In our 20 years of experience providing custom software teams to our clients, our most frequent challenges in building or redesigning custom software have to do with waste and user adoption. Let’s have a look at where we can improve those areas for your next software project.
Waste – Experience and precise planning is a requirement for being able to efficiently run a team of engineers and effectively completing a complicated software project. While it might seem quicker to just jump to the development stage, the time taken to lay out the “how” and “when” of the project, in the beginning, will often save both time and money. Coordinating the pacing of the design, frontend, and backend prevents gives teams actionable items that they can complete simultaneously. Once the initial time is spent understanding user needs and designing solutions in the initial stages, it reduces the need for heavy iterations after the initial product launch. These corrections often lead to hundreds, if not thousands of wasted man-hours. This can be devastating to the budget and morale of the client. When it is translated to hard costs, we can imagine the impact it has on the bottom line of the project.
User Adoption – The risk of the end-user not actually using the app that was designed for them isn’t an irrational fear of an obsessed entrepreneur; it is often the reality of a finished project. CIO magazine has reported the over half of all IT projects are set up to fail before they even begin their first sprint. The major factor to this demise is the lack of thought given to understanding the user needs at the beginning of a project. This is compounded by the fact that once an application is completed the initial launch if the design isn’t intuitive it is difficult for the users to figure out how to use it.
We have developed an effective approach to avoid these issues. To combat waste, we are using “ Sprint Zero” at the start of every project. We start with an existing framework for each team and project. A detailed plan is put in place to not only manage the team but to hold the teams accountable. To fight against the risk of low adaption, we emphasize a human-centric approach to our design. It is the same process many popular brands like Google, Apple, and Slack use, and it is the reason we have had such great success with our clients.
Define What You Want
The best way to get the final app that you want is to have a clear idea of what you want. This includes setting a priority for the features and design elements that you want. Of course, there is always room for discussion, but you need to be the one that can direct what the final app does and looks like. This defines the future relationship between you and your prospective user. You also need to define the kind of engagement model you need at the time. A short-term solution, like staff augmentation, project-based partnership, and tactical consulting can be great if you are at the initial or final stages of a project. The initial consulting can help focus the custom software teams and staff augmentation will be great to provide support and maintenance once the app is launched. Longer-term engagement models can span several phases and even projects. These could include product development, strategic consulting, and offshore software development. At WebCreek, we are able to provide support and teams at every stage of the development.
Who Should You Work With
When the “what” is determined, you need to also decide on the “who”. There are many places to start your search for a custom software development team. It can be recommendations from friends and co-workers, directly listings, a Google search, or in a marketplace. Nearshoring your software development to South America has become a popular choice for many IT solution providers. The benefits of being in the same time zone and affordable developer rates are hard to match for many North American companies.
With the convenience of being in the same timezone as the majority of the U.S., South America is becoming a better option than many of the Indian and Asian companies that have been used in the past. Add to that the savings that can be realized by the lower hourly rate of developers in South America, and many Latin American countries have been growing in popularity recently for custom software teams.
Making Your Final Choice
As you work through the process of choosing custom software teams, you should have several companies to look at. How do you determine which ones to interview and work with? With your research, you can start to select a few, make a working list, and start asking key questions to determine the best fit for your partnership. Once again start with your needs, and see if there are any companies that are a natural fit for you. Have they worked on similar projects? Do they have a history and reputation within your industry? You might have to dig a bit and do some research to find out what they can and can’t deliver. Once you have some companies that fit the technical requirements, you also need to consider the intangibles. Are they easy to talk to? Do you have a common viewpoint on design and function? Does the organization culture fit with yours? With all the work you have already done with planning and research, the tendency will be to start working with the new partner right away. But, it is always wise to take your time. Sure it is delaying the project start, but imagine the time wasted by having to change development companies part way through a project. When you are ready with a shortlist of candidate companies, don’t forget to ask for and check references.
WebCreek is committed to choosing and retaining the best talent in each of the countries we have an office. We are able to thrive in a highly competitive environment by maintaining a high standard in not only the developers we hire but also the projects we complete for our clients. Keeping high-quality people at all levels in our organization is crucial to meeting our high aspirations.