Based in Warsaw, Poland, Intent supports a wide variety of businesses in everything from product design and user experience to the development and deployment of connected devices. It caters to various industries, with clients including ŌURA sleep tracker, quiz HQ, Tomorrow Health, Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, and Nike.
To see how Intent tailors its approach to customer needs and how the company helps its customers bring their products to market, we spoke with Wojciech Borkowski, its Business Development Manager, and CTO Peter Tuszynski.
As a developer shop, how involved are you in helping customers validate ideas before they go to market with their applications?
Our service goes beyond being a typical development store, as we align with clients to be “thinking partners” – this is the methodology we use when approaching any new project. We help our clients to validate their ideas, because their success is crucial for the outcome of a project. We act as a second pair of eyes and evaluate the project and its assumptions through our frameworks and techniques, such as design sprints and lean canvas.
We only accept a small percentage of clients who approach us, as we are highly specialized in providing digital solutions where a physical device is present.
It is important to have a proven process for product validation. Our customers are often very focused on the hardware side, which forces us to be more diligent when working on the software/firmware side of the project to make sure everything will work together well.
Can you describe the process for admitting new clients? How do you assess their needs and what information do you need before you can share an estimate of the project schedule and budget?
We apply our own processes partially or entirely depending on the state of progress of the customer in the development of its products. Our PM and UX teams also host workshops, as we usually work with new types of projects and things we’ve never done before.
We need to understand the budget, project goals and timelines to help the client navigate the project and make it meet their needs. This is done through workshops and a few methodologies that we use to align with the client in terms of knowledge and scope of the project.
Help TechCrunch find the best software consultants for startups. Provide a recommendation in this quick survey and we’ll share the results with everyone.
What is a ballpark estimate for an average project and how often do you communicate with clients once work is underway?
Every project is different, but the majority of projects are in the six-figure range.
We have developed different working methods that we apply depending on the type of project and the client’s expectations. We deploy a range of tools to keep customers informed, and this is usually accompanied by different types of meetings, such as developer dailies and weekly or bi-weekly demos and planning sessions, which follow a Scrum format.
What percentage of your customers are non-technical people who have an idea, but no coding experience? How much of a limitation is this for launching an application?
About 50% of our clients are non-technical founders starting a net new project, which means Intent acts as a “thought partner” or, in effect, a CTO for their project. Many founders of successful startups have no technical background, but have excellent product, sales, and marketing skills. Being non-technical is therefore not a limitation when it comes to working with the right technology partner.
We don’t just act as a partner, we can also help them build their own internal team, even going so far as to hire a CTO.
As a consultant, is helping clients avoid scope drift part of your role? If so, how do you help manage their expectations?
Yes, that’s why we focus on understanding their customers’ personalities and user journeys. We then work with the client to define their MVP using industry-leading shop floor methodologies and processes.
We place great emphasis on prioritizing functionality that goes into the prototype and we actively avoid reinventing the wheel by using many off-the-shelf components that we can quickly integrate into the project without spending a lot of time doing custom development. .
What is your average time to deliver a functional application after signing a contract? What do you need to accomplish before you can share wireframes?
Each project is very different, because we try to prioritize the development of new ideas that take us out of our comfort zone. That said, we can usually create an MVP for any product in four months.
Do you also oversee the quality assurance process? Can Intent help customers navigate the app store approval process?
Not only do we oversee the QA process, but we strongly believe in engaging QA engineers from the early days of the project so they can get a head start on designing the overall test strategy and creation of test cases.
Additionally, our staff has in-depth knowledge of the approval process for a given application platform, as well as the guidelines that must be followed. Our engineers regularly attend conferences such as Apple’s WWDC or Google’s IO, where they can meet and chat with the people responsible for the approval process so they can offer better support in the event of an unexpected issue. when submitting the application.
Do you provide marketing services?
We don’t offer pure marketing services to clients, but we can help them find personas for their client types, which in turn helps them identify the best distribution channels.
Do you work on both hybrid and native apps? What can you tell us about the pros and cons of each, and when do you encourage customers to switch to hybrid?
We work on native and hybrid applications. Since we specialize in creating applications that communicate with various peripheral and connected devices, native technologies prevail. However, we have experience working with almost all hybrid stacks (React Native, Flutter, etc.). In fact, we maintain some of the most widely adopted open source Bluetooth Low Energy libraries for ReactNative.
Every project is different and a lot of the work we do is new, which means it hasn’t really been done before. There is no miracle solution that we recommend to our partners. However, our team has found Flutter to be great for quickly deploying prototypes. For apps that require the native look, especially on iOS, we tend to lean towards a native toolchain.
Have you ever turned down a client? Are there any apps you won’t be working on, eg games, dating, etc. ?
Unfortunately, we only accept a small percentage of clients who approach us, as we are highly specialized in providing digital solutions where a physical device is present. The connected device industry is still maturing, which means we’ve had to coin our own term, “PxD”, which we describe as “the intersection of physical and digital”. A good cultural fit is also an important factor on both sides, as no one wants to clash throughout the project.
Who owns the source code once the project is complete? How is the source code managed?
The intellectual property rights of the project and ownership of the code belong to our partners. We do not practice vendor lock-in. We have found that the best way to retain a customer is to deliver exceptional work backed by years of experience.
Typically, we use Github to store all of our source code and integrate it into continuous integration pipelines so that every piece of code our engineers submit to the repository is automatically tested and built. For some specific projects, we’ve aligned with our partner’s setup, which includes Gitlab and self-hosted git repositories.