Andrei Potekhin from Team Yoosh uses a number of online digital tools that makes his life as a startup entrepreneur easier and productive. In this post we get to look at some of Andrei’s favorite tools.
Heikki Immonen, Karelia University of Applied Sciences
Riikka Räsänen, Karelia University of Applied Sciences
Andrei Potekhin is all in for startup entrepreneurship
Andrei Potekhin is a student at Karelia University of Applied Sciences, studying media and entrepreneurship. Since he started his studies back in 2018, he has been launching projects ranging from resale of holo-displays to brick and mortar stores for promotional purposes to working on an educational VR game focusing on chemistry.
In 2020 he joined Karelia UAS’s Y-akatemia – Business Academy, a special two-year program, which allows students to focus on entrepreneurship while also completing their main degree. At Business Academy, students create a co-op with other degree students, all focused on student entrepreneurship. This program allows students to work in multidisciplinary teams, co-create and to finish their degrees through real-life business projects.
Andrei, who is originally from Petrozavodsk, the capital city of the Republic of Karelia in Russia, was already well before COVID-19 accustomed to working online and taking full advantage of the digital tools available. As COVID-19 moved everything online, Andrei has been one of those who has thrived in our transformed world.
From Fraktus to Yoosh
The idea for Yoosh, originally Fraktus, came to Andrei and his brother Ruslan, who studies computer science also in Finland, in the fall of 2020. They saw an opportunity to combine the usability of messenger applications, like WhatsApp or Telegram, for the purpose of idea and notetaking. Most of us use apps like WhatsApp to send ourselves messages when we want to remember something. According to Andrei, traditional apps like Evernote or Google Docs have the ideas lost within larger documents.
To follow this original insight, they moved fast and produced the first version of the app in January 2021, and published the app in the Android’s Play Store. After being selected to the Draft Program, Andrei and Ruslan have continued their fast paced of development, including a switch to a new backend solution, as well as implementing a systematic early-stage user-driven development push by forming a group of 10 early test users. After being selected to the second stage of the Draft Program and winning in the Start Me Up Business Idea Competition, Andrei and Ruslan are building up momentum aiming for a summer launch of the brand new Yoosh app.
Smart use of digital tools can make everything easier and quicker
With a help of Andrei and Team Yoosh I next introduce 5 valuable digital tools that can be beneficial not just for aspiring app developers but for results-oriented entrepreneurs everywhere.
Manage tasks and goals with Clickup/
Clickup is basically a teamwork and simple project management application. You can use it for free and pay for premium features. The core idea behind Clickup is that larger projects or areas of work are broken down to smaller projects, with all the tasks gathered to simple to-do lists. Tasks themselves can be broken down to smaller sub-tasks. Like the humble to-do list on your desk, Clickup and other apps like it make your life easier because you don’t have to remember everything, the app does all the remembering for you. When things get very complicated, standard strategy is to start using an external task management system.
Andrei has used Clickup to coordinate the tasks he has assigned to himself, and also to a trainee they had working for them. He gives Clickup credit for being really easy to use and a modern software. However, as of now Team Yoosh has moved away from Clickup, and has adopted Jira together with Confluence.
Agile software development in tandem with Jira and Confluence
Jira started originally as a bug tracking software, but has evolved in to a fully-flexed agile project management tool. Agile development in a nutshell is about iterating the product in short sprints and deciding new edits or features based on the feedback from real users. In contrast, traditional development was about collecting all the feature in the beginning, and then building a complete product without any intermittent tests with users. The agile project management capabilities are the reason why Jira has spread beyond software development in to agile management in general.
Confluence, on the other hand is like a highly social Google Docs, good at creating, editing and storing different types of documents and files. Integration between Jira and Confluence means that the tasks and documents are linked.
Here is an example from Andrei and his brother Ruslan of a Jira-Confluence workflow:
- Ruslan sends Andrei the latest build (.apk file) of the app together with the changelog, i.e. what has been changed and are in need of testing.
- Andrei creates a new Confluence document where he copies the changelog, attaches the .apk file and describes the tests he will do and the results of those tests.
- If during the tests, new bugs emerge, Andrei will create new tasks in to the Confluence document, but the tasks will also pop up in Jira.
- Finally, Andrei will share the Confluence document with Ruslan. Ruslan will check the document and comment it. When he then opens Jira, he will have a clear list of bugs to be fixed.
- Ruslan will fix the code, and the workflow repeats from step 1.
Andrei would personally prefer Clickup, as Jira feels a bit overly complex. However, the benefits for software development due the integration with Confluence are clear, and Ruslan who does the coding has the veto rights in here.
Build application frontend mockups with Figma
Figma is a cool app for creating clickable app demos. It allows you to work on the frontend aspects of your application without any programming. In other words it lets you create something that looks like a real thing but that doesn’t actually have the functionality. This type of demo is called a mockup. The logic is simple. Creating a demo that is like the end product at the surface is much faster than programming everything from the bottom-up. Then, when you test the demo you’ll notice aspects in your design that don’t really work and need improvement. Only when you are really happy with the design and user-interface, it is worth building the internals of the app.
Figma is Andrei’s favorite tool. Team Yoosh uses it mainly for prototyping designs, but also for creating all the graphics used on their website and social media channels. Andrei is all about testing, so he appreciates the Figma Mirror capability, which enables you use your app prototypes on your phone. This according to Andrei, is valuable as it allows potential customer to give feedback based on a real-like experience. Andrei makes his appreciation for the software quite clear: “If you are working with apps, websites, graphics or social media, then Figma is a must-have”.
Matrix was a way to accelerate backend development
Matrix belongs solely to the domain of developers and programmers in the team. It is a communication protocol for building apps that allow communication between other service providers. It is fully based an open source principles. As there is already a big catalogue of existing services based on Matrix, a developer can speed up development. Importantly the community provides you with relatively ready-made source code for setting up communication heavy services.
Andrei and Ruslan have used the Matrix-based communications app Element as a starting point for their own Yoosh app. This choice helped Andrei and Ruslan save tons of working hours, as everything didn’t need to be built from scratch.
Next steps for Yoosh
During early summer 2021, the bulk of the work by Team Yoosh was about getting their app ready for launch. At the same time they have started to improve their strength presence.
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Writing of this article was supported by the Tulevaisuuden Työ project funded by the European Social Fund.