As a company looking for a software development partner, it can be intimidating not knowing what to expect. However, many companies are more than willing to walk you through the software development process. In fact, some development partners offer software consulting services in addition to software development.
There are a few measures you can take to ensure that your software development project progresses as smoothly as possible. We’ve compiled a list of tips so that you can get the most out of your software development project experience! Here are a few common challenges that clients face and solutions for a successful software development project.
Challenge #1: Having an Idea For a Software Project Without a Solution
Here’s the thing: you have a great idea for a mobile app or custom software development project and you’re racing to develop an innovative solution before someone else does.
You find a development company you like and are excited to sit down and discuss your plan…. except they start asking questions about your project and you realize you haven’t thought about what the functionality would actually look like!
Some clients won’t have a good idea of how to make what they want work — and that’s okay. A big part of the discovery process is learning the ins and outs of your business and nailing down the technical requirements, design requirements and the details of the software solution.
However, when your chosen software development team can see that you’ve done your research—and have an idea of what you want—it makes the discovery process go much more smoothly and quickly!
Solution: Prepare for the Software Development Discovery Process
The team at 7T loves bringing our clients’ visions to life. When their passion shows in their preparation, it makes the experience better for everyone involved.
The development team will ask you questions about your project idea to get a better understanding of the project requirements and the expected budget and timeline. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers. However, consider what your project might look like, how the platform would respond to user interaction, and take some time to list your must-have features.
Challenge #2: Showing the Uniqueness of Your Development Project
Though it is important to be prepared, it is possible to plan too much when it comes to what you want the project to look like. Part of the discovery process can include relating your project to other tools and software that currently exist in your market. However, you won’t be able to develop a copycat project with minor changes.
What may seem like a pivotal feature and distinction to you could still be a liability. Unless you can clearly distinguish what sets apart your software solution from existing tools, it is better not to rely too heavily upon current examples.
Solution: Define the Core Value of Your Software Solution
Development companies will be on the lookout for “the why” of any development project. What makes this software solution significant to your company?
Consider the following questions as starting points for defining the purpose of your development project:
- Who is your target user?
- What need are you trying to meet?
- What is the crux of your solution: Innovative idea? Innovative approach? Modernizing your industry?
- How is your solution better than what currently exists in your target market?
- What is the expected ROI for your development project?
Identifying the core value of your project will not only help you through the development process, it will also help you market your product after—whether it is a B2B solution, a B2C product or an internal solution requiring employee buy-in.
When you understand the value of your project, it is easier for others to see it as well.
Challenge #3: Not Understanding the Capabilities of Current Technology
A development company won’t expect you to know how to develop the solution of the idea that you are pitching. However, it does help to have a general understanding of what technology is currently available. There is such a thing as a project that is too innovative. Your next big idea may be the technology of the future… but how far in the future?
If you’re expecting holographic technology to be integrated into your ERP platform, you might be in for a disappointing development process. However, there are many technologies available that power immensely innovative solutions.
Solution: Find an Experienced Software Development Team
Perhaps you learned about Machine Learning or Natural Language Processing and you are dying to integrate these technologies into your solution. Or maybe Augmented Reality and biometric authentication have caught your attention and must be included.
As you are looking for a development partner, ask what technologies or industries they specialize in and be sure to communicate any desired technologies for your development project. Understanding the capabilities of the development team is crucial to setting realistic expectations.
Managing these expectations before you begin development will help you make the most of your software development experience.
Challenge #4: Setting Unrealistic Expectations For Development Budget and Timeline
We understand that it is disappointing to have a great idea for a software development project if you lack the budget to make it happen. However, a great way to show the development team that you value their expertise and time is to come up with the current budget that you have for your project. Then, get a few quotes to see if you have the capacity to see the project through to completion.
Solution: Find the Best Software Solution that Meets Your Needs and Capabilities
Once you get your price point, it is perfectly acceptable to negotiate with your chosen development company. However, understand that you get what you pay for.
Decide if you are willing to sacrifice certain features to make it work or consider outsourcing your development project to an offshore team. There are multiple options available to keep your costs low. Determine what you are willing to compromise on and be open to the solutions that are available to you, such as phased development over the span of a year or even longer.
As you can see, a recurring theme is putting some time and thought into research so that you are prepared for a meeting with a potential development partner. If you do so, you are sure to make the most of your software development experience.
Challenge #5: Remaining Open to Direction During the Development Process
Even if you can clearly communicate your vision and understand the technology available, it is up to the developers to make it happen. You won’t be able to micromanage the day-to-day operations of the development project. However, when it comes down to it, you don’t want to!
The development team is there to develop the best solution for your company. Take a step back and let them blow you away.
Solution: Approach the Software Development Process as a Learning Opportunity
After you’ve handed over the requirements, allow your chosen company to drive the process. You can bring the vision, while leaving the technical expertise to the experts.
A big reason that clients outsource development work in the first place is for the combined expertise of the developers, business analysts, project managers and company leadership. You have a team of people ready to do what they do best for your development project.
If you’ve chosen a trusted development company, they will involve you throughout the process, gathering feedback, updating you on progress and showing you how your project looks as it evolves. By the time you see the finished solution, it will be well worth the wait.
Challenge #6: Constantly Changing the Project Requirements
Once you determine the project requirements with your development partner, don’t keep adding functionalities and design requirements! Constantly changing requirements will only delay your project, rack up costs, and tire out your developers. If the additional requirements are substantial, they may even halt production until a change request statement of work (SOW) is created.
There will come a time when the development team will cut off any further requests in order to hit deadlines in the development timeline. Additionally, the closer you get to project deadlines, the less you will be able to change. If this happens, don’t fret. You can discuss the possibility of adding additional features and change requests into future updates or app deployments.
Solution: Define and Stick to the Project Requirements
Feedback is certainly welcome throughout the development process. A good rule of thumb is that features can change, but the core elements of your platform cannot. Understanding this distinction is important for a successful mobile app or software development project.
It is the development team’s goal to develop an ideal solution to meet your needs and requirements. We want to make sure that you are not only satisfied with your development project, but that you are impressed with and excited about the results.
Making the Most of Your Software Development Experience
If you’re ready to start your development project, the team at 7T is ready to help. We can guide your business through the creation of a project strategy and work with you closely during the development process to craft the perfect software solution.
Based in Dallas, we work with clients across the U.S. and beyond. To discuss your project, reach out to the team at 7T today.