Working with features and fires

Funzi

In an ideal world there wouldn’t be any wars, hungry people or changing development priorities. In the real world all these challenges still exist.

Luckily there are people and organizations fighting for a better world. Funzi is a mobile learning company on a mission to deliver learning to billions of people via their mobile devices, mainly in Asia and Africa. Funzi’s business model relies on strong partner networks in content as well as technology.

Development at Crossroads

Most companies at some point find themselves in a situation where their own resources simply are not enough to meet all the needs. A fresh partnership with a global learning company set new operational and technological requirements for Funzi.

At this point Wunderdog entered the scene with a shared mission to find and execute the development priorities. The Wunderdog x Funzi Team consisted of an architect and developers. In addition to developing new features and fixing miscellaneous properties efficiently, this arrangement allowed Funzi to focus on strengthening their own resources. By the end of the project, they had filled the gaps in their own team, and the handover went smoothly. 

Lessons Learned

The tech challenges were very different from those one usually runs into when developing online services for audiences in more developed parts of the world. For example, instead of supporting the latest versions of the most popular browsers, the service must work on feature phones with 2" screens with bad data connections and possibly no JavaScript.

There are pros and cons embedded in every crossroads situation. A definite pro is the opportunity to plant fresh good practices in place. The cons often include difficulty in finding answers to technical questions about existing environments and practices, as well as working with uncertainty.

In hindsight, some issues could have been discussed in more detail before diving deep into the development backlog. Temporarily outsourcing software development can significantly ease the pressure. But it demands coordinated communication and transparency.

Moments of Pride 

Despite the fact that improving existing features took more time than what was initially planned, the first new features were successfully released in time. 

Integration to the customer’s team was rather easy, even with an all-remote setup, possibly because the customer was very used to people working remotely. The UX designers and people responsible for the content and organizing things had a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve, which helped tremendously.

Wunderdog was able to answer to our urgent need for more technical resources very quickly, which really saved the day for us. Their developers quickly become an integral part of our product team which ensured that things kept on moving forward while we were building a team of our own.

Miemo Penttinen, Funzi Co-Founder & CXO