Important Factors When Building Software for Your Company
When your company decides it’s time to build software to meet its precise needs, you enter into an entirely new world that you probably don’t know anything about. This is scary, but this isn’t necessary. You simply need to enter in armed with information. With this in mind, there are two important factors when building software you must always remember.
Know Everyone’s Skills
While you’re already familiar with what your company can do, you also want to know what the IT firm you’re working with is capable of. This is important because there are many IT organizations who claim they can develop major applications from scratch when they really can’t. Some other skills you’ll want to make sure your team has include a:
- Professional experience that consists of a really strong technical background
- Passion for learning about new technology
- Good voice (e.g. well-spoken, articulate)
- Problem solving mentality
- Team player mentality
- Mindset towards efficiency and creativity
These things more than likely surprise you as you were probably thinking more of technical skills than characteristics here, but these are very important. The technical skills are important and you’ll want to make sure that you choose someone who knows the coding language you want your software created in (As a side note here, a person who can move between languages is more desirable than one who specializes in a single language unless you’re creating a special project.), but soft skills also say a lot about a person. One of the most important things it tells you is whether the person can apply their fundamental knowledge to any code or industry they come across.
Costs Escalate Quickly
Many organizations dramatically overestimate costs as a safety net. While this is beneficial, you don’t want to overdo it here. With this in mind, you must take a look at a few things as you create a workable budget for your project. These include:
- How much money can you set aside for this project? As a SMB owner you must show responsibility when it comes to your resources. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you choose the right IT firm, but understand there are some risks involved you simply can’t calculate ahead of time.
- What will your project consist of? Everyone (e.g. people who work for you, developers, and your customer persona) must agree on what the completed software should look like. Developers must have a good understanding of this. Without everyone working together while keeping the customer persona in mind your IT team can’t create the right software.
- How committed are you to seeing your project meet the specifics you’ve established for it? If you’re highly committed to this, it’s important to understand that time and money are two things that must stay flexible if you want to see the project through to the end. If you’re more concerned with managing costs and risks, you may want to launch your software with some “must-have” features and functionality and then release updated versions of your software with “nice-to-have” features after you launch.
- What happens when the unexpected occurs? Bugs often take longer to work out than you’d expect and every time the software undergoes user testing new bugs are usually found. To keep bugs under control, make sure that your firm unit tests their work. Unit tests prevent bugs from resurfacing and helps with regression testing, meaning whenever changes are made, unit tests are ran to make sure that nothing was broken by any new code changes. This will save you precious time and money. When firms do not have a solid development life-cycle that includes unit testing their work, your software launch gets moved back because bugs need to be worked out. You can’t overlook unit testing and the effects it will have on everyone (including your customers).
Choosing who to Work With
When you’re ready to choose who you’ll work with, make sure you’re careful. Consider everything from talent to cost. This is especially true about the financial aspect of your project since some companies honestly want to save you money and keep your business while others go out of their way to get more of your money.