It’s no secret that custom software can help a business operate more efficiently and become more profitable. However, custom software development can be a lengthy and demanding process, both for the customer and the developer.
Although your developer brings significant expertise to the equation, it’s important to note that the customer (you) has considerable influence on how the process moves along. Successful custom software development depends on these factors:
How to Work With Your Custom Software Developer
1. Begin at the End
The best customers are the ones who know what their software should look like and how it should perform. Spend some time really thinking about how your software should perform, what it should accomplish, and how that is going to look. Sketch it out on paper. Bring this concept to your developer.
2. Know How Your Software Will Fit in With Your Business Plan
Custom software should serve your business. This is why your business plan is an important factor in the development of your software. If you don’t have a business plan outlining your goals before you begin a development project, you may end up wasting a significant amount of time and money. Defining the value to your company is paramount.
3. Know Your Market
How will your software help you to serve your customers? Whether you will be using it internally or externally, understanding your market will help drive development. Deciding this will help clarify the specific objectives and define a projected return on your software development investment.
4. Have One Decision Maker
Custom software development is rarely a single-person project. Chances are, there will be members of your staff who will need to weigh in on aspects of your software. While getting input from everyone is good for the overall project, there needs to be one person whose responsibility it is to maintain the focus of the process. Multiple decision makers can make a project go off the rails very quickly.
5. Watch Out for Scope Creep
Once you have established a plan of action for your software development, it can be tempting to add to the project as it progresses. This is where planning your development out in phases can help to control the overall length and cost of the project. Have a clear scope and stay within the boundaries of that before moving on to add bells and whistles. You’ll know how necessary those extra features are once people start using what you have already.
6. View Your Developer as a Team Member
When you hire a software developer, you might consider it a traditional customer/supplier arrangement. If you choose to view it as a team effort, however, you will come away with a more successful process. This means being as transparent and up front as possible throughout development. Holding each other to deadlines and helping each other meet deadlines will keep the whole project moving along.
7. Understand That Programming Can Be Extremely Complex
Sure, software developers make it look easy, but in reality, programming is quite complicated. What appears to be a simple element is often the result of many hours of work. Be aware that each change or request you make will take time to accomplish and will likely add to the cost of your project.
Custom Software with a Good ROI is No Accident
Successful custom software development is the result of collaboration between a developer and client. It can help your business become more profitable, but you must be well-prepared before beginning the process. Maintaining focus on the outcome as you move through the process will help you to keep on track.
If you think custom software would help your business to operate more efficiently, give Lieberman Technologies a call at 812-434-6625. We have extensive experience in custom software development and can help to guide you through the process.