10 Things that Save on Software Development

You have a great idea for software and a budget to create it. You have your plan and a web development team to make it a reality. Seems like you have everything in place for success, but several things could kill the project. Here are common mistakes founders and project owners make, avoiding them will save your budget and project.

 Don’t let UI/UX experts or designers drive the technology.

This is the biggest mistake of new entrepreneurs and visionaries. Hiring designers, who create flow outside the context of technology and whose sketches eventually replace functional specs is a strategic problem that we have witnessed hundreds of times. While the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are crucially important it is vital to do things in a certain order. 

The design shouldn’t define the technology you will be using. We have seen numerous cases where designers with a Gaudi ambition would invent unrealistic flows complicating the software and making production unnecessarily expensive. UI is responsible for the interactions that occur with the various systems, applications, and software, UX is the experience that website visitors and software users actually have. You want both to go as smoothly as possible.

Don’t commit to one development team

The importance of trust and confidence in the team you hired is crucial. Like all relationships, it is a lengthy and evolving process to cultivate. Achieving maximum motivation requires breaking projects into independent milestones that will allow progress to be seen. This also allows for the evaluation of team performance, efficiency, and maintaining the budget. This serves as an additional motivator to you and the developmental team. In case you are dissatisfied with the results after the 1st milestone you can walk away with a small piece of software and look for the next team to pick up from where you finished.

The development team should be working together to achieve common goals. Individual team members must have accountability for tasks performed during development. Efficient, structured individual team members make the effectiveness of the entire team optimal. The team should communicate openly and be able to implement responsibilities that are shared with little to no guidance from you. 

The ideal development team will share experiences to gain insight. They will criticize the ideas they have instead of the people who have the ideas. Interests of customers will be known and shared allowing them to leave the code more streamlined than when they started the project. Every member of the development team should have a clearly defined role and be familiar with the expectations of that role.

 Audit the code. Every time.

You are satisfied with the team’s efficient communication and quick turnaround, everything appears to be fine, but the code has to be reviewed. Hire an independent auditor. It is still possible to have an unoptimized messy code even if the front end seems to be working as intended.  It is painful to tell a client that his baby (software) is ugly and needs a complete rebuild after years of development and countless hours of billing.

Auditing the code serves to determine the accuracy and identify issues that can cause errors to occur. The coders are also evaluated when the code is audited allowing you to see which areas they are the strongest in and which areas they need help with. This will aid in determining which areas you need to focus on when you are establishing who you want to code your software. While determining who develops code it is important to ask yourself if you are able to do any of the basic codings yourself.

 Open Source it.

Every founder takes pride in his idea but building a log-in page from scratch wastes time and resources that could be more useful elsewhere. We have pointed potential clients to cost-effective solutions using existing themes or open-source elements making it possible to assemble a working product within weeks through customization. Remember your final product needs to be unique, not the way the user signs up or restores the password.

Open-source options are typically free making them ideal when the budget is limited and you are not in an area that requires special security features. A little time and research can help you to find an option that fits your project. 

Enforce Project version control etiquette.

It is great to have a copy of your code on a flash drive and in dropbox, or even use GitLab as a passive storage but version control ensures a successful project. It enforces the best coding practices, promotes healthy collaboration and gives you more control of the project. Version control has to be in place even with a developer on the team.

Keeping track of your work is important. Logging changes and saving various versions of the software and coding along the way will allow you to go back to a prior version when issues occur. Version control also allows testing to be done at various stages to ensure the coding is working properly. 

Don’t hire a CTO

The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is the liaison between Information Technology (IT) teams and the business. The initial development stage requires a software architect who envisions the technology and develops a roadmap for the project. Don’t bring in a CTO (unless he can take over the responsibilities of software architect) when your budget is limited and the fastest path to development and launch is needed. The plan should be detailed based on business needs and gathered data.

The entire project has to be mapped out from the start to find initial obstacles. You have to determine what your business needs, and what your target audience wants. A software architect can oversee design and development while communicating with both IT and the business. This aids in budget finalization and shows areas that allow for a potential reduction in expenses. The software architect will be in charge of the design and development of the applications for the software through the use of code.

Make data-driven decisions.

There will be differences in the appearance of features although while one is more attractive it might not be the most effective. The A/B testing (testing random elements) and survey results can guide your focus. It is inexpensive to use data for designing a new business, but it is expensive to build a website that won’t convert. There are multiple cost-effective solutions to incorporate data drive decisions into your software.

Results of A/B testing will show various elements to various users allowing their experiences to guide the development. More than one test should be performed on the elements by more than one tester. The elements are randomly tested giving you an  opportunity to see consistency in the results while keeping them impartial.

It is important to research the teams you hire as well as the products you use during software development. Take a look at the ratings and reviews for each of these to get data that allows you to make an informed decision. Gathering the data will assist you in determining exactly what product you should be producing.

Testers should test

It is important to have professionals do the testing instead of your close associates. Yes, they can test and provide valuable feedback but they will lack the necessary background to determine if coding and programming have been done correctly. This is why testing should be done by trained professionals who know how to spot issues, bugs, flow design, and provide actionable bug reports. It is a must for any serious web development.

Software testers should be up to date on the latest software to allow them to identify the flaws in the execution of the code. Testing random elements throughout the process can find these flaws before the project is finished and you’re stuck with a product that does not function correctly. 

Incorporate marketing tactics into the development

Serious entrepreneurs have a plan to attract customers and reach the target audience. It is easy to incorporate the tools for future marketing strategies into your product if this is thought through in the beginning. Customer relationship management and the ability to engage with users visiting your site are important considerations when it comes to marketing during the development stages.

Videos can be made to market that teach users about the website/software. This is also the beginning of relationships with customers making it essential to know the audience before you put them together. 

Build and test an MVP before going full throttle

It has become easy with current technology and available data to test your product before committing to financing for the development. A minimum viable product is all that is required to begin initial testing to determine if the design will work. Discuss this with the web development team.

MVPs can be built in less time using fewer resources while having the functionality to test and see if there is any traction. A lighter version will allow bugs to be found and worked out before the full project is dove into.

Have issues with any of the points described above? We can help! We are here to help develop the initial plan, build and audit code, set up version control, and deploy your finished product saving you thousands of dollars. That’s what we do! No project too small!