The App for Amateur Sports Teams

Teamable (2012)

Teamable is a mobile application that allows amateur athletes to easily set up matches and efficiently manage their teams. The project started in August, 2012 as the main project of a start-up company, Croquis. I was the only designer in the team, and I had no start-up experience, so I made many mistakes in terms of processes, and I learnt a lot from that experience.

Understanding the Problem

Managing an amateur sports team is unnecessarily time-consuming. Every time a team has a game, the manager has to check which members can attend, mostly by texting or making phone calls. Setting up a game isn't easy either. Finding a local team to play against is difficult, and the teams use various Meetup-type services to manage their teams, which disperses them over different databases. Teamable is designed to solve these problems and simplify the tasks.

< Teamable App >

The reason we understood the problem so well was because the founder of our company has a lot of experience managing an amateur football team. The painful experience of managing a team was the reason he started this company.

Making Many Mistakes

Having a person who fully understands the problems of a team is certainly an advantage but could also, in a way, be a risk. Since the other members had no experience in amateur sports team, the direction of the product depended heavily on the founder's opinion. Although that was helpful in the early stages of the process, it also made us neglect the research, as well as the interview process, causing problems later. One of these was the realization that the amateur sports system varies in different countries - a fact that we only realized after we started to develop the product. Hence we changed the plan from making generalised applications for many countries, to focusing on a specific market first. We had to start from the beginning again.

< Older version of Teamable >

In terms of developing a product, we weren't familiar with the Lean process because all the members were from digital agencies where the Waterfall process was mainly used. We kept skipping the important early stages too quickly, and started to build and even polish the product before we had done enough prototyping or user testing. Thus, the structure changed constantly after the polishing was done and new features were constantly added. One day, we stopped the whole process and talked about the problems in our process; we researched and tried a few different development methods until we found something that could fit our situation.

We learned so much from our mistakes in the process. Therefore, we understood why people kept talking about the lean process before reading the book. If client projects are short distance races, then the startup projects are marathons.

Working with Nike

Our team experienced a difficult time after the launch because of our lack of marketing abilities. We didn't have enough budget for marketing, so most of our marketing was depended heavily on social media. We felt like banging our heads against a brick wall. Fortunately, the founder of our company had a connection at Nike Korea. After we sent the brief introduction of the product to them, they contacted us to use Teamable as a platform for Nike Cup, their annual and biggest football event in South Korea.

< Nike Cup 2014 App >

We made a contract with them, and started to build a new app, Nike Cup 247, based on Teamable. The process wasn't easy because the project deadline was tight. It was only possible in such a tight schedule because Teamable already had most of the functions that Nike Korea needed.

< Nike, Inc. Website >

The event was successful. Nike Korea was happy about the result, and so was our team. Moreover, Nike Cup 247 was introduced on Nike official website, as an excellent example of mobile innovation.