One of the first decisions you need to make before starting a project implementation is: which development methodology should I use? There are different approaches to the software development process. Two of the most popular methods are Waterfall and Agile.
What is Waterfall?
Waterfall is a linear approach to software development. That means that project stages are executed sequentially, and no stage can begin before the previous one is finished. You receive your completed project, fully developed and tested, at the very end of the process.
Pros of Waterfall methodology:
- Simple and easy to understand and use
- Easy to manage due to the rigidity of the model
- Phases are processed and completed one at a time
- Works well for smaller projects where requirements are very well understood
Cons of Waterfall methodology:
- You cannot go back a step; if the design phase has gone wrong, things can get very complicated in the implementation phase
- High amounts of risk and uncertainty
- Not a good model for complex and object-oriented projects
- Poor model for long and on-going projects
- Not suitable for the projects where requirements are at a moderate to high risk of changing
What is Agile?
Agile development, as opposed to waterfall, focuses on building software iteratively. The project is divided into small modules and delivered in weekly or monthly sprints. During each sprint, a certain functional set of features is developed, tested, and delivered to you for evaluation. This approach emphasizes rapid delivery.
Pros of Agile methodology:
- Value is added every sprint
- Easier to add features that are up-to-date with the latest industry developments
- Project priorities are set before every sprint and evaluated after each sprint
- Customer feedback is allowed and will contribute to the final end product
- High level of customer involvement (strong sense of ownership)
- Short time to market: quickly produce a basic version of working software
- Transparency is high
Cons of Agile methodology:
- Projects can run longer than anticipated
- Requires high level commitment of time and energy from developers
What can we conclude from all this? Both methodologies have their own strengths and weaknesses. The choice of methodology really depends on the goals you want to achieve. The key to deciding which is right for you comes down to the context of the project. Is it going to be changing rapidly? If so, choose Agile. Do you know exactly what you need? Good. Then maybe Waterfall is the better option. Or better yet? Consider taking aspects of both methodologies and combining them in order to make the best possible software development process for your project.
Do you use the Waterfall or Agile methodology? Why? Have you ever tried combining the two? How did that work out? Please, tell us below.
Startups have short launchpads and high expectations. In order to lighten the yoke, many startup founders turn to outsourcing, letting a third party provider handle some aspects of the business.
If you do it the “right way”, you can build a very successful company that way. The right way is *not* to think of your remote team members as outsourcing, but as a key part of your team.
In considering outsourcing as a potential option, you must first weigh the positive and negative impacts. Outsourcing frees up leadership to focus on the parts of the business that differentiate you from the competition, while staying assured that the basic parts are all still operating properly.
Outsourcing is a great option for some startups, but it can be confusing. There’re 5 questions you should answer to decide if outsourcing is the solution:
What is outsourcing?
Outsourcing is the farming out of a business process or service to a third-party provider. Outsourcing frees up some mental space for founders and can sometimes even save money.
What exactly are you outsourcing?
There are certain skillsets which are difficult to bring in-house. It is essential to understand what you will and what you will not be outsourcing, to understand what should rest totally in your control and what can be handled by someone else.
Is the vendor startup-oriented?
The choice of which company to outsource to is important. Vendor should be very active in implanting best practices from the software industry into the startups they work with.
Are you a good client?
Good clients should know what they want, otherwise they’re effectively wasting their own money. A highly collaborative attitude is helpful too. Clients should want to understand the development process just as developers should get a handle in the product’s business objectives. A mismatch between end-project and expectations is often the result of poor communication.
Does the reputation of the vendor matter to you?
People often rely on reputation to make outsourcing decisions. Ask for reviews and recommendations of providers to try and determine which one best fits your needs.
Outsourcing is one of the earliest crucial decisions that startups have to make after inception. Often, the decision lies not in whether to outsource, but who to outsource to and how.
Do you outsource? Please share your experience in comments bellow.
The mobile app development industry is thriving and continuing to evolve year after year. In 2014, we saw mobile app market maturing from smartphones and tablets to wearable devices and Internet of Things. There was also an increased focus on app analytics and mobile app marketing. Actualy developers don’t need us to tell them that the app landscape is constantly changing. But it never hurts to pause for a moment and look into exactly how it’s changing:
1. Swift surges onto developer scene
Anyone in the technology business knows it’s rarely an “if you build it, they will come” proposition. Adoption of new technologies and products—even trendy ones—can take a while. So the rise in usage of Apple’s Swift language for iOS apps is certainly noteworthy: According to VisionMobile’s survey of 8,000 developers, one in five were using Swift just four months after its public launch. Compare that with a 39% usage share for Objective C (which obviously had a bit of a head start with iOS-centric devs) among device-side developers. That’s rapid adoption, to put it mildly.
A decent chunk of early Swift developers—nearly a quarter of them—are new to iOS development. But VisionMobile notes Objective C isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the best iOS developers will have both languages in their toolbox: “For at least the next few years it seems that practically speaking it’ll be necessary to learn both languages to be an accomplished iOS developer,” the report reads.
2. Cross-platform tools growing in popularity
The State of the Developer report found third-party tool use among mobile developers, in particular, at an all-time high: 83% of respondents use at least one third-party tool for things like analytics, crash reporting, and testing. Even more notable, use of cross-platform tools has jumped from 23% to 30% during the past six months. What goes into selecting the right tools? One tech exec noted the importance of choosing a stable provider that’s going to be around for the long haul.
3. Enterprise apps make more money than consumer apps
Smartphones continue to fly off the shelves and the app stores teem with activity, yet there’s no guarantee your app will earn a dime. In fact, developers working on enterprise apps are much more likely to make money, and it’s not even close: 43% of developers focused on enterprise apps hit or exceed $10,000 per month in revenue, compared with just 19% of consumer app developers. Many consumers aren’t eager to shell out real money for mobile and other digital apps. On the other hand, as VisionMobile’s report says, “businesses are very willing to pay for software that helps them be productive and make money.”
4. The Internet of Things is hot, even if the payoff isn’t imminent
Plenty of developers are investing energy in something that might take a while to deliver a tangible payoff: the Internet of Things: (IoT). More than half (53%) of developers included in the report say they’re working on some form of IoT project. Interestingly, many are doing so as a side project or hobby, not their actual job. It’s no real surprise that the biggest areas of current interest within the broad IoT universe are those where existing mobile platforms—namely iOS and Android—have a clear stake, such as the smart home/smart building and wearable computing markets.
While it’s still early days, VisionMobile’s report cites an enormous upside in the IOT for the developer community at large: “The [IoT] products with the best software will be the most desirable; hence developers become essential to creating competitive products.”
Put it all together and you get a picture of a mobile development market that continues to evolve rapidly in everything from tools and languages to device platforms and economics. Keeping up with the changes can be almost as challenging as doing your actual job, but that’s one reason why mobile is such an exciting area right now.
Since the “flash crisis” (starting from the summer of 2013) a lot of game developers have collided with an issue of being crammed with outdated flash games with copyrights sold to various sponsors and game portals.
For the majority of the developers porting their old games to the new platforms could be an ideal option.
That is why I decided to write an article on how they could re-monetize old games with no great effort.
I suggest using HTML5 as this particular game platform allows making the porting without huge investments.
The article reveals the following questions:
- What games are suitable for the porting to the HTML5?
- How to make the porting qualitatively?
- How to sell the renewed game wisely?
Briefly about HTML5:
Firstly a few words, why I suggest using HTML5 for porting flash games: HTML5 is a widely known technology that has such syntactic features as , and elements, as well as the integration of scalable vector graphics (SVG) content (replacing generic tags), and MathML for mathematical formulas. These features allow to make it easy to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the web without having to resort to proprietary plugins and APIs.
I guess it does not require a lot introduction, still for more information feel free to visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5
Below I would like to point out the main benefits and some shortcomings of using HTML5 for porting a flash game.
- Cross-platform (the ability to launch a game on any platform);
- The development of HTML5 apps takes relatively little time;
- Saves resources (writing of the universal code for all platforms is less costly in comparison with developing native apps for each platform);
- Easy bug-fixing.
- Possible productions issues;
- Some limitations of the mobile devices;
- Lack of the common standard for the browsers and devices (bug-fix could be quite time-consuming).
So, if you are concerned in porting you game to the web we could proceed to the first question:
What games are suitable for being ported to HTML5?
Not any game is suitable for being ported to HTML5. There are a few limitations that should be taken into account, for instance:
- While porting your game under mobile HTML5 the attention should be paid to the control. If the control is managed through the keyboard it means that apparently you will have to port the control as well in order to gain the desired game experience. It is possible to develop tab sensor, still it is not often useful because the player’s fingers hedge the majority of the display what leads to the gameplay/ levels reconstruction or even to rejecting the idea of porting the game.
