From concept to launch of the ideal workflow app and beyond

KiSSFLOW

July 9th, 2012 Google Apps  

After months and months of hard work put into planning, design, development, and testing, we finally launched KiSSFLOW at Google I/O. With this maiden release of KiSSFLOW, we have taken our first step towards realizing one of our dreams – democratizing computing! As we embark on this journey, I plan to bring to you, through a series of blog posts, all the work that goes behind the scenes and our thought process as we deliver new features and improve KiSSFLOW.

Minimum Viable Product or Minimum Awesome Product?

When we kicked off project Bridge (now KiSSFLOW), one of the initial discussions we had was to decide on the scope for the very first release. Unlike most of the discussions I had participated in earlier, this discussion for scoping was very different as the focus was not on finalizing the set of features, but on finalizing the key themes — Simple, Smart, Seamless and Secure.

We always knew WHAT we wanted to build and the features that we wanted to include in our workflow product for Google Apps. The only thing that was yet to be decided was the HOW part. Every design and implementation decision that we took was based on two simple rules — simple things must be kept simple and less is more, thus creating the ideal workflow app.

Here’s a quick look at some of the features that made it:

  • Process creation wizard: One of the key features that we have as part of this release is the simple and easy 5-step wizard for creating your workflows. The wizard guides the users through the process of creating workflows, thus allowing them to build it in minutes. With this, we are hoping that end users without any technical knowledge finally will be able to implement workflows. A dream of ours that we hope comes true!
  • Process steps: The other most important feature is simplifying workflow creation with process steps. A majority of the workflows are simple, but implementing them is never simple. The complexity is introduced when workflows are designed to cater to the exception flows. For example, a workflow request could be rejected or queried, in addition to the ideal case of being approved. We’ve abstracted the most commonly required use cases in a workflow into a set of predefined set of patterns called process steps, which could be used to build workflows more easily.
  • Google Apps integration: A very basic, but the most important feature that is a must for our target customers (businesses using Google Apps) is tighter integration with Google Apps. KiSSFLOW comes pre-integrated with Google Apps — Mail, Docs, Contacts and Login (SSO), allowing users to attach Docs directly to their workflows and collaborate with anyone else in their Google Apps domain.
  • Google Cloud: KiSSFLOW leverages the power of the Google Cloud Platform – Google App Engine and Google Cloud SQL. Each business that signs up for KiSSFLOW is allocated with separate database on Cloud SQL. Thus, businesses get the benefit of control and security along with the power of Google’s self-managed cloud.

This is just a beginning and there’s more to come… more of these blog posts from me, and more interestingly, more of the important and advanced features that you want, that we have already started work on.