Enabling a strategic expansion
A comprehensive case study of a "requirements mapping summit" with an ice cream franchise
Mobile apps: the game-changer for modern businesses
Let’s be honest - the power of technological innovation is no longer restricted to tech-based businesses. Even conventional sectors, such as the food industry, leverage these advancements to offer their customers enriched experiences. This case study revolves around one such occasion, where an established ice cream franchise sought our assistance navigating the complex mobile application development realm.
Our client, a well-known franchised ice cream company with multiple outlets, vending machines, and a growing online presence, approached us with a nebulous concept and an openness to guidance. With limited experience in software development, the aim was not just to streamline their idea into a coherent project but also to teach them the fundamental aspects of project validation, strategy development, and the efficient use of resources.
The challenge: unfamiliar territory
It is not uncommon for businesses venturing into technology development for the first time to feel overwhelmed. With a clear understanding of the process, identifying fundamental user needs and potential challenges and mapping a cohesive strategy can be manageable. Our client faced a similar situation, and recognizing this, we recommended our "Requirements Mapping Summit"—a two-day intensive, collaborative session to align the team's vision and create a roadmap for their digital journey.
Day one of our "Requirements Mapping Summit" was dedicated to understanding the current state of the client's business, identifying user needs, and outlining potential challenges. It also aimed at unifying the varied perspectives of the team members into a collective vision.
Day two was an interactive brainstorming session focused on conceiving potential features for the mobile app, visualizing its design, and prioritizing project parameters based on the identified user needs and business objectives.
One of the most important things which can be sometimes neglected is that those sort of sessions facilitate open dialogue among all stakeholders. By creating an environment, where everyone’s voice is treated equally - regardless of their position, we were able to foster open communication and facilitate breakthrough moments. In this case, a few notable comments were made by team members. One of such, challenged the status quo and made the team question some of the most basic assumptions they had in the company. Based on those inputs, we switched from “we take particular user behavior for granted” to “do we really know if clients act like this?”. This allowed for an important breakthrough moment.Learn more about our services
The importance of mapping user perspective
One of the key activities during our "Requirements Mapping Summit" was identifying and understanding the users' perspectives. We found that the client relied on traditional marketing personas, primarily based on demographic data. However, for app design and development, it's not just who the users are (age, job, location) but also how, when, and why they interact with the product. We guided the team to pivot from demographic personas to use-case scenarios—essentially, grouping potential users based on their interaction patterns with the company's products. We identified four main segments: physical location users, self-service (vending) users, franchise partners, and home users. Each had distinct needs, behaviors, and pain points, which helped narrow the project scope and influenced feature prioritization for the app. This shift to user perspective mapping was a breakthrough for the client's team. It allowed them to look at their user base differently and develop a nuanced understanding that could drive not only the project's direction, but also future marketing strategies.
When is a custom mobile app suitable?
The decision to develop a custom mobile app can be exciting, but there are better first steps for some businesses. The situation became more evident in the described case as our "Requirements mapping summit" progressed. After extensive discussion, we know that without reaching out to people we would rely only on guesses. They needed to validate their initial assumptions before committing significant resources. We guided the client to test their hypothesis in the field. In the meantime, our experts from fields such as software architecture, UX/UI and product management focused on synthesizing a scaled-down tool—an MVP (Minimal Viable Product). While this tool wouldn't cover all the envisioned use cases, it could effectively validate the primary assumption. This would become a base for the team to estimate the time and budget associated with production of such tool. We considered a few different scenarios, laid down the decision points and how they might affect the process. We included additional actions around the project which tend to be hidden by many agencies - rolling out, support time and initial guidance on how to use the tool.
Combining the two perspectives, we reached a point where the client could clearly see what resources and validation path he would need for further development. Both - we and the client started to realize it was too early for the client to invest in a full-blown custom mobile app.
Impact and testimonials:
The client's decision to opt for a smaller-scale testing tool was a significant outcome of the "Requirements Mapping Summit". The alignment of strategy and potential risks and the redefinition of user segments based on interaction scenarios considerably narrowed the project's scope In the words of one of the participants, "These two days are saving us so much time and money!" This feedback validated our summit's efficiency and demonstrated its potential to save substantial costs and time for businesses new to software development.
I don't know how other companies throw estimates on clients. Probably out of a hat! This is how it should be done, fully professional
We can definitely see that you have worked hard, and we feel that it was definitely worth it relative to the results we received.
We came down to earth with our expectations and understood what we can and cannot do. Certainly the workshop systematized our visions and ideas, and highlighted the doubts we should have before jumping into the project.
Our engagement with the ice cream franchise reiterated the crucial role of the "Requirements Mapping Summit" in the pre-development phase of software projects. It underlined the importance of considering user perspectives, validating assumptions, and timing investments wisely. For startups and technology companies looking to venture into mobile app development, this case study exemplifies the potential cost and time savings, strategic clarity, and user-centric approach a "Requirements Mapping Summit" can offer. Our expert guidance can help you chart your digital journey, ensuring each step brings you closer to your goals in a validated, cost-effective, and insightful manner.Book a meeting with us to see how we can help you