Family of Apps
Then there were the
applications themselves. The team
developed 14 initial apps, including
tools for monitoring
sleeping habits. Each
one needed to work
intuitively and effectively, and became a
project of its own.
The process began with lunch meetings during
which the Sen.se team brainstormed unique things
that Mother and her Motion Cookies might be
able to achieve. Once an idea received preliminary
approval, the team would design a prototype and
test it in the company’s offices. Subsequent versions incorporated smarter algorithms based on
the earlier tests, ultimately leading to more formal
To guarantee the finished project would satisfy
end users’ needs, the Sen.se team field-tested each
application. For example, the team used Facebook
to recruit 60 people who volunteered to test a sleep
analysis app over two months. “This is not some-
thing you can simulate,” Mr. Haladjian explains.
“You need real people sleeping real nights in their
Through the project’s field tests, the team
tweaked the apps in a variety of circumstances that
could challenge a motion sensor: two people sleep-
ing in the same bed, for example, or people who sit
on their bed to put on their socks.
In Search of Synchronicity
The greatest project management challenge the
Sen.se teams faced was how to minimize problems
created by the simultaneous development of Mother’s major components: the platform containing the
server-side software, the hardware and the apps.
The fact that all were evolving simultaneously made
it difficult for any team to move forward, because
basic choices made by another team would impact
everyone by shifting common variables.
In 2012, Mr. Haladjian figured out a simple solution: pull all the teams into the same room. The
company had been split among three offices until
that point, but once Mr. Haladjian united them in
one office in a suburb of Paris, miscommunication
and friction immediately diminished.
“If someone made a change, now everybody was
aware immediately because that person could just
shout the information through the room,” Mr.
Haladjian says. “It was the most efficient way to
make everybody aware of how all the pieces were
moving. After we made that change, things started
to move forward.”
Although the project took longer than planned
and went over budget due to the unexpected num-
ber of iterations required, Mr. Haladjian is happy
with the result. Sen.se presented Mother at the
January 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, where
it received a Best of CES award. The product began
shipping to retailers and consumers in July.
To simultaneously track caffeine
intake, sleep patterns and workouts,
sensors are attached to a coffeemaker
and mattress, and placed in an
exerciser’s pocket. The sensors send
data to Mother.