Let’s take a look at the process of putting our team together and getting our app on Codebots. This is Part 2 in the Climate Action App series where we build out a carbon emissions calculator for small/medium businesses.
Gathering the Team
Having an excellent idea for an application will only get you so far; if you want your application to be successful, then you need to make sure that you have the right team for the job. After all, if you have a poorly constructed team, then you will probably end up with a poorly constructed app.
Here at Codebots, we have written extensively around how to form a successful cross-functional team and we have highlighted a few key skills which are a must-have for every product team. When we were putting together our team for the Climate Action App, it was very important to us that we made sure that every role was represented.
Now, we aren’t saying that you need people with certain roles; what we are saying is that you need to make sure you have people with the correct skills. If you have someone who can fill both roles, great! Just make sure you keep an eye on how much time they will need to represent both.
This is the most obvious skill, and generally the first role that people try to fill. After all, you aren’t going to get much of a solution without someone to help you implement it. Developers should be able to work with the code of the application, taking what the bots have written and adding that sprinkle of human touch to take it to the next level. However, a developer also needs to be present during the planning process. They should be able to advise the team on what is and what is not possible, and help them prioritise work. For that reason, they also need a level of confidence and communication skills, so that they can do their job correctly.
Jack is the developer in our team. He is one of the C#Bot engineers and helped to write a lot of the bot code that we are going to be working with.
Designers aren’t just there to make things pretty. They work with the team throughout the whole project lifecycle to ensure that what is built delivers the most value to the users. Designers do a lot of leg-work during the scoping stage, conducting user testing and creating prototypes (with the team’s help), but they are also present throughout the development stage to ensure that what is getting built is the right solution for the problem. Depending upon their skillset, they may also be called upon to style the application, though this can also be part of the developer’s role.
Jay is the designer for the Climate Action App. She worked with the Platform team to implement the styles on the Platform itself, and is a styling-wizard.
Product owners are the ones who are leading the charge on the idea. Typically, the idea is theirs, and they are the ones who gather the rest of the team together to help implement it. They also get the final say in any decisions that need to be made, because ultimately, the product is theirs. It is important that the product owner is able to communicate effectively with everyone else and have confidence in the decisions which are made. They also need to be readily available to the team so they can answer questions and provide guidance whenever it is required.
I (Indi) am the Product Owner of the Climate Action App. I have a strong passion for the topic of Climate Change, sparked by the SDGs and our mission to become a purpose-led business. I started the push for the Climate Action app as a method of empowering Codebots to become carbon neutral.
Team Lead (or Supercoach)
The team lead is the one who keeps the team together and marching in the same direction. It is their role to facilitate the scoping and development process, making sure that the team completes the right activities in the right order, and they stay on topic as they explore and build out the product.
Tessa is the supercoach for the Climate Action App. She works at Codebots as the Education Lead, helping to educate new users and guide new teams through the scoping and development process. She also has previous experience as a designer and will be assisting Jay when required.
The codebots have been designed to act like another member of your team. Every piece of code which they write is human readable and commented, so it is kind of like having a super fast invisible developer in the group.
C#Bot is the bot for the Climate Action App. It has been part of the Codebots team since the public release, and will be assisting Jack by helping to write a large majority of the code in the app.
Setting up the App
Now we have the team, we just need the app! As Codebots accommodates all part of the development lifecycle, including planning, it was important that we get on the platform right away. Not to build mind you, but to document everything we learnt from the scoping stage. Codebots helps to make sure that we have a single source of truth for our knowledge.
The process of creating an app on Codebots is quite simple. All you need to do is to go to your site and start the app creation wizard. From there, there are only three steps:
- Choose which type of app you want (normally a custom app);
- Choose which bot you want to use (we chose C#Bot, but you can view the linked guides if you aren’t sure);
- Then give it a name (eg. Climate Action App).
Easy as pie! From there you can dive straight into building, invite some team members to join you, or start documenting out your idea in the Library.
If you want to build an app for yourself, or maybe just start documenting out your idea, you can setup your own site for free. Once your site is setup, you can create as many apps as you want.
Last updated: 25 June 2020