7 Tools That Optimize Our Work While Building Startups

7th October 2017 |
5 min read

When asked what matters most while running a project, I don’t hesitate to answer that efficient communication is what makes or breaks your endeavor. The more complex the project, the more important this becomes. Complexity is defined not only by the project’s characteristics themselves but also, or maybe above all, by the type and number of stakeholders involved in the process.

At INNOVATIKA, one of our core services refers to delivering new products for our corporate clients through the Startup as a Service (SaaS) formula. Considering that these are most often digital projects, there is usually a need to outsource for tech expertise in a certain field. Consequently, this adds up to at least three different entities involved in the project management process. Sounds like a challenge, right?

One of the projects we’re currently running, together with one of our corporate partners, aims at delivering digital solution for the food-tech market. In this type of venture, we usually take care of both main streams: business and technology. Each of these is pretty extensive and equally important, hence, they both require a distinct path with a different person in charge.

Bearing this complexity in mind over the past few months, we have been experimenting at INNOVATIKA in order to enhance communication during the product development process. We believe that the transparent flow of information forms the cornerstone of any successful project so we tried, tested and… dumped many tools along the way. However, we also picked up some new ones that did meet our expectations. Here, you can find a list of our current winners:

Trello is an important tool for planning business goals (not always product-related); for upcoming sprints as well as your daily to-do-lists. Dedicated boards bring transparency to the table, giving you a full overview of your project and allowing you to easily track day-to-day progress.

Slack brings all of our project-related communication into one well-organised place. It’s our first choice to communicate on the fly, in and out of the office. Last but not least, we use Slack for company-wide announcements and of course, some non-work banter.

Thanks to the seamless integration offered by G Suite, a team can work on the same docs in real time on different devices. Additionally, we find it useful to share files and folders with our clients via dedicated links. It makes the whole process more transparent and better organised.

We’re agile – meaning that daily stand-ups and weekly planning meetings are hardcoded into our work routine. Zoom is a fantastic tool for remote communication – video conversations can be recorded and calls easily managed. There is no need to register to use the app, so one-off guests can jump into meetings comfortably.

Creating a visual roadmap for your product is important business-wise, especially when working on software-based solutions. Aha! facilitates the planning process as you are able to effectively structure the product backlog, while at the same time being driven by business goals. The latter results in an enhanced development process as the tech team is capable of grasping the product vision more fully.

In Jira, we track the pace of software delivery and the progress of certain tasks. Moreover, thanks to Jira Confluence we can store tech-related notes and exchange them with ease. For developers, it is a single source of truth. We love synergy, so it’s no surprise that Aha! and Jira work together seamlessly.

Zeplin allows faster work flow and enhanced capabilities in collaboration between designers and front-end developers. Our UI/UX experts prepare wireframes based on end-users’ needs and the development team implements them afterwards.

Before introducing any new tools, we always run local experiments (usually in project teams). Based on the feedback provided, we evaluate them by comparing them with existing solutions. Being accepted locally, a new tool is introduced at the company-wide scale for a trial period, especially when it requires a monthly subscription.

So, this is our toolkit for optimized communication. It’s surely not an exhaustive list as the market keeps on surprising us with new ideas almost every day. Plus, you know – we’re INNOVATIKA –  constantly striving for more innovation.

It’s important to note that none of the ‘commonly accepted’ tools are mandatory at INNOVATIKA. We believe in extreme ownership – meaning that everyone has a right to decide on their workflow and associated toolkit. We don’t have a dedicated R&D Department – we are all innovators here.

Let us know how you tackle communication challenges in your projects, and learn more about the work we do at www.innovatika.com

Wojtek Wodyński | Product Owner
Digital product developer, venture builder. Experienced in business model design and product management, certified Scrum Product Owner with ‘what for’ rather than ‘can do’ approach.

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