For a lot of small businesses and start-ups, software development is a vital part of the journey. A lot of industries rely heavily on software to make their business as smooth and efficient as possible. However, this process of getting and maintaining the software comes with its own challenges.
Today we will be exploring ways that a small business can map out the process for successful software development.
“Is it really that hard?”
Being a bespoke software development company, we often see companies with unrealistic expectations, requirements, or timescales. However, on the other side of the sword, we also see clients who overestimate the cost and timescale of their projects. It’s almost impossible to know just how expensive or how long a project can take if you have no experience with software development and why we recommend speaking to a professional and suitable partner about your bespoke software needs.
Internal vs white label software
There are two main aspects of software development that are relevant to most businesses. The first one is software systems designed for your company, such as payroll or CRM systems. The second one is white label software. This is created for the company to brand and sell as their own on a one – off or license-based system.
Regardless, it is always good to look at the key elements of starting software development. So here are our tips for key factors to keep in mind.
The first and probably most important stage of development is defining and understanding the scope and size of the problem you want to address. Which processes do you want to introduce or transform with this new software? What is it you are aiming to achieve with this?
Setting down initial requirements is absolutely vital to ensuring development is smooth and stays on course.
In some cases, you might not know exactly what you want to achieve or understand the possibilities available to you. However, a skilled development team will be able to help you analyse and solve your pain points and problems.
Shortlist potential development partners
Most start-ups or small companies don’t have the resources for in-house development while also focusing on management of the actual business. Consequently, an external solution provider is often the answer. As well as taking the time to analyse your actual requirements it is also well worth checking out multiple suitable developers to make sure you are suitable together.
Do they have credentials and testimonials to back up their service? Any awards or customer references? They should be able to show that they are working to a good industry standard.
A good partner will help you do three important things
Create a minimum viable product
This will prove that the model will actually work in practice.
Leverage any work already done
By taking a simple test version of your software they should be able to turn it into a solid and reliable product.
Provide finance solutions
Funding a project made bespoke is oftentimes a problem especially for payment upfront. So finance options should suit your budget and timescale.
Planning is priority!
Planning for a bespoke development never truly ceases. Throughout the project you will be required to test and check your software and see what you think of it. Some features will work in theory but perhaps not in practice and vice versa. The next stage of development should always be on your mind. The developers will of course help you with this as well, but nobody knows what you want better than yourself.
Communication is key
Communication is a fundamental element of any software development project. As a client you will need to know what exactly has been happening between meetings. Developers will not only need to communicate clearly with you but will require clear communication from you in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
You should be able to see prototypes early on in the project, to encourage experimentation, testing and discussion. Once you are able to test your software you will be able to suggest features or modifications to be built into the system. You can also make sure the product will be safe and free from bugs and glitches upon going live.