Klika develops a robust mobile app for a recognizable digital payments company with millions of users. How we turned a project experiment into a long-term solution for the client.
Our client’s backstory
The digital payments company we work with is a global payments company that disrupts corporate funded payments with virtual and physical disbursements in real-time.
They provide prepaid services for global incentive and reward programs. The company delivers prepaid funds on behalf of a diverse group of corporate clients to their equally diverse target audiences - typically consumers, employees or the sales distribution channel to make the process convenient, secure and as instantaneous as the clients need it to be.
The digital payments company is leading the payments movement to greater value through high-impact brand connections at the intersection of payment. They provide fast corporate funded payments to businesses, their employees, customers, contractors, participants and channel partners through virtual, digital and physical card payments in 160+ countries, 17 languages and 10 currencies.
Who is the product for?
- for all businesses and companies who need real-time smooth payment options whether it's one time or repeat payments
- businesses offering loyalty or gift cards
- market leaders and smaller businesses that want to offer the convenience of instant payment solutions to their clients, employees or business partners
What market need was identified?
Using mobile devices for making payments is a new area where the company saw an opportunity to create value for their clients. With the surge in smartphone and mobile app use, the digital payment company wanted to add a mobile app to their plethora of services to keep up with user needs.
Creating a mobile app that is compatible with the web system and the existing database so it can run smoothly and efficiently.
Challenges for the client
The company wanted to move fast, but they didn’t have in-house expertise for mobile applications development at that moment. The main question they wanted answered was how In-App Provisioning and mobile payments could be used for extending and improving their services.
Hiring mobile developers, onboarding them and setting up in-house team would take time and introduce significant costs in the long run. Defining all processes, tools and technologies could also last long since it would probably require negotiation with several stakeholders. Having in mind that this was supposed to be an experiment project with an uncertain future, starting from scratch was not the best option. The digital wallet company decided to hire Klika as an external team to efficiently create the new mobile app.
Challenges for the Klika tech team
1. One of the big challenges was the fact that the existing software was not developed with mobile applications in mind, therefore it was not able to support an out-of-the-box mobile app. The project required designing and implementing an API that would integrate with existing systems and serve mobile applications.
2. The nature of the project combined with a tight deadline made it obvious that it was a job for an extremely agile, self-organized team, isolated from the rest of the core tech team at the client's site. That way the team could focus on delivering value instead of fitting into existing processes and practices.
3. For the team to be effective, streamlined and simplified processes together with a transparent roadmap and prioritized backlog was of utmost importance to deliver.
How we did it
1. We introduced Lean/startup methodology for the mobile app team and relied on self-organization for efficient performance
The team was formed around the idea of Lean Startup to ease processes and organize the work and the team. Klika assigned a Product Owner who was responsible for communication with the client, defining requirements and negotiating priorities for the MVP. Team organization and the way they worked together was handled solely by Klika and the PO without the client having any impact on that. Self-organization was key in this project to efficiently deliver results.
2. We created a Project Charter to keep up with requirements and deadlines
Prerequisite for the team’s success was a clearly defined Project Charter, which was created by the Product Owner, as the first step of the process. The Project Charter contained requirements and the scope for the MVP, together with priorities and deadlines. In that way, the Klika team enabled the client to transparently monitor the progress of the work. The chosen timeframe for delivering the MVP was three months.
3. We chose Scrum as a framework to simplify processes and create an effective roadmap
For the team to be effective, they needed streamlined and simplified processes together with a transparent roadmap and prioritized backlog. SCRUM was selected as a framework and one-week long sprints in order to have a short feedback loop.
4. Work was split into three threads
Work was split into three threads in order to manage dependencies between different parts of the project.
a.) The first thread was UI/UX design which was set out one or two sprints before mobile applications development. With this strategy, designs were always ready and approved before actual development took place.
b.) The second thread was API specification which was also defined before mobile apps development. Refactoring of legacy systems to support new API was not part of the scope since it would have been a significant effort, so the team decided to create a mock API based on the specification. Mock API provided just enough functionality for building the MVP.
c.) The third thread was mobile application development. The team used native technologies for building Android and iOS applications. To provide an agile development environment, Microsoft App Center was used for continuous integration and delivery to provide efficiency and transparency on all levels. To provide high quality of the solution, detailed code reviews were performed on a regular basis.
5. We used the same design language already in use by the client to match the client's brand and keep it recognizable
The mobile applications were designed using the client's design language, so they share the same look and feel as the rest of client facing applications. New UX ideas introduced in mobile design inspired improvements on existing web applications, especially for mobile devices.
6. QA was assigned to oversee quality and run automated mobile app testing
The team had a dedicated Quality Assurance expert whose responsibility was keeping the quality of the product on a highest possible level. Even though the project was an experiment, the Klika team wanted to create a solid foundation for future development in case the project succeeded. To speed up testing and keep quality on the highest level, the team implemented a framework for automated mobile applications testing, which was a part of the continuous integration pipeline.
The first and most obvious benefit for the digital wallet client was a working concept of the mobile application for one of their core products. It extended the product with new, mobile specific functionalities and started the domino effect that initiated improvements efforts across several legacy systems.
Another benefit was the API specification written for the purposes of mobile apps. The specification was well designed, and it can be used as a starting point for refactoring legacy systems. Once the API was implemented, mobile apps could just be plugged in and they would work.
After only three months, the client got a fully onboarded team of experts with low risk involved. While working in a sandbox, the Klika team learned about the client's existing products, In-App Provisioning and other mobile features, which came in handy for future projects and products.
The way the Klika team worked together and organized themselves to be more effective, inspired the client's entire organization to simplify processes and become more agile.
The end result was that the client got a robust mobile applications development environment, with an automated testing framework and continuous integration and delivery in place.
The team working on MVP was integrated into the client's inhouse tech team and works to this day on products for the client. Meanwhile, the client merged with another big player in the fintech payment industry and Klika was appointed the key software development partner to build and design a new platform from scratch for the client's users.