Many business owners have been in a meeting and thought, “This would be so much easier if we had our own application.” And while many of us come up with ideas for winning applications, hard work, complex skill sets, and clear communication must come together when building a functional application. It’s rare that businesses have a full idea and scope in regards to what they want when they begin a strategic application development project much less what is actually feasible within their timeline, budget, and in-house team.
We’ve assembled a list of the top six questions to answer for your project before deciding how to move forward:
What are your project goals?
This seems obvious, but in addition to clearly outlining your scope, budget, and timeline, you must be flexible if you don’t have much experience with what could go wrong (or right) over the lifespan of a typical application development project. We highly encourage you to document your objectives. What do you expect this project to accomplish?
Most importantly, however, is the question: Do you already have employees or partners with the business acumen and software experience to decide if your project scope is feasible?
Employee skill sets?
Most companies don’t have an existing development team on-site to tackle these projects in-house. Large scale development requires Application Architecture, Full Stack Development Experience, Dev operations, and an Integrated QA Process. When you make the decision to hire a development team, who will be in charge of the consistent flow of communication, clear lists of individual tasks, and maintaining timelines? It’s important to ask yourself as a leader, “Does my team have the time, skills, and resources to work on this project?”
Do you need an experienced business analyst?
An experienced business analyst can help you navigate numerous unexpected turns when moving through the stages of an application development project. By working with a company that has a professional background in both business and software development, unseen obstacles and opportunities alike won’t come as a surprise as you plan and execute your project goals.
Ultimately, planning a software development project is a multi-faceted endeavor, and we could write an entire guide on this point alone.
Is the Team Precise, Timely, and Value Driven?
Shop around for a good price, but be sure to have realistic expectations about the timeline, quality, and budget within the scope of your project. By working with a full-service strategic consulting company that already has experienced software developers in-house, it’s increasingly likely that your project will be an amalgamation of these qualities.
What do you want from the development team?
Your development team may be skilled in writing, testing, and debugging code to create your vision, but are you sure that you have communicated what you want to them clearly? Do they understand the intricate details of your business and your industry?
If your development team is overseas, are you willing to adjust your normal business hours to have meetings with them? Is your business knowledgeable enough about the code that has been written to ask questions in your own interest? Do they have a project manager on their team who works directly with your company?
The skillset of a talented development team is indispensable. However, many developers are focused on the backend rather than the customer experience or user experience. They may deliver excellent software, but how does it look? Can your customers easily interact with the application without training or technical support?
Who is going to be responsible for upgrades and maintenance?
If you decide to contract just a development team over a long-term strategic business partner and manage the process yourself, consider how often you need to check back in for ongoing technical support, routine maintenance, upgrades, and security checks. If your in-house team feels comfortable with this, perhaps it’s worth it to contract the developers. If your current staff is less tech-savvy, however, it could be beneficial to have a trusted partner by your side.
If this list seemed a bit overwhelming, we believe that we can help. At VIRTUTEM, we strive to provide a full-service experience while developing applications that are independent, portable, scalable, and integrated with existing platforms used by your business. The ever-changing needs of your business require far more than just a development team, and we are prepared to work with you at every stage of this strategic application development process. Contact us today to get started.