Rather than spending money on an expensive software product that doesn’t quite do what you need it to, many businesses are instead opting to develop custom software. Custom Software Development is built specifically with the needs of your company in your mind so that you can realize maximum value, and often with less outlay. That being said, developing software is not easy. It’s important to work with the right people and use the right methodologies to get the outcome that you want.
Stakeholders are the people within your business who will be directly impacted by the software solution that you deliver. It’s important to choose them wisely; otherwise, you could find that what you provide isn’t actually what’s needed.
It’s a good idea to involve senior people in your business as they will understand the drivers behind the development, and they will have the authority to define budgets and resource allocation. However, it’s also important that you involve people who will be using the software, and whose day to day working lives will be most impacted by it as they will be able to provide valuable insights that their superiors can’t. For example, if you are developing a call logging solution, involve the people who will be logging their calls!
Be sure to involve your stakeholders at all stages of the process, not just at the beginning and the end. Get them involved in:
- Requirements gathering
- Solution design
Software development projects can be held up easily by blockers, such as waiting for a piece of information from someone who isn’t forthcoming! Be sure to get regular updates from your development team and work to remove blockers as quickly as possible to run your project efficiently.
Minimum Value Product (MVP)
In the traditional software development model, analysts would gather requirements for absolutely everything that the new piece of software would do, write them up, and that would be the blueprint for the delivery.
A much more effective approach is to work to quickly deliver something that solves the core problem or pain point. Once this is in place, you can then start work on the bells and whistles.
The benefit of this model is that the business sees value more quickly, which builds faith in the development team. It also means that feedback on the initial development can form requirements for future phases.
Be sure to make reporting a part of your initial development. You’ll want to be able to quickly show the improvements that your software delivery has made to the business, as well as promptly highlight and resolve any issues that may arise.
Development requirements should not be set in stone. Design your development process so that it allows your stakeholders to continuously contribute ideas and feedback, particularly after the MVP has been deployed. This has the dual benefit of enabling you to design the best possible software solution and building trust and rapport with your stakeholders.