I’m not sure, but you probably heard about funny episode with one of members of British government. It was very funny when during his speech, UK defense secretary was interrupted by voice assistant from his own phone (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/v….speech-…)
This episode displays how deeply technologies infiltrated into our private everyday life. In 2019 there are a lot of devices able to interact with user by voice: smart phones, smart watches, smart home devices, etc. They recognize needs, build a dialog with him and solve different tasks to make users life easier.
But let’s go back a few years back. This feature was on the verge of fiction. First versions of voice assistants had a boom-effect in society and even inspired cinema and TV industry to produce several movies and TV series about this technology.
In 2012 we started to cooperate with team of Speaktoit (after – API.AI, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistant_(by_Speaktoit)). Speaktoit was a startup that wanted to develop mobile application for their product. This startup demonstrated unique approach in area of development of products for voice assistant, using their own innovative solutions in artificial intelligence.
In 2016, this startup was totally absorbed by Google and the team of this startup became responsible for development of solutions for interaction of AI with users via voice for this unconditional market leader.
Thus, we had a good opportunity to collaborate with top level customer in creating unique product. We are proud to have good recommendations from them.
I have to note, that this project was one of the most interesting in our history. It is related not only to the essence of the project, but also to challenges which we faced during management and development of this project.
We were only one of three different parts of projects team. All of them were located in 3 different time zones. And difference between us was not some minor 1 or 2 hours. With one part of the team difference was +3 hours, with another one difference was -9 hours.
As you understand, it was very important to provide excellent communication and task management during project development. How we solved this challenge?
– Strict adherence to meetings schedule – every minute was golden to us. Without good internal discipline we would be lost.
– Deep and attentive investigation of requirements and detailed clarification of them on the early stages of development (for each milestone) – we had to clarify all details, because otherwise was a risk to do something wrong and miss whole day or even more;
– Use of latest task management tools such as Jira by Atlassian, where we described each user story, made all negotiations, created bug reports, prepared reports for client regarding time spent for solving certain tasks, during certain milestone.
I think that I have to pay additional attention on benefits of using different tools for task and project management. I’m sure each project manager without these tools feels himself as without hands. Such tools help us to create and prioritize backlog of project sprints, move topics through project workflow, track time spent on each topic and on sprint in general, store history of discussion regarding certain task in one place, help analyze results of sprint and make retrospective.
Our experience in cooperation with Speaktoit helped us to improve our skills from all perspectives: project management, client relations and software development.
After a while I’ll happy to share with you more details about our experience in working with Speaktoit and tell you about some others our projects related to artificial intelligence.
Sonder Digital CTO, Pavel