Anton Baterikov, CTO at Steelkiwi Inc., has given an interview for TopDevelopers recently. He answered a list of questions about his role in the company, explained how project timelines are defined, spoke about pricing models the company adheres to and how the company helps clients make decisions. He also shared his vision as far as IT industry is concerned.
Snippet about Steelkiwi Inc.
1. Give us a quick overview on Steelkiwi Inc. When and how did you begin this journey and what were your motives to be successful in app development?
SteelKiwi is an American outsourcing software company with two development offices in Vinnytsia and Odessa, Ukraine. Our company was founded in 2011 with the initial focus on Python/Django. We entered the mobile development market in 2012, and have been developing native mobile apps for iOS and Android ever since. We have 4 major departments: web development, mobile development, quality assurance (QA), and graphic design department. When starting our own company, our core values were and still are to create complicated and high quality products for customers.
2. What is your role in the management and development of Steelkiwi Inc.?
I am a CTO. I am responsible for the technical stack of the company and for continuous improvement of technical expertise, as technologies are moving forward every single day. I make sure that all internal processes in our company function as expected. I also work toward improving our enterprise resource management processes and strive to make them convenient for our staff.
3. Tell us about your biggest achievement in the industry
We developed a game that lets you collect points for your successful parking. The game was created for Android and had 400K downloads. It got 3.9 rating.
We are proud holders of numerous awards of Top Web and Mobile Developers in Ukraine from such independent companies as Clutch.co, Appfutura, topappdevelopmentcompanies, and GoodFirms. We have deep expertise in healthcare, on demand services, e-learning, and more. To prove this, read our portfolio.
Also, we consider our achievement to be the positive feedback we get from our clients personally and on platforms like Clutch.co. Myself and Slava, CEO, do not interfere with the work of our staff. They lead the project from inception to its launch. This fact speaks eloquently about qualification of our staff, established collaboration within the team and how dedicated our staff are to the work they do. When we read our clients’ feedback, we understand that we are moving in the right direction. We are proud of how independent and well-taught our employees are.
Collaboration with clients
4. How do you schedule the development phases of the apps to promise the timeline to your clients?
To make sure we deliver on time and within budget, we collect a team headed by a project manager. The team studies the project requirements and all supporting materials and gives a detailed estimation of the scope of work. When the team tells the project manager the timeframe. It’s impossible to build a good product without communication. Therefore, the project manager also adds hours necessary for all kinds of meetings: daily, demo, planning, and retrospective. Adding all these hours up, the project manager understands how many sprints are necessary to meet the deadline. Apart from the time necessary for development and communication, risks that may occur and influence project delivery date are also estimated and presented to the client. If for some reason the client needs less hours to be spent to meet the deadline for instance, we either exclude some features or create a bigger team to get the job done faster.
5. How do you scheme your pricing model? How do you fix your budget?
We adhere to the two following models. The first one is “time and material” model. After receiving a request from the client, we start finding out the details, in case there is no option to extract the scope of work and write down detailed functional and technical requirements. We assign developers to a project and charge clients a set price per hour of work.
The sister model of “time and material” model is when clients sign a contract. We fix a team, let’s say 10 people, and there is a set price for their full-time workload.
The third “fixed price” model is built upon estimation. To define the total development cost, we write project requirements and create UX/UI design which helps us figure out the amount of hours needed to implement all features. According to this estimation, we tell our clients how much the development will cost. Any change requests assigned to the team by the client or improvements estimated by the team and approved by the client will require additional charge.
In our pricing, we try to be as transparent as possible, providing detailed reports to our clients.
We’ve written an article about software development pricing models recently where we describe and contrast fixed price, time&material, and milestone models.
6. How do you update your business system to be in pace with the technological advancements?
We regularly conduct hackathons and meetups within the company and outside of it. From time to time, we gather our team leads to discuss new technologies and updates and how important they are for our company. We then choose those things we are going to implement. After that, the team leads hold meetups and share their practical knowledge and use cases with their departments regarding the innovations in our company.
Choosing the best platform for app development
7. How do you help your clients in choosing the right yet profitable platform for app development?
First of all, we do research. We try to find what platform is mostly used in a given region where our client’s app will be distributed. Generally, people in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Western Europe use iOS devices. Android dominates in Central and South America, India, Africa, China, the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe, and some other countries. Usually, our clients build for both platforms to have a wider reach, especially if they go international with their solution.
8. Which would you suggest for a successful and profitable business progression, native or hybrid apps? How do you define the factors that influenced you make this choice?
We want to make scalable, quick-to-market products and when we need to choose between native or hybrid app development, native app development is our priority. Native apps show outstanding performance as they are built with platform specific approaches. Apps that maintain a large amount of functionality or process a lot of information (games, social networks, geolocation services, photos exchange services, etc.) should be and must be native.
9. How helpful are the mobile apps developed by Steelkiwi Inc. for your clients in enhancing their business?
Businesses come to us to solve different complex problems with the help of app development. We’ve been able to improve healthcare, education, on-demand services and more. We also offer automating business processes. For example, we’ve built the NexDep app for legal services that helps you find court staff in no time and simplifies the search significantly.
10. What according to you are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?
I think the best way to attain client satisfaction is to understand what each client wants and translate it into a workable solution. Clients praise us for our good communication, skills, quick delivery, and being flexible to changes. To find out what our clients say, visit our page on Clutch.co
Future of mobile technology
11. What are your thoughts about AR, VR and Internet of Things (IoT)?
As far as app development, I think AR and VR will go beyond entertainment and gaming. Both AR and VR possess huge potential when it comes to transforming a diverse range of industry sectors such as travel, medicine, real estate and more.
The number of things connected to internet already exceeds our population. IoT has the potential to encompass and instrument an enormous range of connected devices—including home appliances and utilities, wearables, homes and corporate buildings, industrial processes, medical devices, law-enforcement devices, military equipment, and other connected applications that today might be barely imaginable.
One of the projects we worked on was Possio, an app that ensures vehicle safety. We needed to code a GPS navigator to process different events such as speeding, harsh braking, harsh acceleration, upturns and more.
12. What do you think will be the future of Mobile technology?
Developers and app owners will build apps with greater security in mind as more industries go mobile and require high data protection standards. Apps will become more intelligent than now and interactive with the help of machine learning and AI. Building apps for wearables will be mainstream in the future, too.
Since the world is going mobile, governments will employ strict regulations for mobile apps to ensure user privacy and rights.