie pracować zdalnie, mogą liczyć na aż 150% wynagrodzenia. Planujemy też mały bonus – osoby, które nie mogą opuszczać domu, mogą liczyć na dodatkowe środki do wykorzystania na Uber Eats.

 

Bliski zdalny kontakt

Warto pamiętać, że pandemia może odbić się negatywnie nie tylko na zdrowiu, ale także na psychice pracowników. Dobry pracodawca bierze to pod uwagę. Chociaż obecnie nie zaleca się grupowych spotkań twarzą w twarz, to nie powód, żeby zrezygnować z biurowej integracji. Dlaczego nie zamówić dla każdego pizzy i nie zjeść jej razem na wielkim Zoomowym lunchu? Albo rozegrać firmowego turnieju planszówek online? Możliwości integracji zdalnej są niemal nieograniczone.

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O krok dalej

Czy warto inwestować w powyższe rozwiązania? Zdecydowanie. Osoby, które czują się stabilnie w swojej pracy, osiągają dużo lepsze wyniki niż ci, którzy nieustannie walczą ze stresem i zastanawiają się, jak pandemia wpłynie na ich finanse lub karierę. Inicjatywy te mogą mieć także pozytywny wpływ na atmosferę w firmie i relacje w zespołach. To te czynniki często decydują o tym, czy projekt zakończy się sukcesem.

A co robi Twoja firma, by zadbać o kondycję i samopoczucie pracowników w trakcie pandemii?

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11 qualities of a great QA tester


In this day and age, hardly anyone needs proof that software testing is crucial to its success. However, if you are still unconvinced,  here is an example: in 2015, a military airbus A400M had a fatal crash that was later discovered to have been caused by a programming fault. Could it have been prevented with more extensive testing? The experts seem to think so.

Not all bugs have such tragic consequences. Although, trying to save money on testing often results in the maintenance costs skyrocketing later on. And it seems that more and more software development companies – in Poland and abroad – are aware of that. Because it’s a fact that the demand for both manual and automation QA testers is growing steadily. So much, that according to the 2019 research by MarketsandMarkets, in the next five years the global automation testing market is expected to double its value, showing an 18% annual growth.

 

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source:marketsandmarkets.com


Finances are one thing, but there seems to be more to testing than that. In 2018, a QA analyst was voted the second happiest profession according to the Careerbliss ranking. No wonder that more and more people are considering it as a career choice. Nowadays, the job of a tester seems to be satisfying, well-paid, and in demand. But with that inevitably comes a question – what do I need to be a successful QA tester?

Our software house in Poznań hires some truly experienced and passionate QA specialists. We asked them what traits and skills they find the most important in their daily work. With their help, we have prepared a list of 11 qualities that every tester should possess  – read it and find out if you have what it takes.

  • Curiosity

The question that lies at the heart of QA testing is “What happens if…?”. What happens if I put numerals in the “First name” field or if I press Back after sending my form? A good QA tester cannot just assume that a feature works as intended. It  is the first step to miss a potential problem. They should be able to look at software from many different angles and test scenarios that no one else would even think of.

  • Strong communication skills

Both testers’ and developers’ time is precious – it would be a waste to spend it on endless back-and-forth communication. That is why QA specialists need to be able to report their findings in a clear and understandable manner.They should also know how to choose the right language and tone of voice depending on their reader – so that both technical and non-technical people can understand them.After all, if a tester cannot write down steps to replicate a bug, developer won’t be able to fix it.

  • Quality-oriented approach

Some say that a tester’s job is all about trying to break the software. While that approach is not entirely wrong, there is much more to testing. They not only try to find faults in the work of developers. A dedicated QA specialist brings a quality-obsessed mindset to work and remembers that their ultimate goal: „To refine the software into a product of the highest standard”.

  • Prioritizing

A great software tester is aware of the ever-approaching deadlines and has no trouble deciding what to prioritize. They can quickly identify the most commonly used areas and features of the software. Later this knowledge is being used to decide on the essential tests. They should also be able to execute them according to their priority level. And let’s not forget all the project-related documentation, artifacts, and reports. QA specialist always needs to have the organization skills to deliver them on time.

 

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  • Attention to detail

Not all bugs are obvious, and sometimes the smallest errors can have massive consequences. Example? In 1998 a NASA’s orbit probe worth over 600 million dollars disintegrated in space because of… wrong time units in the ground computer’s software. That’s why a QA tester should be thorough enough to catch even the tiniest problems – even if they are hidden. Double- or even triple-checking everything is a necessary habit to learn.

