Mobile Application Design and Development – Meet our Mobile Unit

Author Paula Grubiša
Category Company
Date Oct 14, 2020
8 min read

Units are organized sections of the company that are built around specific services. At Bornfight, we create websites, digital platforms and products, mobile apps and software. It is hard to put this kind of different projects under the same process, and that’s why we created 3 different units — Creative, Product and Mobile. This way, we can adapt all processes to be ideal for a specific service. 

Cross functional teams — roles & responsibilities

A couple of months ago, we gathered highly skilled mobile-oriented individuals in the company and created a Mobile unit dedicated to the creation of mobile applications. It consists of 2 different aspects:

  • Revenue – sales and marketing teams
  • Production – designers, developers and project managers

The unit manager supervises all teams to make sure that the unit is profitable, and is responsible for the people in the unit in multiple ways. For the unit to function properly, people need to be satisfied and connected while working together on the same project, and that is the main focus and responsibility of the unit manager — to take care of every person in the unit individually, and supervise the unit as a whole. There are two main focuses for each team lead in the Mobile unit — specialization and leadership. 

Specialist responsibilities include participation in major projects, cooperation with clients, quality monitoring, conducting discovery workshops, preparing strategies, mentoring team members, supporting others…

The leadership part is focused on the development of the team as a whole and each member individually. The team lead is responsible for the improvement, education and development of each team member — that’s why we have monthly “Quality Time” meetings and individual development talks every 6 months in cooperation with Human Resources. It is extremely important to take care of both individual development and overall team quality, but also to cooperate with clients and delegate tasks between team members. 

Earlier this year, we defined the exact level of seniority of every team member, what is expected from each position, and what steps need to be done to reach the next level. This helped every team and unit internally because every individual knows their expectations and responsibilities. The idea behind this was to allow everyone to develop faster from one level to another — this enables the whole unit to develop in the right way.

Expectations need to be harmonized between all team leads and their team members, and this is exactly what we accomplished with this transparent approach. 

To find out more about seniority levels at Bornfight, download our free ebook!

Most projects are large, extensive and demanding, it is never enough that only one person works on it. But when there is the whole team, each person with its individual skills, specialties and knowledge contributes to the solution to be the best one possible.

Elena Crnković

Design Team Lead

When switching to units, our designers, front-end developers and project managers had to decide whether they wanted to work on websites, products or mobile applications, while Android and iOS developers automatically became a part of the Mobile unit.

As every unit has its own special mindset with a unique approach and process, it was important to position every individual in a specific unit based on its skills, knowledge and preferences.

From the very beginning of every project, it is notable that there are numerous differences in every phase. First phase usually comes in the form of a discovery workshop where the main focus is to find out what is the problem that needs to be solved. We have conducted discovery phases in various forms — from workshops, usability testing and user research, all the way to creating a proof of concept. The form of a discovery we choose depends on the problem we have and what solution we choose to use to solve it. 

To find out more about discovery workshops, check out our blog or download our free ebook.

Clients & projects 

In our company, we have an interesting range of clients — from large corporations to small startups, with the main focus on foreign markets and global companies. We have worked on various interesting projects, from building a companion mobile app for a cutting-edge media monitoring tool and creating an internal business application that functions as a private social network, to designing a blockbuster mobile experience for cinema-goers. Let’s dig deeper into these projects!

  • Mediatoolkit is a 24/7 media monitoring and analytics tool that gathers information from 100+ million online sources. It notifies users in real time whenever their company, competitors, key people from their organisations or any other keyword they decide to track is mentioned online. They tasked us with creating a new iOS and Android application that would enable their customers to use all of Mediatoolkit’s core functionalities on-the-go. We created a separate mobile app for each operating system – this native development approach made the applications more fluid and increased their performance. To find out more about this project, check out Mediatoolkit case study!
  • One of our clients used to conduct a majority of their business communication through Facebook groups, but decided to replace them with a custom tool. That’s how we created Beyond — an internal business application that offers different sets of custom features specifically developed to improve internal communication and productivity in our client’s growing company. This app enabled them to connect with each other across the regions and strengthen the feeling of being a part of one large team that’s working together towards the same goal. If you’re interested in finding out more about Beyond, take a look at the Beyond case study!

