In November, we celebrated seven years of Tapptitude. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine this year has passed by, considering its ongoing humdrum. So it was a nice feeling to step back and assess how far we’ve come, not only in the past year, significantly shaped by the pandemic in which we’re living, but also in the last seven years.
Tapptitude started with a handful of people who loved to code. It was our fundamental passion for technology that drove us towards building great products which were not only appealing to users, but were also having a positive impact in fulfilling their needs.
We've soon realised there was much more to releasing a great product than coding, that's why our most solid pillar - our TEAM - has developed abilities that are beyond pure coding.
What started seven years ago with a handful of tech leads, mobile developers and a designer is today #TappSquad, made up of over 60 product people: from Product Strategists, Product Managers, Designers, Full-stack, Backend and mobile Developers, QA testers, Fullstack Marketers and Product Consultants.
We’ve become a hands-on, full-function product building partner who’s been working with amazing startup founders and product innovators. And they’ve embarked on a journey to help other people live better lives with the help of technology.
It’s been quite a journey! And only possible due to a bunch of smart and driven people who have joined our team along all these years, believing in what we believe: building solid products that have a positive impact.
What makes Tapptitude a great product partner today
When we sit down to talk with a founder about their product journey, we’re driven by the same core goals around de-risking their product investment:
- Work on the right thing
- Build their product smarter
- Have the right resources for every stage of their product development
Of course, this looks different for every product founder. If there’s one thing we’ve learned after delivering over 100 products, it’s that each product has its challenges. Our core focus is to make sure we define the right product, build it well and launch it fast; we iterate enough until it reaches product-market fit, then make sure it survives on its way to become a sustainable business.
We’ve chosen a reliable set of tools to work with and developed reliable processes. Along these years, we’ve realised that, along with the founders we work with, we need to assume a validate-first approach as a way to de-risk any product investment. And that is another way of saying that most likely you’re wrong, but you will be less and less wrong if you apply the right process in your product building.
Nowadays building a product from a pure tech perspective is easy for a tech company; executing based on a set of features can be done by anyone (and this is what outsourcing oriented companies will do).
But building the right product is hard and it’s even harder to challenge your customer about how features are delivering value to the product’s users. Yet that’s exactly what we do at Tapptitude.
We ask hard questions and challenge the features that we don’t see helpful towards validating your idea or getting you to your next objective. As a founder, you take a huge risk investing in a product that might not make it, and our role as a product partner is to help you build just the right thing as fast as possible to validate ’something’ - no matter what that something is.
Our commitment to be a reliable product building partner is something we take seriously from the first conversation to collaborations that have gone on for months of planning sessions and releases.
I’ve been managing Glorify for the last year, and summing up, the journey has been full of challenges and accomplishments. In this time, we’ve managed to revamp the product UI, focus on growth and internationalisation, and go live and maintain the product on two platforms.
We’ve worked hard to position ourselves as a trustworthy advisor for our clients in a time when our offices have moved inside our own homes. Not only did the team grow larger, but we’re also on a professional growth spree, and I couldn’t be more grateful for being part of such a thriving environment these days!
Yet we wouldn’t be able to deliver great value to our clients if we didn’t have a great team who got together every day to discuss, design, code and test the products that aimed to make people’s lives better. So what’s the secret sauce that makes Tapptitude the amazing team that clients love to work with?
#TappSquad means a family that grows
When you join #TappSquad, the first person you meet, online or offline, is Simona. Officially our Team Happiness Manager, she’s been with the team for the past 5 and a half years and has played a key role in hiring every new team member joining the Squad.
I have seen the team grow from year to year with awesome colleagues. Each of them brings a unique contribution and makes the team more brilliant. In the last year, as a team, we have had to adapt to all kinds of changes: from work from home to the remote integration of new colleagues.
I am proud of the emotional intelligence of our team members and how they’ve adapted to new situations. We have a smart team in which people complement each other very well, they help each other a lot, which is why many of us say it's like a family.
Here’s the thing. You’ll find Tapp members who have been part of the team since the office was an apartment. You’ll also find members who’ve been here for three years, and members who’ve only stepped into the office a couple of times this year. People work together formally on projects, but also end up asking for help informally, because sometimes you need another pair of ears to brainstorm, and sometimes you can use their expertise. This is probably most visible in the experience of the new employees that join us every year.
I joined Tapptitude as an iOS Developer position, which I really wanted because I love the idea of working on mobile products. From the start, everyone was very open and helpful. The projects are interesting and I’ve been working on a lot more things than I’ve expected.
I really haven’t felt a difference between working remotely or working in the office. People are just as helpful and friendly whether you’re online or offline, but it’s been easier to stay close with your own project team.
If you know us, our team buildings tend to be big get-togethers where everyone joins in, enjoys the games, the party, the mood and shares stories and the fun. So this year our challenge was: how could we set up a memorable team building – remotely?
A remote team building for fun & connection
The first line of business was simple: if the TappSquad could not come together, the TappSquad spirit would make some special deliveries.
Gifts delivered, unboxed and set aside for our get-together, we had some outside help for a half-day of detective work and story building on Zoom.
The friendly facilitators from HPDI set up a Criminal Minds scenario where we played detectives, complained about the evidence collection practices of Scotland Yard, FBI and the French Police Force, had fun theorizing about the motivations, alibis and MOs of our suspects, and finally uncovered a plot to take over a green business conglomerate. What can you do, not even environmentally aware business owners are safe from a fictional James Moriarty?
While a Zoom team building with special effects was not quite what we were used to, the escapism and story building was definitely fun for the whole team, and they didn’t stop us from getting comfortable and laid back in our own way.
#7YearsTogether, more to come
The thing about reflection is that you realise that by doing the job in front of you, every day, you’ve already been doing the things that matter. What you might miss is a little perspective.
Most of our team has been working remotely since March. The tools we’ve been using are the same, and the new tools we’ve introduced are tools we’ve needed to facilitate our work and meetings remotely.
We’ve stuck to our core processes but adapted them to fit the new challenges. Our processes are still a toolbox we reach into and adapt to the needs of each client, because there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to product building.
After this year, more strongly than before, we stand by our commitment: tools are tools, and processes are frameworks. It’s the client’s needs that dictate what the product journey will look like, and it’s the partnership we build with them that shapes it as we go forward.
We are the best at our jobs when we remember to own the process and remember that products don’t build themselves, we build them. And we’re only as good as we teach each other, and challenge each other, and are kind to each other when we’re struggling.
We want to keep growing as professionals and as a team, so we can keep delivering value for smart, brave people who want to build things that help other people. Most days, as crazy as the world may seem outside the window, it’s as simple as that.
Being wrapped in our everyday things, many times it's difficult to see the big picture and really understand how far we’ve come in Tapptitude. But let’s have no doubt: going from a handful of mobile developers 7 years ago to a full-fledge product team that is considered one of the best of its kind in Europe now is not a small jump.
Tapptitude got here after these 7 years, based on the operational excellence we’ve solidified over the years, with an obsessive focus to deliver great product work for your partners. Focusing on more than building products, but on building products that survive and have a positive impact at scale is our new journey. I feel we’ve got the right squad to embark on this now.
Erika is a full-stack marketer passionate about the intersection between technology and social impact. She mixes research with content design and a human touch to help people and startups succeed in delivering value through their work. When not writing or talking to people, you’ll find her reading or quoting Hamilton for any life situation.