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A service for system engineers

Systems Engineering - Mobile App Case Study


Rewriting a React mobile companion application for improved User Experience

Jan Solecki

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The Story

Systems Engineering delivers a framework to successfully design complex systems — both in the technical and managerial sense.


Engineering systems is a very demanding task in itself. Orchestrating a multitude of parts to create synergy is never easy, and there are many standards and guidelines to be followed if a system is to be effective.


But in the process of system engineering, there is also a challenge of communication. Often the designed systems are so complex that they require harmonious cooperation of disciplines and silos, and the engineers also need to be able to communicate the results to various stakeholders.


Systems Engineering’s solution is twofold. On one hand, they pool together all the necessary tools that are needed to successfully design a complex system, and they improve them in terms of their cooperability and connectedness. That’s the offline part. There’s also an online part: a web service that supports the use of these tools.

We are working in a unique way because we’re talking more about the problem than a solution. Instead of giving requirements like “I want a bigger logo”, I need to have discussions in the spirit of “How do we engage the user more?” This places more expectation and responsibility on developers and I’m happy to see that Monterail experts got on board with this way of working. Emil Kampp Program Manager
at Systems Engineering A/S

Scope and Highlights

The Challenge

A mobile companion app for Systems Engineering serves as a tool that aids conversations around the systems being designed. It’s not the main Systems Engineering solution — the mobile app rather allows to quickly pull up key information from it, like details about the elements that underpin a system’s design, thus anchoring the communication on concrete aspects.

When Systems Engineering approached Monterail, they had the mobile companion app in place, but it required an interface redesign to improve User Experience. The technology that the mobile app was using also required changing for security and future extendibility reasons (from React Native JavaScript to React Native TypeScript). Although the core functionality was to stay the same, some new features were needed (like the ability to switch between workspaces), as well as an integration with a new API that the main web service had.

To rework the mobile companion app, Systems Engineering decided to side with Monterail to keep the communication at the highest level, since we were already engaged in developing the main web service.

Key challenges of the project included:


The Process

The development process started by gathering a set of overall requirements and user stories. As a next step, we collaborated with Systems Engineering to break the requirements and ideas into smaller, tangible tasks.

We repeated this process iteratively throughout the mobile app refactoring project. Working in this way, we carried out a number of technical and functional improvements like implementing end-to-end tests, or figuring out the best way to add a functionality where users can join workspaces that allow them to access various viewpoints for the system being discussed.

To keep the communication efficient, we leveraged various tools: Slack for daily updates, Zoom for ad hoc calls, Jira for backlog planning.

We worked using this setup with no hard deadline, taking care of the most burning business needs, until there were no more requests for improvements. This marked a successful end to the mobile project.

This is how we made it happen:

  • Active participation in the problem-solving phase

  • Frequent updates and close collaboration with the client

  • Providing technical answers to business or functional questions

When I joined the project I noticed two main goals on the horizon. First of them was the improvement of application stability. On the other hand, there were some UI/UX improvements to be made. Yet the most cool part was the implementation of "Workspaces" (similar to Slack's). The project was also a challenge when it comes to understanding the concept of RDS81346 system but all of the above improvements and features, mixed with an awesome atmosphere brought by Emil and the Team, was a great journey that I was happy to take. Michał Krawiec TECH LEAD, MONTERAIL

The Outcome

Thanks to our cooperation, the mobile companion app is functional, secure, future-proof, and has an improved User Experience. Although the underlying web service has changed significantly, the mobile app stayed functional and continued to facilitate the communication around the systems being designed.

The workspaces functionality that we implemented allows the users to have different viewpoints and discussion angles. 

The success of this project hinged on the following factors: