02 Mar The Custom Software Guide, Part 2: Putting the Plan Together
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Once you and the software developer have decided that a custom application is the best course of action for your business, the software firm will provide you with a budget and demonstrate what they are going to build for you.
The Initial Budget
At this early stage in the process, you should not expect a specific budget, rather a wide range budget. From this wide range, the software firm would like you to understand what you think the range should be and the level of commitment you have to fix the problem.
Once the initial budget is established, the developer can get more extensive with the design and hone in on more accurate pricing.
You should spend some time learning about your developer’s styles and techniques so you can understand your developer’s design process and will know what to expect. In doing so, you may hear terms like ‘Agile’ or ‘Waterfall’ Methodologies. Both are relevant and have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re unsure about the design process, ask your developer to explain so you know what your role as a client in the design process is.
Much of the design phase includes a gathering of high-level information and detailed requirement documentation. It will also include a lot of face-to-face meetings between you and the developer in order to gather information so as to thoroughly understand your business needs.
The Final Budget
After an effective design phase, the software developer should have a 95% complete wireframe. A wireframe is essentially a blueprint of a website, and with it in place, you should be able to get a final price on what your software will cost to build. It may be a cost estimate of +/-20% based on a time and material quote, or it may be a flat fixed bid.
In addition to a tighter budget estimate for the project, you should have clearer picture of a proposed timeline. You should also know, who is on your team, what their responsibilities are, and when each member is working on what. If you haven’t been provided with this information and aren’t when asked, then this is a red flag. Not being given this information is indicative that there’s not a great plan in place for execution. You may need to ask to revisit the design process before you sign a contract or you might even need to consider an exit strategy.
Now that you know exactly what the target is for the project, it is time to decide if you are happy with the service the developer plans to provide. If you are not pleased with their service or you’re not connecting with their team, you should be able to grab your blueprint and walk.
But if they are the right fit, and you are ready to move forward with the project, then it’s time to tighten the scope of the engagement. This will come in the form of a contract.
Up Next, The Application Is Underway
Once your contract is signed, the developer will begin to build your application. But, even though you’ve completed the design process, your input will still be needed. We will cover what you can expect during this stage of the process in Part 3 of our Custom Software Guide.
If you have any questions about our guide to custom software, or if you would like to learn more about a custom web application for your business, contact us today!Talk to Us