Please introduce your company and give a brief intro to your role?
Pieoneers builds mobile applications and web software for data-driven businesses and forward-thinking companies. Our clients range from innovative startups to multinational brands and top universities. We use a design-driven development process, focusing on the user and their experience. I am the CEO of Pieoneers. I've been running the company for ten years now and absolutely love my job. I love meeting with the customers, learn about their businesses, values, and aspirations to help them reach their goals. It's an enriching experience.
What was the idea behind starting your organization?
It's the desire to make great software. What's more, we desire to create better experiences for customers using data-driven software - across any platform, mobile or web, in-office, or in the field.
What is your company's business model?
Foremost, Pieoneers is a team of passionate individuals who love their work. Our core team consists of 15 people, and we enjoy working with 25 contractors on a per-project basis. As many forward-thinking software companies do, we've mastered a distributed work process. Our work process and toolset allow for efficient project management and communication across client projects and team geographies. Beyond our team, we've even helped clients like the University of British Columbia in Vancouver establish efficient distributed work processes with their team at the London School of Economics in the UK. We've worked on several projects where 97% of all communication is done in a distributed format combined with intermittent workshops and on-site design sprints.
How is your business model beneficial, from a value addition perspective to clients compared to other companies' models?
Our model is lean and efficient. We're able to cut out most of the overhead by focusing purely on delivering value through positive user experiences powered by production-grade software.
What industries do you generally cater to? Do you have any recurring customers?
Many of our customers are repeated or ongoing and work with us for 3 to 5 years or more. To most of our customers, Pieoneers is a design and technology partner. We work across industries focusing on projects where data has an immense significance to the business. Whether it's a Wikipedia-like platform for historical data with complex visualization tools, or an iPad app for sports leagues with an admin dashboard, analytics, and customized reports, Pieoneers creates software and user interfaces that make the work process enjoyable and stress-free.
Mention the objectives or parameters critical in determining the timeframe for developing a mobile app.
At Pieoneers, we take timelines seriously. Accurate estimates and predictable roadmaps are possible thanks to our planning process. Proactive planning tools such as UX Maps, and Interactive Prototypes, along with a few other tools like Job Stories, provide our clients with detailed project monitoring and enable them to set priorities. This lets the whole team know which feature set needs to be designed and delivered as part of the current release timeframe and which for future release. Another proactive strategy we use is maintaining daily communications and having weekly status reviews - it's essential to stay in touch.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front-end and back-end of a mobile app?
That's an excellent question, and there is no general answer as every project is unique. We've worked on projects ranging from 1,000 to 20,000 hours. In this case, by hours, we're referring only to productive hours in a day.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile app?
One of the first parameters to consider is the target audience. We carefully discuss and research the end-users with a series of questions. For example:
1) How are the end-users going to be able to find the app? Through the App Store? Google Play? Partner websites? Paid ads?
2) The overall technology strategy is also essential. Are there any technological restrictions or advantages that a particular platform offers? For many startups, cost and time to market are critical factors, thus choosing a platform that allows cost and time savings is quite crucial even if some technological luxuries have to wait till more funding is available.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
Each business is unique and is at a certain phase of development. At Pieoneers, we help our customers make educated decisions as to the benefits of each platform for their short-term and long-term goals. For a prototype or a relatively simple app, it may make sense to choose React Native to be able to cater to both iOS and Android users by having one codebase. However, if you anticipate faster growth or a need to increase the complexity, or provide a broader range of features, a native platform iOS (Swift), Android (Kotlin) may give you more advantages when entering the growth stage. The nature of an app also often dictates which direction it's best to look into. Nothing can beat the smooth UI interactions and animations at 60 fps vs. 25 fps with hybrid solutions. Any hybrid platforms always have tonnes of catching up to do and be react to updates and changes released on the native platforms. Nevertheless, the faster time-to-market advantage that both React and Flutter can offer can be the deciding factor for many companies.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
We take budgets and timelines seriously at Pieoneers. We have a meticulous planning process that puts the user and the company goals at the center. By conducting collaborative workshops with our clients and producing UX Maps, we define the priorities and help our clients understand and plan their software releases with precise cost estimates and timelines. We provide flowcharts, user stories/job stories, and supporting documents to make sure our design and development process is as efficient as possible.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions, etc.)
Pieoneers offers a unique work model to our customers. We can work as your technology partner and become a part of your in-house team. The payment structures vary from monthly budgets to milestone-based payments.
Do you take in projects which meet your essential budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
During the active development process, we've worked on projects requiring anywhere from 100 to 1,000 hours per month, from 6 months to 3 years and more. Maintenance phases can vary and require less time; we are usually able to advise on the minimum requirements for each project's unique needs.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2018?
Which business model do you suggest to your clients, enabling them to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
This is an excellent and in-depth question that requires understanding the business model. I would like to invite anyone interested to get in touch with me and have a conversation.