Software development projects are complex undertakings that often run into trouble before the project is fully defined. At the beginning of a custom software development project, a business owner needs to consider user requirements and business needs, whether they need custom software for internal use only or want to launch a new product. Writing software for an ill-defined need or to meet a vague set of functional requirements is inefficient. Spending extra time defining the scope and purpose of the software project will save time, money, and frustration. Begin your exploration of a potential development project by clarifying the business need the completed product meets.
Clarify Business Needs
The most important element of a successful project is meeting a defined business need. Define that need and do a little research before deciding that custom software is the best solution. The same rule applies to software designed for internal company use only. Dale Carnegie once said, “an hour of planning can save you ten hours of doing.” With custom software development costs being what they are and the business risks of rolling out ill-designed software, some extra thinking time is a smart investment.
Use the Right Architecture
Is this software for internal use only, or will it be sold or given away online? This might not change the project, but it makes sense to think about it first. Software for internal use will probably have one application serving the entire company, from one server or cluster of services. A “multi-tenant” architecture for multiple customers requires a different architectural design. It isn’t easy or cheap to switch gears halfway through a project because now the software has to work for customers using their own devices.
Consider Rules and Regulations
Healthcare and banking regulations impose numerous specific requirements that data protection software might need to meet. Make sure the requirements documentation reflects those rules. Find out how much the additional coding will cost. Depending on the application and industry, there may be other requirements the software has to meet. People familiar with the industry or business climate will know whether complying with those rules will require extra coding and testing.
Know What Data the Software Will Handle
Think about the information your software needs to handle. Will it be numerical or qualitative, or a combination? What language does that database need to use? These decisions and others affect how easily the software can be designed, updated, and integrated with other software if needed.
Account for Long-Term Business Plans
Custom software can be expensive, so you want to ensure it will still be useful in three years. Lack of strategic thinking can leave you with a piece of software you cannot support or that employees and customers do not need.
Consider your company’s strategy. How does the software fit into your company’s long-term plans? How many users do you expect this software to have? Are you ready to support that many people? Is that number likely to grow substantially? Make sure you can support that user base and any likely growth.
Planning Is the Key to Custom Software Success
At 245TECH, we firmly believe that time spent planning is time well spent. That is the best way to avoid expensive problems that can damage the company’s reputation. This is easy to understand in the abstract but can be hard to manage. Let us help you plan your custom software development to minimize business risks, meet users’ needs, and wow customers. If you are ready to launch a custom software project, contact us to schedule a 15-minute discovery call.