  • End-user perspective

Understanding your customer is crucial, and not just for product owners or designers. As a QA tester, you often have to ask yourself: Who is going to be using this software? Why? How old are they? Are they technical or non-technical people? Only adapting the end-user perspective will allow you to predict the final scenarios of product use.

  • Technical knowledge and skills

While some might think this should only apply to automation testers, we believe otherwise. Technical expertise and coding skills are essential when you have to decide which tests should be automated (and execute them). Although there are many other situations where specialized knowledge comes in handy. For example, it might help you decide which testing tools should be used for the particular application. Understanding the code also makes it easier to identify a bug or to better understand the limitations of the software.

  • Lifelong-learner mindset

The whole IT sector is constantly changing, and quality assurance is no exception here.

New technologies, automation tools, or scripting languages emerge right as you are reading this article. Though, every QA tester needs to be able to keep up with them. They should always be on a lookout for a new book, online tutorial, QA conference, or a blog entry. Everything that helps them hone their skills and improve their knowledge is crucial.

  • Team player attitude

Cooperation always yields the best results – and software development is no exception. Good testers remember that they share a common goal with developers – even if they are a constant source of bugs! – and that goal is to deliver the best product possible. They can appreciate and support their team and are willing to learn from them – but they are also not afraid to ask questions or challenge the solutions of others.

  • Analytical thinking

In the current information overflow era, this is a skill everyone should possess – but it is particularly useful for testers. It can help them comprehend the customer’s expectations and feedback and use it to define the right testing strategy. It’s also necessary for root cause, and requirement analysis, for understanding, and special behaviour analizement of the collected data.

  • Patience and perseverance

Nobody likes dealing with bugs – but that’s what a large part of a QA tester’s work is all about. They need to be constantly vigilant and ready to come up with new approaches and fresh angles on the application.Under such constant pressure, it might be easy to lose focus, get frustrated, or run out of creative juices. Still, the best testers need to be prepared to push through those obstacles and emerge victorious.

Do you feel that you have what it takes to make it in the QA world? Or maybe the list still seems intimidating? Even if it does, don’t worry – most of these skills can be learned with enough practice and diligence. What is important to remember is that testing is not only about hard skills – it requires just as much technical knowledge as it does curiosity and creativity. Fortunately, according to our QA specialists, the job can be as rewarding as it is challenging.

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6 do’s and don’ts of video calls


Can you imagine a day of work without video conferences? Neither can we. They are convenient, easy to set up, and they help companies save time and money. And with the increased remote working time and the travel limitations caused by the global pandemics, there seems to be no better way to stay in touch with clients and team members.

Video calls are here to stay

The numbers show that even those reluctant towards video calls are warming up to the idea. Since the beginning of 2020, the number of video calls has skyrocketed, with some major players on the video conference software scene noting an increase in users as big as 2000%. That’s over 2 million downloads a day.

It is also clear that customers are eager to look for custom solutions that work best for their businesses. Statistics from a software review site TrustRadius show that in April 2020 the interest in video conference applications was up to eight times greater than in January of the same year. The time customers spent evaluating different options was also about three times longer as compared to before the pandemic.

 

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Source:TrustRadius

How to stay professional during video calls

Despite the rising interest in web conference software, video calls can still be uncharted territory for some people. And while each company has its own communication standards, following some universal rules can ensure that a meeting goes smoothly and without distractions. Here are six etiquette tips that will help you leave a great impression during your video calls.

1. DO – Being on time

Everybody has experienced a situation when a meeting could not begin for several minutes because of one late joiner. Video conferences are no different. It’s not uncommon to start a lunch break or get engaged in your next pressing task just to suddenly realize that you were supposed to log into that meeting fifteen minutes ago. 

The easiest solution is to set up a reminder, by using a calendar or email app, or even a phone. However, if you cannot help joining a few minutes late or you won’t make it to the meeting at all, make sure to notify the host or a team member as soon as possible. This will help them save time they would otherwise have to spend on small talk. And remember – every five minutes wasted in a meeting of ten people amounts to fifty minutes of your company’s working time.

2. DON’T – Not setting up your space

Although working from home grants much personal freedom, company meetings are the perfect occasion to showcase your professional attitude. How to do that? Make sure that you are dressed for the audience– and while that doesn’t need to mean wearing a full shirt and collar set, pyjamas are definitely out of question. The rule of thumb is to make sure your look reflects what you would usually wear at the office. It’s also important to clean up your surroundings before the call. Dirty mugs or children’s toys lying around are not going to leave the best impression.

