Posts from "August, 2013"

Prototypes support communication in outsourcing IT projects

Screenshot of Plixos platform

Pidoco is partnering with a new B2B marketplace for software development projects. Outsourcing in software development can help to save costs and to bring new products to market more quickly. While it can offer huge benefits for companies, many have reservations about outsourcing: “How do I find the right partner?” or “How can I be sure that the result will meet my requirements in terms of product design and quality?”

The first question is solved by the new B2B marketplace which pliXos GmbH, a young German company specializing in IT sourcing optimization, has just launched. On the pliXos platform, companies who are looking for service providers for their software projects can issue invitations to tender to registered and pre-validated service providers. The service providers can respond with an appropriate offer. With this system, both customers and service providers benefit. Along with a detailed project description, the marketplace offers a convenient toolkit for creating calls for tender instantly using ready-to-go templates. The participants of the tender can easily be compared and rated according to pre-defined criteria. Once the best partner has been identified, customers can control projects according to certain metrics, such as project cost, the task burndown or time consumption.

The second question is solved via an integration with Pidoco which helps customers ensure that requirements regarding product design and quality are met. The pliXos platform allows customers and service providers to attach individual wireframes or entire UI prototypes to tender documents, which describe in a visual form how the customer envisions the application or which solution the service provider proposes. Not only do the visualizations help overcome language barriers and misunderstandings between customer and service provider, but they can also serve as part of the requirements document, according to which offers and work results can be assessed or approved. The service providers in turn can use the wireframes to illustrate their offers or make their proposals stand out in a tender.

If you would like to try the marketplace out, you can register at: www.plixos.com/market.

Birthday Wishes

  • Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2007: Volker described this as his Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2007: Volker described this as his "masterpiece of graphical design"
  • Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2008 with 8 stencil elements and a properties table on the right.Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2008 with 8 stencil elements and a properties table on the right.
  • Pidoco's UI in August 2008 during beta phasePidoco's UI in August 2008 during beta phase
  • Pidoco's refined UI in late 2008Pidoco's refined UI in late 2008
  • Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2009Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2009
  • Pidoco's UI in 2012 featuring the breadcrumb navigationPidoco's UI in 2012 featuring the breadcrumb navigation
  • Pidoco's current UIPidoco's current UI

We’re celebrating our fifth birthday!

Cupcake with candle

When Pidoco started in 2008 the company was still just a team with a vision and a prototype. Then came our first product version, which we totally re-engineered after receiving feedback from test users (Pidoco wasn’t around yet, otherwise we might have avoided this extra loop). We launched after a beta phase in late 2008 and immediately had paying users on the platform. Today, five years and many releases later, our team has grown and so has our user base, which extends to over 50 countries around the globe.

Last week I asked the Pidoco founders some questions over cake. Here’s what they said:

Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?

Tino: We wanted to have the freedom to choose who we worked with and to cut out the complicated processes that can happen with the bureaucracy of a large company.

Philipp:  For me it wasn’t about becoming an entrepreneur or not – it was about doing something that I feel passionate about. As an entrepreneur I have the opportunity to do exactly that and to really make a difference. That’s why I am happy that we founded Pidoco.

 What was it about Pidoco that made you want to start a company?

Silvan: In reality we had about four ideas we could have gone with. One was a diagramming editor, I think another was a dashboard for organizing tasks, but when we started to do the market analysis, it seemed right to go with a prototyping tool. It was also the one idea we all agreed on, which was the most important thing.

 What has been the biggest challenge since founding Pidoco?

Silvan: Building up an amazing team. You don’t just want to have good people, you want great people. Also finding time for Kuchenfreitag, where we eat cake and someone gives an informal presentation on any topic they want. At the beginning, it was really difficult to say “It’s Friday, we need to take a break”. 

Volker: The next challenge is always the biggest. You never know what you’re going to be up against. At the time it always seems like a massive hurdle, but you always overcome them.

What have you learnt from Pidoco?

Philipp: I’ve certainly learnt an awful lot about dealing with bureaucracy, accounting and many other things. But one of the most crucial things was that even in such a fast-paced environment as a start-up you shouldn’t try to do too many things at once. Focusing on the essential things is important for success.

Silvan: Everything takes time and you really have to be patient. Also you have to learn to delegate to others.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Tino: I think it’s really that we’ve managed to keep our vision and company culture all this time, even with so many changes.

Philipp: One of the most dangerous things for a young company is that the founding team breaks apart. I’m very proud that our entire founding team as well as our first employee are still on board and continue to drive our company.

If you could add a feature to Pidoco, what would it be?

Philipp: Hm, I think I’d add a little alarm that reminds me to take a break when I’ve worked on a prototype for too long. Prototyping can become addictive…

Volker: A “generate application now” button, because I know that is practically impossible. The processes that happen between making a prototype and deploying a finished application can’t be replaced by a machine.

Silvan: I would make a feature that would solve all usability bugs. That would be amazing.

What do you think is a sign that a company isn’t a startup anymore

Silvan: I have weekends now? I can sleep at night? We don’t know every customer personally any more, but we know the names of their companies now – and some of them are big companies.

Tino: I think we’re still a startup in some ways. If you want to get something done around here, you still have to do it yourself.

We want to thank everyone who has supported us over the last five years and we can’t wait to see what the next five years holds for us.

Use this promotion code to save 10% on your next Pidoco plan before August 18th: bday2013b
(Promotion not valid if used in conjunction with other offers) Claim at https://pidoco.com/en/pricing

What does it mean to be a startup?

Pidoco is turning 5 this month, which for many people means that we have moved from being a startup to becoming an established company. We’re wondering if the label should just be reserved for new companies, or if we will always be a startup as long as we keep our company culture.

For any company it’s important to celebrate the milestones, and for a startup the 5-year milestone seems especially important. One of the reasons for this may be that we hear and tell each other statistics about how many startups fail within the first five years.

Now that we have been around for five years, we thought we’d take a look at some definitions of a startup and give you some of our own. Please comment below with your own suggestions for what it means to be a startup.

Paper flowchart

 

Cambridge Dictionary: “A business that has just been started.”

Merriam Webster: “The act or an instance of setting in operation or motion.”

Wikipedia: “A partnership or temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.”

Mashable: “Companies set up to test business models developed around new ideas.”

Eric Ries: “A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”

Silvan, co-founder of Pidoco: “You know you’re not a startup anymore when you have free time on the weekends.”

For the most part, being a startup has a lot to do with company culture. At Pidoco we don’t have hierarchies, we have a stand-up every day and we are still working towards the vision we set out when we founded the company. Please comment below with your own definitions of what it means to be a startup.