08 Jan Successful Custom Software Development Lessons
When it comes to custom software development, the old phrase, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” does not apply. There are things that clients need to know and should prepare for.
After more than seven years developing custom software, we’ve learned a lot. We know that it takes more than only one developer to build a successful application, and it also takes a solid working relationship based on communication and transparency between our firm and our clients.
For a custom software development project to be successful, it is important for you, the client, to know about the hurdles that may pop-up along the way. By preparing for complications that may occur, you can greatly reduce stress and frustration and help keep your project on-time and within budget.
Successful Software Development
1. Gives your business what it needs. Your software must solve your business complexities and challenges. If your processes are unique, you need a unique solution.
2. Watches the clock. A solid project management team working with you and the developers is imperative to keeping your project on schedule.
3. Sticks to the bottom line. When all your business requirements are clearly communicated to the business analyst and translated into the project plan, your project can be delivered within budget.
4. Ends with everyone happy. When your custom application, tailored specifically to your needs, is delivered on time and within budget, the relationship between you and our firm is left in good standing.
Why do things go wrong?
- Industry immaturity. Technological changes move at a lightning’s pace; that includes the coding languages we write in and the tools we use to develop software. It’s important that not only do you partner with an experienced firm, but one that also stays on top of cutting-edge technologies so your application, doesn’t become outdated.
- Poor processes. With or without software, having solid business processes in place is a must for any organization to succeed. if your business doesn’t have efficient processes in place, it can’t be effective and efficient. Mapping your business processes will dictate how your application will be designed.
- Poor communication. At Inverse-Square, communication is paramount. Not only do we send our clients weekly project status reports, but we provide full transparency as well. Using our project management tool, Liquid Planner, at any point during your project, you will have real-time access to view allour communications, even internal discussions about the workflow and status of your project. We can offer you the peace of mind that your project is progressing just as you hoped it would. Open communication keeps us accountable and you informed.
- Lack of understanding. If your development team doesn’t understand your business and its processes, your development project will not be successful. Our Business Analyst will meet with you to learn about the roles of your team members and the processes and procedures of your organization and to provide documentation of your processes to the development team. That documentation dictates how your application will be used to automate and improve day-to-day.
- Lack of resources. When deciding to go custom, a lot of organizations make the mistake of hiring one developer. It takes a team of people to get your project from inception to installation: project management, design and development, and quality control.
As a client, what can you do to help increase the odds of success of your project?
- Know the contributions that you will need to make. From requirements detailing at the beginning of your project, to giving feedback during the design and testing phases, it’s important that you continue to be involved and communicate.
- Understand the phases of your custom software development project. From the design, to the build, and the testing, you should be aware of how your application goes from an idea to reality.
- Be curious. There are no dumb questions. Never be embarrassed to raise your hand if you don’t understand something being communicated to you.
- Challenge the developer’s understanding. Talk about your business and processes to the development team so they know the inner workings as best as possible. The more we know about your processes, the better we will be at making them more efficient.
- Challenge your understanding. Discuss your application with the project team as much as you need to gain confidence in your knowledge. If you feel confused, lean in and make them explain.
- Be transparent about your resources and needs. Clearly define your timeline and explain why it exists and be honest about your budget up front.
By having a full understanding of the development process, your role in it, and committing to honest and transparent communication with the project team, you can be confident that your custom software development project will be a success.