You’re at the top of your game – your business is growing and it’s time to take a big step forward and get a bespoke application developed. Rest assured you’re making the right choice – Getting a custom app developed can do incredible things for efficiency, customer experience and bring a broad range of other positive effects. If done right, a good piece of software can revolutionise an industry – look at Uber and AirBnB. With good planning and execution, this could be the best business decision you’ve ever made.
So, you’ve allocated a budget and are looking for a developer to work with to get the job done. A quick Google search shows you there’s no shortage of options, but which one do you choose? None of them lists any pricing – software development can be a bit “how long is a piece of string”, both in terms of hourly rates and development scope.
So, what’s the right strategy to use? How does one find the length of this metaphorical piece of string? This is something the NXTWORK team have had a lot of experience with, and I’d like to share what we’ve come to find to be the best approach in answering this question.
Tip 1: Write a Scope
Before getting started, it pays to first firm up your vision of what your application should be in as much detail as possible. This will serve as an ideal starting point for discussion around your app.
The more detail the better, and it’s crucial to capture any and all important features and design elements. For instance, to say your application should “automatically assign new jobs to a technician” leaves a lot open to interpretation.
For this example – How should the application choose which technician to assign to? How are they notified? What happens if they don’t acknowledge the job within a certain timeframe? How does the application deal with people being on leave? Does it need to integrate with a rostering system you use?
The more detail you go into, the more accurate the initial round of scoping will be.
Tip 2: Get Technical Design Documentation Done
To take things a step further, A Software Architect can help you put together detailed technical documentation. This documentation is intended for software developers. It describes how the application should work, down to the functions and classes to be written and how they should interact with each other.
Think of technical design documentation as the equivalent to a construction blueprint (hence the name, Software Architect). When you have a blueprint, you can be sure that the design and scope of the software is well understood, before work on the code begins.
What’s more, technical documentation can make a huge difference to the efficiency of a development project once the work begins. Seeing the full picture up-front can be a huge aid to developers in building things right the first time around – potentially avoiding costly oversights, bugs and mid-project changes that can inflate development timeframes and costs.
Depending on the size and complexity of the application, getting technical documentation done could be the best advice I could give you. If you’re looking at spending a relatively large amount on a bespoke line of business application, then spending $1,000-2,000 beforehand to make sure everything is properly captured, planned and quoted is a no-brainer.
Tip 3: Work with a company that develops transparently
Now that we’ve got our scope and technical documentation, the next step will be to start work on the code.
A software development project will typically takes weeks to months. It’s important to understand how often you’ll be getting updates and what kind of access you’ll have to your application as it’s being built.
NXTWORK takes a unique approach in this regard – we break our projects into small milestones with frequent release cycles. This means that we provide you with access to the application as soon as possible, then provide you with updated versions as we progress through features and capabilities.
In a typical project, we’d provide you with a first development release of your application within 3-4 weeks of the development process starting. We then iterate on it, with an updated version being provided every 2-4 weeks, depending on the size of the milestones.
By contrast, many software development companies will provide little transparency, leaving you with nothing to show for your investment in them for months at a time. This can lead to situations where the final product isn’t what you were expecting, and fixing it will require months of revision and extra costs.
Our approach, next to our broad expertise, is one of our greatest strengths, which is why we can say with confidence that you will be 100% satisfied with NXTWORK as your software developers, and software designers.
Thanks for taking the time to read these tips. With the above in mind, I’m you’ll be on the right path for your project to be both competitively priced and, importantly, produce an application that encapsulates everything you set out to achieve.
If you have a project you’d like to discuss with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us for an obligation-free discussion, advice or a quote.