The Calvium process: what’s it like to work with us on a project?


5 minute read
Alumni: Charlie Harman

Alumni: Charlie Harman

Marketing Manager

Digital Insights

Whether we’re creating an AR placemaking experience for a heritage site or building a nutrition tracking app, every project we work on is unique. Our guiding tenet, though, is to work closely with our clients and make sure what we build is a perfect fit for them and their audience.

While some clients provide us with a complete app spec, meaning we can agree a fixed budget and build it, many come to us with an idea and are in need of guidance from start to finish.

In this respect, we’re more than just a tech company. We create user experiences, and to do this takes consultation, iterative development, user testing and more.

To do this, we follow the core principles of the agile methodology:

  • focus on user needs
  • deliver iteratively
  • keep improving how your team works
  • fail fast and learn quickly
  • keep planning

For our engineering and enterprise clients, this means a familiar working practice with proven results. For our heritage audience, this means an adaptive and fluid approach to experiences; one with a fixed brief, but which allows for richness and creative input at every stage.

So that’s the overarching process. What about the nitty gritty?

First steps and creating a plan

i) Once a client has reached out to us (greetings!), we work to understand their context and worldview. Based on this information, we create a proposal.

ii) When the proposal has been accepted, including any necessary tweaks, we create a milestone project plan.

iii) Next, we have a kickoff meeting, usually a full day, which allows us to workshop and brainstorm wide ideas for the project, and to develop user personas. This meeting is a chance for us to really get under the skin of both client and project.

Lining up sprints

iv) Based on the kickoff meeting, we create a detailed activity project plan, scheduling work over a series of sprints and breaking the project into chunks. The first phase might just be for the stakeholders to get a feel for what the app might look like and what it might do, while subsequent project milestones might be particular elements of the app or stages of development.

v) With work underway, we send weekly updates and, in some projects, schedule weekly meetings on Google Hangouts to talk through progress.

vi) At the conclusion of each sprint, we review progress and next steps, taking feedback and input from user trials to inform the goals of the next sprint. At each stage we revise the product, identifying where we need to make improvements or tweaks, and subsequently refining it. This is the core concept of agile development. You’re not rigidly bound to your original plans, and if you discover a better way to do something, you can make a course correction and switch to a different path.

Agile development: At Calvium, we revise and refine each project at every stage.

Being able to see and interact with the product means you’re not speculating on something you’ve not tried out. There’s a huge value in getting feedback early, and finding out if an idea is a non-starter or if there’s a better one. This can save a huge amount of money in the development process. What’s more, because stakeholders are looped in at every stage, and can provide ongoing confirmation, there are no surprises for anyone.

vii) Finally, after a process of collaborative iteration and refinement, we launch the first version product! Time for fireworks and a glass of bubbly.

The launch

While we’re a techie bunch, we also have huge experience in the softer side of app development, namely – the marketing, PR and more. Apps don’t exist in a vacuum, and without the right kind of exposure, they might launch with a whimper rather than a roar. We’ve overseen enough large projects across different sectors to know what works and what doesn’t, and we want to see your app succeed as much as you do.

The point is, our work isn’t finished once the first version of the app has been signed off, we can use our expertise to guide you through every element of the process.

…and beyond!

The launch is the razzling, dazzling showcase for the app, but the work doesn’t end there. To be a success, an app needs to attract and encourage ongoing engagement. In the months and years after launch we can be your guides, offering analytics, maintenance, and ongoing support to ensure your app stays relevant.

This doesn’t just mean reacting when things go wrong (although that’s part of it), we can also be proactive – adding features, and letting you know when a new piece of tech is about to land that could be relevant. Apps evolve, and this aftercare ensures a longer, more effective shelf life for your investment.

Our clients are big fans of our co-creative process and have praised us for being “friendly and approachable” (direct quote!) and for driving highly effective collaboration across teams.

Whether your focus is on engineering or heritage, apps and placemaking experiences are a real investment and can become an integral part of your brand. Naturally, every project we work on is different, but if there’s one word that we’d use to describe our process, it’s co-creation.

You can read about some of the people that we’ve helped, and the projects that we’ve worked on together, here.

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