- 3D games are not suitable for porting under the mobile web (WebGL technology is not supported by the majority of the mobile browsers).
The porting process is greatly depends on the HTML5 app building approach.
How to make the porting qualitatively?
While speaking about the games with Canvas rendering there would be a three- step approach:
- Porting the graphics
Art is almost the only thing that we would take from the old game, as the code will be written from a scratch. Porting of the graphics is a complex procedure. Its complexity depends on the initial game format. In the end we should get the raster version of every element of the game starting from the background up to effect animation.
This is the most significant and time-consuming process. It could take from 2 weeks to а couple of months depending on the particular game. Normally a game is developed with using a framework. The choice of the frame is not a simple question and deserves a separate article.
- Testing and bug-fixing
Worth mentioning that to make the testing of the mobile- web app as effective as possible you should use a number of mobile devices, at least the most popular. Otherwise it is possible to refer to the company that provides QA and testing services.
When the testing is finished the question regarding the distribution arises as well as regarding licensing and it’s specific.
Despite the fact that lately the positive tendency of the HTML5 games is observed, for many developers the monetizing issue is on the agenda. Still in case of applying the wise business model your HTML5 game could become quite beneficial.
How to monetize your game?
- Selling of the exclusive license
Basically the portal SpilGames bought the exclusive licenses and was a price leader for the developers. Still, recently a number of changes have been noticed in the company and it is quite unclear yet whether they will continue purchasing the content. In other cases, in order to sale an exclusive license you will have to make a good scouting.
- Selling the site-locks
It is one of the most prevalent ways to monetize the game. In average you could get the profit of about 200-600 USD per game. Just find active customers. Actually there are plenty of portals. First of all this is in interest to the flash games portals owners to keep the constant user base. Generally the users get their mobile devices and returning to the favorite flash game portals and are not able to launch any flash game. The owner of the portal whether loses this user or suggests the alternative- a game that could be launched on the mobile device browser. Another variant is to sell the unexclusive license through auction-portals like FGL.
- Revenue share scheme
In this case you give your game to be placed in a portal or a portal network and get a part of the revenue form the commercials that were shown in the game. The revenue is mostly depends on the customer, still do not expect huge profit. When it is about a good traffic and the customer is convinced in the profitability of the game, he usually will buy the site-locks.
- Self-promotion and commercials revenue
The developer integrates the commercials right in the game and gives it free on the partner-site. The revenue is counted on the basis of the commercials shown directly in the game. Thought in comparison with the flash market prime-time, nowadays there are no automated channels of distribution in HTM5 game dev. So it is manual work so far.
It is also worth mentioning that the Google AdWords (the most effective advertisement) will not suit for distribution of such game as Google requires direct linking to the domains where the game will be shown.
Some useful advice:
- Obfuscate you HTML 5 games in order to secure them from piracy. Sure, it won’t provide a perfect security, still will become an obstacle to steal the game and will filter out a number of pirates.
- Sell the game for a particular platform/ market. Reserve the title rights. HTM5 is a universal technology so you are able to convert your game to any platform market (HTML5, web, iOS, Android- these are three different licenses.)
- While selling the site-locks assure that the name of the portal as well as its mirrors are stated in the contract.
- Using the revenue share scheme request the access to the statistics.
Hope this tips would be useful. Also if you have any suggestions and better solutions, feel free to share in the comments!
The Internet of Things (IoT) includes any form of technology that can connect to the internet: smartphones, TVs, various sensors, robots, fitness and medical equipment, ATMs, wearables, and much more than this. Just imagine, lawn sensors that tell a sprinkler when a lawn needs to be watered and how much water is needed based on moisture levels; running shoes that clock your pace ─ and notify you when you’ve run so much that it’s time to replace your shoes; and refrigerators that let you know when food products are reaching their expiration date.
The size of the internet of things’ market is immense. According to research firm IDC, the global market was already worth $1.9 trillion last year. And this numbers will grow greatly in the coming years.
Networking and cloud computing are the key factors that make the IoT possible and help to create a special IoT ecosystem. In fact, with so much data flowing in from potentially millions of different connected objects, the cloud is likely the only platform suitable for filtering, analyzing, storing and accessing all that information in useful ways. Cloud is accessible from anywhere and from any device. So ,the more devices are connected, the greater the use of public cloud services will be.
