My Cariboo Journey – Behind the scenes with Paul Barnes

If you’ve made it this far, hopefully by now, you’ll know that here at Cariboo, we build apps. But, like any business, the finished product is a very small part of what we actually offer businesses, so I thought I’d take the time to introduce myself, Paul – Founder of Cariboo, why I started Cariboo and how we’re helping businesses on their digital journey.

Cariboo Digital has been operating for about 2-3 years now, but my personal background in coding goes all the way back to when I was about 12 years old. As a kid, I loved software and owned a Commodore 64 (look it up... phenomenal changes...), this led to pursuing a degree (BSc) in Computer Science. I’ve been working with the internet since it started, with experience as a Business Analyst and Project Management. The combination of these skills has helped me to identify that businesses need more than an app, they need solutions to problems they might not even recognise as something that could be solved by an app.

Back in 2009 I invested in agile development for delivering software fast, and in 2015, I started to really focus on UX design principles, something that is becoming more and more crucial to get a deeper understanding of our customers to maximize app adoption.

Our approach is to bring these UX and development tools and methods that we’ve honed by working with large corporations, to smaller, independent businesses.

Where do the problems really lie?

Here at Cariboo, we ask what the problem is before trying to sell a solution. Only by asking these questions can we create something that meets our pillars for success with app development. This seems an obvious thing to do, but more often than not, a solution can be assumed to solve a problem rather than the solution proven to solve the problem.

This organic and collaborative approach to problem solving removes the need for clients to come to us with requirements and specifications. These restrictions are usually loaded with assumptions, and assumptions need to be tested and validated before we dive into app development.

Not only does a lack of strict client requirements help the discovery process, but it’s also timesaving from the business owner’s perspective, gone are the wasted hours of scouring the internet to try and understand a potential solution.

Alternative options

A further issue with assuming a solution, rather than discovering one, is that it may not be the right app for your users. Or, it could be the right app today, but might not be scalable for your business in one month, a year... a good app should grow with you. That said, we will often work with a business to create an entry-level solution that helps us, and the client, to learn; it’s often cost-effective and time conscious to approach things this way, so ultimately; flexibility and understanding of the desired outcome is key.

Adding value in a quick turnaround

The problem an app is designed to resolve will often be stunting a company’s growth, being able to deliver a solution towards that is a hugely rewarding job. We recently worked with Thames Water with a discovery period and delivery time of just 3 months, but with a positive outcome. Not only was the client pleasantly surprised that we actually achieved the deadline, but they have been able to realise the value instantly, with an immediate Return on Investment.

Our pillars for success

There are 5 things an app must be in order to be successful, all of which are determined by the discovery process.

  • 1) Is it desirable to the user?
  • 2) Is it valuable to the business?
  • 3) Is it feasible?
  • 4) Is it viable (can it be achieved in the budget)?
  • 5) Is it loveable

Without all 5, your app might work today, but it won’t thrive.

My favourite example of this was Club Penguin which I assisted in developing during my time with Disney in Canada. This was Disney’s first iOS app back in 2009 when iPads were rolling out across the globe. We achieved a lot of firsts with that game, but, more importantly, we created something fun, loveable and desirable.

If you want to start asking the questions to solve your business problem, I'd be happy to help explore the options an app might provide, get in touch, here.

During these 30 minutes, we’ll discuss the problem that you need to solve, with a view to how you can move forward with a solution.

Call today and begin your journey for digital development, 0791 997 0070.

Book a discovery call

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