However, if there is nothing you can do about the state of your home office, consider blurring your background or using a virtual one. Just make sure it’s appropriate to the occasion – you don’t necessarily want to negotiate a contract with a client from the inside of an X-wing.

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3. DO – Checking your equipment

Nothing slows a conference call down quite like its participants adjusting their audio or video settings for several minutes. That is why you should always check your equipment ahead of time. Call your teammates or use the testing feature of your video call application to make sure that your microphone picks up audio and the camera works as intended. Remember to make sure that your internet connection is stable– if not, consider switching to a different network, turning off your VPN, or using a wired connection.

Don’t forget about the software as well. It’s not unusual to attempt starting a call just to find out that your application needs an update. Try joining the meeting several minutes earlierso that you have time to fix any potential issues.

The right application is all the more important if you are a host of the meeting.  According to the 2019 Impact of Video Conferencing reportby lifesize, over 41% of respondents pointed at the overly difficult downloading or joining process as the main detractor to their call experience. Solution? An entirely web-based video call platformlike Vicodo. Once you schedule a meeting, Vicodo sends your customers a convenient invitation link via email and text message that they can open in any browser. No more struggling with heavy executable files or forgotten passwords.

4. DON’T – Not using the mute button

Even if you don’t work from a local coffee house, there is a chance that your remote workplaceisn’t perfectly quiet. There might be trash collection happening outside the window, or perhaps your dog refuses to stop barking. A better quality microphone might help with muting out some of the background noise, but even the best hardware won’t help if you suddenly need to cough or take a sip of water.

All of these might pose a distraction to the other participants. That is why we recommend muting your microphone whenever you’re not talking. This will help everyone focus on what the speaker is saying. Be careful not to keep it muted at all times, though – you don’t want to deliver a five minutes speech just to notice that you had been the only person who could hear it.

5. DO – Keeping your camera on

This is, without a doubt, the most controversial point on the list. While audio-only participation can be a blessing for some people, here at Mood Up Team we strongly recommend keeping the camera on throughout the whole meeting. Why? Here are our reasons:

  • It shows your engagement– your teammates or clients can see that you are paying attention instead of absently browsing your phone.
  • It builds relations. In a conversation, facial expressions and gestures are everything. Seeing them in real time not only makes you feel closer to your fellow participants, but it can also prevent you from being misunderstood.
  • It helps you feel connected. It’s natural to feel isolated or detached after a prolonged period of remote working. Seeing the faces of your coworkers helps you remember that they are more than just usernames on a screen.
  • It can be a conversation starter. It is not every day you get a glimpse into your coworkers’ private lives. Who knows, you might spot a cat demanding attention or a funny poster on the wall.01 01

6. DON’T – Getting distracted

Once you are done speaking or the current point on the agenda is not relevant to you, it might be tempting to get on with your other tasks. Try to avoid that – replying to emails, checking slack, or browsing your phone can wait. Being attentive and listening to your coworkers is guaranteed to leave a much better impression.

If you really need to reply to a message or search for a file, make sure to communicate that to the other participants to avoid long periods of silence. And if you want to show that extra attention, here’s a tip – remember to look straight into the camera. Your teammates will get the impression you’re keeping eye contact with them and will know you are listening attentively.

Doing it right

In the current challenging times, video conferences are invaluable means of communication and collaboration. As more and more companies are transitioning to remote working, the demand for upkeeping an online meetings etiquette will increase – and with our list, you’re already ahead. By following these tips and preparing ahead of time, you can make sure that your next video calls are much more smooth and efficient.

 

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6 questions startup founders should ask themselves before developing an app

 

App development is all the rage these days and you might be seriously considering developing one for yourself. What you have to keep in mind, however, is that undertaking such a project requires the collaboration of a wide range of skills and can be costly for a startup. Why we say as such is the development of an app does not stop at the end of its technical development and needs to be marketed and maintained. 

Do not lose heart, as developing an app can, in fact, help you achieve your business goals, provided it is done right. How do you do it right? 

Answering the questions below might be a good start. 

1. Do I really need an app?

You might consider this strange coming from us since our main bread and butter is in app development. We are, however, also a client-first company, realise that startups are usually bootstrapped and have no hesitation in shooting down grandiose ideas that might just end up sucking money with no discernible return on investment. 

