Project Feature: iManPower

Vensi is changing the world one mobile application at the time. We are thrilled with the caliber and variety of projects our talented team has been able to bring to life. And although it’s great to have top talent on the creative and technical side, not every project is completed without facing unexpected challenges, twists and turns…

In fact, it takes a very tightly choreographed group of professionals, both on the client side and on our side, collaborating seamlessly, to build a great custom mobile application.  It takes solid planning and excellent communication to ensure quality and a great overall experience and discipline and commitment to stay focused and on schedule.  Every day, each project presents us with the opportunity to demonstrate our deep commitment to our clients, to provide innovative solutions and exceed their expectations.

Today, we want to share a view into a project where not everything went according to plan.   The unexpected happened multiple times and like a finely tuned special forces team, we improvised and overcame.  This series of curveballs makes this project an interesting case study for Vensi’s flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness to the real-world conditions under which apps are sometimes built…

The Project

iManPower is an iPad application that enables managers in the construction industry to manage their projects and workforce in a simple and efficient manner. With this application, a manager can see at a glance where each member of their workforce (laborers, masons, foremen, etc.) is located and to which project they are assigned. It also makes it easy to move them from one project to another while being able to see total numbers for each project with a real-time graphical display. The app can produce and share reports of different types and keep track of various performance and compliance measures. iManPower was designed and built to help construction companies improve efficiency, reduce costs, and mitigate risks by allowing the company to keep track of where people are supposed to be working at any given moment as well as track important workforce parameters.

Challenges Faced By Vensi’s Development Team

Cost: Illinois Masonry Corp (IMC) asked Vensi to design and build an iPad app that would fulfill the client requirements in a cost-effective manner.  The initial scope of this app was straightforward and simple and the budget was proportionately modest. However, after some initial conversations, the project quickly grew in scope and budget as we worked with the client to realize its enormous potential. Eventually, we decided to break up the project into smaller pieces. This enabled IMC to receive multiple releases,  pay for them as they were completed, and spread the cost over a longer period of time.

Scope: As is the case in some software development projects, the scope of iManPower evolved and grew over time. Setting up the project workflow in a phased approach enabled Vensi to complete basic functionality and features first. As the initial release was completed, approved, accepted and paid for, we continued to discuss and plan for new

features and functionality. Once we agreed on the definition of the new features, Vensi prepared a new estimate for the work and submitted it for approval. After IMC reviewed and approved the new proposal, Vensi got to work on the new release. Using this agile and iterative approach allowed the project to keep moving forward even when the features and requirements of the app were fluid and prone to change.

Project Management: We run a very lean and efficient operation, which is part of the reason Vensi is so cost-effective and can offer unrivaled value.  The trade-off is the risk we run when a key member of our team is unexpectedly out of commission. We experienced some challenges with the delivery schedule in the early stages of iManPower because of the illness of a key member of our staff. As a result of this experience, we adjusted our internal process to ensure we have adequate backup or coverage, have cross-trained our staff, and documented projects well so other developers can jump in and keep things moving forward.  This is a delicate balance, when you are trying to maintain a lean cost structure.  Most of the time the balance is good, on occasion, we are pushed to become even more innovative and creative.

Results: We know we have top tier talent which is highly trained, very capable, and super motivated and they can take on any project and challenge, but as much as we like to talk about our people and our work, we prefer to let our work speak for us.   Because we ask and get continuous feedback from our clients, we are able to make necessary adjustments when we see something needs to be fixed on the fly.  For this reason, the feedback we get at the end of a project tends to be very positive, as in the case of IMC.

Here’s what IMC had to say to us about their experience with iManPower:

“Vensi’s talented and candid staff places them well above the sea of developers.  IMC’s first app development, iManPower, was successful based on the quality of people working on the project.  Their meticulous planning and creative storyboards leaves you with a crystal clear picture of what the project will look like.  But like any project, unknown errors and problems can cripple the progress.  iManPower’s deadline for Phase I was delayed from unexpected events and lack of communication.  Vensi Inc. promptly recognized the issue and got the project back on course for a strong finish.  Their ability to rebound has led to two additional phases, where the development process is coming closer to seamless.  Vensi has been a perfect fit for developing our first app and for growing that app into something much larger and complex.”

Vensi was presented with the opportunity to build a great new tool and in the process challeges were identified and overcome, systems and processes were adjusted, lessons were learned, and a very cool and useful new product was born – iManPower.  And now we’re on to the next phase!

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