Here are some thoughts in which direction the cloud will be developing next years:
Special-purpose clouds may appear that will focus specifically on connecting devices and machines. So in the coming years, we’ll see increased focus on the software and especially the cloud services to make all sensors connect, process immense volume of data received from the devices, strong analytical tools and systems that generate insights and enable business improvements.
Also we should not forget about information security, privacy and protection. Most consumer IoT services rely on the public cloud as a key enabling technology, where the security of the data cannot be guaranteed. People will resist the ubiquitous free flow of information if there is no public confidence that it will not cause serious threats to privacy. In the next years we may see the rise of new tools that will prevent information leakage and will provide security to consumers` information in the cloud.
Just a couple years ago cloud computing was just a buzz word and now it plays an important role in the IT world. Nevertheless the IoT global market is still at its infancy, it`s highly probable that in a couple of years IoT will become inseparable part of our lives. It will dramatically change the way we live our daily lives and what information is stored about us. How do you believe the cloud might evolve as the IOT does?
Scandinavian Startups. How to accelerate locally & internationally: STING Accelerate, Startupbootcamp, Seedcamp, Le Camping, Y Combinator, Techstars
Posted March 19, 2015on:
It’s easier to start a new business with the support of experienced mentors and investment from their funds. To get assistance here start-ups can apply for time-limited programs of support from accelerators, and if win they usually get the conditions which allow creating a project that can enter the market and obtain investment. The budding entrepreneurs are provided with office, mentors and a small investment during 3-6 months.
At Altabel Group being focused on working with the Scandinavian companies, including start-ups, we’ve noticed that recently there has been increased interest and efforts to creating efficient environment and conditions for start-ups development. Local accelerators as one of the prerequisites for this are perhaps not so much mature as global leaders like Seedcamp, Y Combinator, Techstars, etc, still are worth considering since they focus on Nordic companies. To name a few: STING Accelerate, Startupbootcamp, which are rather large and well-know, and Startup Sauna, Nestholma Accelerator, that are smaller. Let’s talk about them a little bit more.
STING Accelerate (www.stockholminnovation.com)
Where: Stockholm, Sweden
Acceptance of applications: twice a year, 7-8 startups are selected in each session
Duration: 4 months
Statistics: over 200 startups funded, 45,000,000 SEK in total exits, over 535,000,000 SEK in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: investment of 250,000 SEK (roughly 29,600 USD) comes in the form of a convertible note that can be repaid in three years with 6% interest or converted into equity when the startup can issue shares valued at least 1 million SEK to new investors.
Founded in 2002, STING coaches Stockholm startups dealing with internet, media, cleantech and life sciences. It evaluates about 150 to 200 projects annually, but accepts about 20 to participate in its programs such as STING Accelerate and STING Excelerate, which is a less intensive acceleration program. STING Excelerate provides startups with a personal business coach who visits the company at least a half a day per week for 6-18 months to help the company grow.
The received investment at STING Accelerate will help startups to focus more on developing their product and less on raising funds. The program runs in the center of Stockholm at the co-working space SUP46, and selected companies are offered free office space there throughout the program.
Before STING used to accept only Swedish startups, but now it accepts international startups and offer housing in apartments (at self-cost).
Where: Copenhagen (Denmark) and others (Istanbul (Turkey), Haifa (Israel), London (UK), Amsterdam, Eindhoven (Netherlands), Berlin (Germany))
Acceptance of applications: several times during the year, 10 startup are selected
Duration: 3 months
Statistics: 9 accelerator programs, 130 companies funded, 2 exits, 20,209,661 USD in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: 15,000 EUR in financing for 8% equity.
Founded in 2010, Startupbootcamp created an international network from eight accelerators. Accelerator selects projects from different countries; startups should be able to move to one of the cities of the program. Each startup team will receive 15,000 EUR and other benefits in the amount of 450,000 EUR. Mentors and experts will work with projects during 3 months. In the end startups will be able to present themselves to funds and business angels.
Some programs accept applications from startups of any fields, the others – just from certain areas: media, transport, energy and others. Startupbootcamp accepts applications from startup teams and individual entrepreneurs as well.