  • As cinema-goers are constantly increasing their appetites, and expecting experiences that are more in tune with their needs, cinemas need to go above and beyond to provide users with services that’ll keep them coming back for more movie excitement. The Filmdom app was designed to adapt itself to specific users based on their interests, chosen favorites and previous activities. To translate the app experience offline, we implemented features that allowed users to see a new movie without the need to ever stand in line. QR ticket scanners made the entire entry process quick and efficient, while beacon technology enabled users to automatically put their phones on silent upon entering. Find out more about it in the Filmdom case study!
  • Pvtistes.net is a Canadian-based community platform which gives tens of thousands of young people the opportunity to discover a foreign country and its culture, while being allowed to work through a work permit or visa. By opening a communication channel as a part of the website, the Pvtistes platform enabled the creation of an online community where users can share their experience and references, but they also wanted to create an app for users to have the best possible experience close to them at any time. Quite a lot of content needed to be included in the app and presented to the users in a way that inspires them, instead of overloading them. To find out how we accomplished exactly that, check out the full Pvtistes case study!

There is a lot of cooperation with clients to make it clear to everyone what problem is being solved, and what opportunities are being created. We have positive feedback from clients – they love our approach and mindset because we re-examine with them all the ideas, and together we decide which approach is best for everyone to achieve the greatest possible value.

Tomislav Smrečki

Android Development Team Lead

Mobile technologies 

In the Mobile unit, we use a classic Android tech stack — Kotlin and Android Studio, and for maintaining old projects we mainly use Java. When it comes to iOS development, we mainly use Xcode and Swift. We also used Objective C, but now we try to combine Swift and SwiftUI because we think it has great potential, and we came to the conclusion that it will be fundamental a year from now on, so we decided to slowly get into it. From frameworks, we use RxSwift, Realm and Alamofire, Jira is used for project management, and we also have Vremenco which is an internal time tracking tool. Other than that, we use Unity that serves as a central hub for data and resources, and with Datastudio we track our projects, budget, revenue, and costs in the company. 

We also have tools that we use for handovers to other teams, such as Zeplin and InVision. It helps us transfer work between teams, makes it faster and easier both for designers and developers. Designers use both Figma and Sketch, and InVision also. Most projects that started in Sketch remained in Sketch, but it’s often combined with the Abstract plugin which is like Git for designers. Projects are constantly upgraded, and Abstract helps with the versioning process when 5-6 designers work together on a project at the same time. Figma is great for real-time collaboration as we work a lot with project managers and others in discovery phases… and it is a great tool for small and medium projects.

Mindset & cooperation between teams

When it comes to understanding the needs and problems of the clients, the process differentiates from one another. It is not possible that one person owns that wide range of knowledge, and is capable of selling each service equally. That’s why assigning someone to a special unit has been a great move — a person can focus more clearly on the process, and set realistic goals for the whole team, even the company. 

As for the production side of building mobile apps, we mostly try to incorporate the agile approach and scrum methodology on our projects, we do a lot of testing, iterations and upgrades, then we test again, and this kind of approach allows us to create good products very quickly. The whole process of creating and developing an app is complex, and it differs from web app development because you need to release the app on the store, wait for the review, publish it, test it and when there is an upgrade, send the upgrade notifications to the users…

We have also developed processes and we use automation to automatically test everything we decode on the server, then it builds, deploys, tests… and notifications for the new versions are automatically sent to the users. Everything is well adapted to mobile apps and works great, and the best part of it is that the whole unit is in sync.

We achieve 50% better results since we merged in the units — we expand the most in production teams, and there is a lot of space for new positions that are still emerging and do not yet exist in the company. There are many opportunities for development and specialization in the Mobile unit which brings numerous benefits to the company and people.

Filip Fajdetić

Mobile Unit Manager

Work-life balance

The most important thing in the company is that its employees are happy and satisfied with their assignments and projects. Everyone has flexible working hours, and the ability to work remotely from home or from anywhere they want… even when traveling. When working remotely, everyone is responsible for themselves — you know your responsibilities, you are aware of the deadline, you balance the number of hours per week… No one can supervise your working hours when you’re not in office, and our recent polls have shown that people prefer to work from their home 70% of the time. We are careful not to lose those interpersonal relationships because they are important for the unit and its projects, so the whole mobile unit gathers in the office every 2 weeks to hang out and discuss our projects live. We are also moving towards a 100% remote approach — this has yet to be worked out, but it will also potentially occur in the future. The office is open every day, so every employee can work from the office anytime they want. 

Let’s grow together — join us!

Since we started working in the units, knowledge between teammates is transferred faster, projects are done from scratch with the whole unit together and the best part is innovation.

As we solve many situations on the go, we have created so many new things that we haven’t done before. It is easier to set expectations from people and set their tasks and goals as we work in smaller units. Everyone is connected and in sync, the whole process is much better and faster, and even the whole unit is growing faster. We’re rapidly expanding as new projects are coming up… we’re also developing in all directions, so we’re always on the lookout for new talents that could join us.

We have 5 open positions in the Mobile unit at the moment — take a look at them here and send us your CV!

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We’re available for partnerships and open for new projects.
If you have an idea you’d like to discuss, share it with our team!

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