So some of the questions you need to ask yourself to answer the question on whether you need an app are 

  • Is there a gap in the market?
  • Is there a healthy return on investment in this gap?
  • Are there any direct and indirect competition? 
  • Are you committed to this or jumping on the app-building bandwagon

2. Who is my customer?

An app made for everyone isn’t going to be used by anyone. 

It’s important that you identify the end-users of your app as it is to their needs your app should be catering to. This information is pivotal in creating user personas that help the design team understand the user demographics, behaviors, motivators, goals and pain points. 

If you’re not too sure on the above information on your end-users, it’s worthwhile to invest some time and resources to do so, as this information in pivotal in communicating your idea to your app development partner. 

3. How do I plan on monetising it?

App development can be a costly investment and one in which you should be earning a good return on investment. Give some thought as to how you plan on recouping your costs with the below questions. 

  • Will the app be free to download, paid or freemium?
  • If it’s free, what strategies will you be using to earn money?
  • If it’s paid, what is the price point you will set it at?
  • If it’s freemium, which features are free and which are paid?

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Sourced from Clearbridge

4. Who’s going to develop my app?

The right answer here isn’t freelancers as a great app is a sum of many skills brought together. 

Developing an app first needs designers who are proficient in User Interfaces (UI) and  User Experiences (UX). These designs must be created using user personas and tested before being passed onto the development team who then begin work on the coding. The code developed must then be passed on the Quality Assurance (QA) team who will test it for bugs and proper functionality. 

App development is a complex process which is why we recommend you to give some careful consideration before picking one. A couple of things you might want to look at when doing so is

  • Experience – have they developed similar to yours?
  • Reviews from previous clients – look beyond the reviews on their website and on websites such as Clutch. We also urge you to reach out to their previous clients to get a first hand account of how their partnership with the said app developer was. 
  • Software development model- is the software house working on the waterfall or agile methodology?
  • Pricing model – will the software house be charging you on fixed or on an agile contract?
  • Communication model- how often can you expect updates and/or replies? What are the tools used for communicating with clients?

5. What’s my plan for marketing?

The greatest app in the world can remain unused if no one knows about it. 

Your marketing does not need to have an ad budget with many zeros behind it, but a sizable amount experimenting to understand what works and what doesn’t. Make a plan on who your customers are, where they are and what they do to better understand what you can do to get their attention. Below are a few things you might want to focus on when releasing your app to the app store. 

  • App screenshots to showcase your app in the App/Play Store 
  • App description 
  • App Store Optimisation (ASO)
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing 

Don’t have the necessary know-how? Look for help from an external boutique agency so as to maximise the potential of your marketing budget. 

App_marketing_best_practices

Sourced from Apptentive

6. How am I going to fund it?

As hard as it is, we must talk about the means through which you will be funding the development of your app. Giving this some serious thought from the get-go itself is important as the cost of research, design, development, testing, launch, marketing and many other expenses related to producing an app can take a sizable chunk of any start-up budget. With that being said there are several means through which you can raise capital for your app

  • Friends and family- the easiest mean of raising some capital is through those who know and have trust in your vision. Just remember to treat them as investors who trusted you and take good care of the money they entrusted you with. 
  • Partners- reaching out and locking in several partners who possess different skills is a great idea to raise funds and make use of their technical expertise. 
  • Crowdfunding- with a plethora of crowdfunding websites to pick from, there is simply no excuse for not giving crowdfunding a go if you have very limited budgets. Crowdfunding your ideas can also serve a fantastic means of validating your idea as an idea that many are willing to back via investments is one that will get traction once it’s released. 
  • Funding contests- with many organizations, companies, or even startup incubators hosting contests for those who are looking to fund their ideas, a great pitch can take you a long way. These contests are extremely competitive, so make sure you do your research, craft an engaging pitch and practice as much as possible. 
  • Angel investors- a very attractive option for some startups as angel investors bring the required financing as well their business acumen to help run the project. Do, however, remember that Angel investors can only be bought in if you are willing to hand over a portion of the equity of the project to match it.

Conclusion

We realise that wrapping your head around all the steps and processes needed to bring an app to life can be difficult. All the more so as an incorrectly developed app can fast become a liability, sucking your funds dry in comparison to the asset you expected it to be. It’s for this reason that we recommend you to hire a software consultancy company that can help narrow the idea and provide an end to end service for startups such as yourself.