In case you didn’t manage to meet deadlines in your home country in Scandinavia, or accelerators abroad seem to be more attractive and suitable for your startup idea, you are welcome to search for international accelerators across Europe or America for funding your startup business. There are few programs, which Altabel considers to be the most interesting ones on the international scene.
Where: London (United Kingdom)
Acceptance of applications: monthly, 2-3 startups are chosen
Duration: 1 week
Statistics: 118 startups funded, 7 exits, 17,000,000 USD in total exits, 131,189,940 USD in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: 50,000 EUR in financing for 8-10% equity.
The largest accelerator in Europe founded in 2007 in London by famous venture capitalist Reshma Sohoni with the support of the British venture capital funds. The company’s portfolio consists of more than a hundred startups from European countries.
Twenty selected startup teams undergo an extensive training during the week, and then present their ideas to investors. Two or three startups receive funding afterwards. In addition to investments in the amount of 50,000 EUR, startups receive a number of possibilities. They can attend a course Seedcamp Academy, during which they are expected to learn a successful way of bringing the project to the market. In addition, teams will be given the opportunity to work in the London office of Google Campus and visit the United States in the educational tour.
Le Camping (www.lecamping.org)
Where: Paris, France
Acceptance of applications: once a year, 12 startups are selected
Duration: 6 months
Statistics: 48 startups funded, 2 exits, 10,000,000 USD in total exits, 9,955,000 USD in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: up to 20,000 EUR in financing for 3% equity, 1,000 EUR – grant for international startups.
Le Camping is a program launched by Silicon Sentier, a well-known organization that brings together innovative companies and entrepreneurs in the web and mobility space. Open to all types of entrepreneurs: entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, non-profits; early-stage startups; international teams and exchange programs; late-stage startups. The Accelerator offers 6-month program with an acceleration phase followed by a special growth phase. 140 mentors will come together to support, advise, critique and ultimately position the startups to write their own success story.
The 12 selected startups will enter an intensive program in Numa – Parisian web entrepreneurship eco-system. 3 months of acceleration are given to go from an idea to demo, then 1 month to meet investors all around Europe. On a Demo Day, at the end of the first 3 months the startup teams will meet around 500 international investors. A financial grant offered by its partners 4,500 EUR is provided to each team participating in Le Camping, without any equity engagement in the startups.
Y Combinator (www.ycombinator.com)
Where: Mountain View, CA, USA
Acceptance of applications: twice a year, spring and autumn, 68 startups are selected in each session
Duration: 3 months: January- May, July-August
Statistics: 747 startups funded, 89 exits, 2,283,808,100 USD in total exits, 4,042,698,709 USD in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: 120,000 USD in financing for 7% equity.
The first accelerator in the USA, founded in 2005 by entrepreneur Paul Graham. During its existence Y Combinator has funded more than 700 startups. According to the founder’s comment, the average estimation of these startups is 22.4 million USD. Scribd, Dropbox and Airbnb – the largest and the most successful companies in Y Combinator’ portfolio.
Selected startup’ teams are invited to Silicon Valley for three months. The program consists of weekly lunches with experts, investors and other entrepreneurs. The course ends with Demo Day, where startups show their results.
Where: New York, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Boulder (USA), London (UK)
Acceptance of applications: once a year, 10 startups are selected in the chosen city
Duration: 3,5 months
Statistics: 19 accelerator programs, 502 companies funded, 44 exits, 176,000,000 USD in total exits, 1,148,300,000 USD in total funding raised
Conditions of participation: 18,000 USD in financing for 6% equity and also an opportunity to get a convertible loan in the amount of 51,000 – 100,000 USD.
Founded in 2007 by investors David Cohen and Brad Feld, Techstarts is considered to be the second popular after Y Combinator. Accepts applications from early-stage and late-stage startup’ teams consisting of at least two people. A team of experts works with startups for 3,5 months, and then Demo Day is arranged. The accelerator offers a space for work in each city, as well as additional services necessary for the operation of the company at the initial stage.
Choosing an accelerator depends entirely on your business needs and what you want out of the experience. Some accelerators have themes or focus on certain business sectors such as education, healthcare, or finance. Some are harder to get into as the most popular accelerators are bombarded with applications, making it difficult to get noticed in a sea of startups.
Is anybody planning to apply for one of the programs mentioned above? Have you/your company been through an accelerator? What advice would you give founders who are considering applying to one? That would be interesting to read the comments about real experience from participants, feel free to share your ideas about it.