John Feathers' Post

User Stories: Bridging the Gap Between Customers and Developers (Updated)

When choosing a software provider to create the web or desktop solution your company needs, communication is indeed key, but this may be easier said than done. The gap between programmers and customers can quickly become apparent and is often a challenge to master, as most customers are unprepared to discuss their projects from a strictly technical point of view.

In order to get past these difficulties and effectively relay their requirements, some companies resort to UML or workflow diagrams, while yet others go for UI sketches and lengthy free text descriptions.

At Software Planet Group, however, we think both customers and developers should always be on the same page, and speak the same language (see our article on the system metaphor for more on this subject). This is why wherever we can, we aim to simplify the management of requirements, using tried-and-true techniques that enable us to quickly determine the full scope of a project, estimate and re-estimate particular features and releases.

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Native vs. HTML5 vs. React Native Apps: Who Wins?

In the seemingly eternal battle for mobile domination, campaigns are waged on multiple levels.

However, while most people are well acquainted with the public squabbles of Apple and Samsung, in the background, a much more subtle contest takes place, as programmers and CEOs scuffle to determine the best technology for mobile app development.

Understandably, to the technically disinclined, it may come as a surprise that not all apps are built natively. Yet in reality, not only are alternative technologies extremely common, but there are many valid reasons for putting them to good use.

A Cornucopia of Options

Beyond iOS’ native ObjectiveC and, Swift, and Android’s own version of the Java programming language, software engineers are able to create apps using web technologies like HTML5, or hybrid solutions that include both web and native components, such as Flutter, PhoneGap, React Native, the Ionic framework, among others.

With every case, it is important to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses that will serve to aid companies in their final decision.

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The Importance of Animation in UI Design

While the launch of the iPhone just over a decade ago is rightly hailed as a revolution in mobile technology, it also heralds the beginning of a much quieter — yet comparably significant — transformation. Thanks to touchscreen technology, operating our applications has evolved from merely clicking up and down static lists to pinching, tapping, dragging and swiping our way through our programs.

Paired with modern animation tools, these powerful new ways to interact with our systems pose exciting — and often unexplored — opportunities for any business hoping to better engage with their customers.

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Sitemaps: Your Project at a Glance

Unless you’re a real-life Sherlock Holmes, you’ve probably struggled to make sense of all the information that inherently comes with any large project.

When creating websites especially, this challenge can be tremendous, as in order to minimise clutter and maximise revenue, one must somehow determine which pages should be used and where, as well as how and why.

Thankfully, however, a little trick of the trade exists to curb this problem — to be specific, maritime trade!

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Best Practices for Evaluating Design

For the artistically disinclined, choosing the look that will one day represent your product or company can often be a time of confusion. After all, what constitutes “good” design anyway? Isn’t all of that subjective?

To a certain extent at least, the answer may be yes, but the real goal of any design team is not simply to achieve something attractive — though that too is clearly important — but to effectively communicate through visual means.

With this in mind, we’ve assembled here some expert tips for assessing and critiquing your team’s design.

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Our Rapid Prototyping Process

“I am speed,” declared Lightning McQueen, the fearless red racer voiced by Owen Wilson in Pixar’s animated Cars. His psyching words are a gauging meter for the general mood in the 21st Century — when time is money, then agility must be the word. Anything short of full throttle will put valuable resources at risk.

Of course, the other danger is when too much speed is applied to the wrong processes. And yet every day, countless companies pour their assets away into projects that — unbeknownst to them — are going far off the mark.

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Why Stand-Up Meetings Matter

According to a recent study by the Michigan State University, people who spend a lot of time sitting down are often plagued by slow cognitive function, long-term memory loss and generally poor mental health.

By contrast, the simple act of standing up has been shown to send blood and oxygen pumping throughout our bodies, activating a number of chemicals that not only enhance our brains but also improve our overall mood.

This, however, is merely the scientific case for an Agile practice that over time has proven itself indispensable to development teams across the world, including our own.

We are talking, of course, about stand-up meetings. Whether you know them as “scrums” or “huddles,” the daily stand-up is a powerful practice to increase team unity, coordinate efforts, and share problems and progress in a quick and effective manner.

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Tuning into the Bigger Picture

The great Earl Nightingale once stated that people with goals succeed because they know where they are going. All too often, however, while our short-term goals are more than apparent, tugging and pulling at us with every passing moment, the overarching reason for doing what we do appears to get lost in the process.

In fact, this is often a criticism reserved for Agile development itself. Because so much time is spent focusing on small tasks every week, it is not unheard of for developers to lose sight of important objectives, without which the end result of a project would quickly dissolve into a sloppy, disjointed mess.

“The first step is recognising you have a problem!” the AA meeting — Agile Aid — speaker says in the back. Yet at Software Planet, we take great strides to ensure no problems will arise in the first place.

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Clutch Names SPG Dev Centres as Top B2B Providers

Software Planet Group are delighted to announce that our Ukrainian-based development centres have jointly been selected by Clutch as one of the top B2B providers in the country. This was based on customer feedback, market presence, quality of work and services.

As a company dedicated to a lasting partnership approach, we are honoured to have our efforts recognised by such a client-centric platform. In fact, it is only thanks to the input of our own faithful customers that over the years, Clutch’s review-based website has been able to send many a client our way — and for that, we are abundantly grateful.

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Our Stories: The Boy Who Coded

“You could be great, you know… It’s all here in your head,” the old, raggedy hat whispered just above the frightened countenance of a young bespectacled boy. “And Quality Assurance will help you on your way to greatness!”

“Not QA, not QA,” Igor muttered under his breath.

“No!? Well, if you’re sure, better be… Software development!

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