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At Appify WP, we have dozens of years of experience as software developers. We have seen hundreds of projects being completed and becoming profitable, and hundreds of projects which have failed to achieve their purpose. Data Alliance has published a study that highlights the top factors which make software projects fail.
How to have control over your software development project
Sometimes the blame is on the software development team. But most times, people who hire developers fail to specify exactly what they need, or change their minds during the process several times. Every now and then, we may work with a person who didn't have the time to check the early prototypes we've sent, okayed them, and then, later on, when he actually took the time to review the project, it was too late, so it costed money to modify it.
This article will help you understand the best way of working with a software development team. Here are the key points that should be followed to the letter whenever it is possible.
1. Use the person who has got the most advanced technical skills in your company as an interface with the software development team. And make sure that they have got a clear understanding of what's being developed for your company. Be smart and don't fall for "best industry uptime percentage" marketing phrases; "guaranteed 99.9% uptime" is a measurable project specification. Here's an article that offers more insight.
2. Key project requirements must be clearly defined, and easily measurable. Try to explain to the developers what the application is supposed to do in a way that is easy to understand even by a child. Ask them to repeat what the software is supposed to do, to make sure that they've got it right. Keep a record of that meeting/conversation.
3. The developed application must fulfill its purpose fully, according to the requirements that are stated in the contract. If new features are needed, they should be the object of a new contract (or an addition to the existing contract) and paid for separately. We had a client who wanted us to deliver more and more product features without us getting paid for the new work. Things don't work this way in the software development world.
4. Use project milestones to send out payments to the software development team. This will help keep them motivated, and will offer you a degree of control over the development process. We usually work with a 20% advance payment, and then we split the rest of the money in four equal milestones/payments. We do require some money up front because we want to make sure that the client is serious. However, we don't ask for advance payments of 50% or more, the way that other software development companies to.
5. Get involved in the project early on! Request early prototypes, and then test them thoroughly. Ask your colleagues or employees to get involved as well, providing as much feedback as possible. It's the only way of assuring that the software does what it is supposed to do.
It is hard to have it redone afterwards, after the contract has expired, and it may cost you more money. At Appify WP, we strive to do our best and make minor changes and improvements to the projects for free, for up to six months. Bugs can be fixed for free for up to 12 months. Post-warrantee service contracts are available as well.
6. Be flexible. Sometimes, the software engineer may have a solution that's actually better and will cost you less money. Don't impose unnecessary constraints; work WITH the software development team, rather than against it. This doesn't mean that you should change the scope of the project just because you've been told to. Be open to their suggestions, though.
7. Evaluate application performance. You may get a solution that behaves as expected, but puts a big strain on server resources. Ask the team to make the application as fast as possible, because this will have a direct impact on your company's bottom line. You aren't supposed to buy a new, faster server, just because the software developers were too lazy with their coding.
I hope that you like these tips. They are the result of dozens of years of work with clients in various industries, and they should help you build a good professional relationship with your preferred software development team.