Custom software development can be the key to boosting
revenue and productivity with the perfect app. Or, it can be expensive,
time-consuming, and pointless if the process drags on or the buyer gets a piece
of software that doesn’t meet their business needs.
Having worked within the software development industry for
so long, we know that the biggest issues that affect developers and their
clients don’t appear out of thin air. Instead, they stem from things like poor
planning and a rush to get a finished product out the door quickly.
That’s because a good piece of custom software is sort of
like a cake that has to be baked. If you have a solid recipe, the right
ingredients, and a diligent baker, you’re going to end up with something that
looks and tastes great. On the other hand, if you wing it every step of the
process, substitute salt for sugar, and give yourself an unrealistic deadline,
the final result will be unappetizing to eyes and stomachs.
Because this is so important to understand – and because
custom software development can be so profitable for businesses that use it
correctly – we want to help you avoid making the common big mistakes. Here are
nine ways you can prevent or solve the kinds of software development issues
your colleagues and customers are struggling with…
#1 Ask Customers or
Users What Features They Want
One of the classic mistakes you see in custom software
development occurs before a single line of code has been written: moving
forward with the wrong idea. If you aren’t creating something your customers,
employees, or users want, then it doesn’t matter how great your software looks
or what the performance is like.
You might use polls, questionnaires, or interviews. No matter
what you prefer, though, it’s important that you get a sense of what features
and functions matter most to the people who will actually use your software.
Otherwise, you could end up with something they aren’t going to adopt in the
#2 Plan Extensively,
Even if You Think Your Project is Simple
Ideally, you’ll want every phase of your custom software
development project planned out in advance. You’ll want to know exactly what
your app will do, what it will look like, and which tools will be integrated
before your programming team starts putting it together.
You might even anticipate stumbling blocks, programming
challenges, and future releases. That information isn’t crucial at the outset
(and in fact can be difficult to predict), but having more information and
insights is better than less.
#3 Get a Written
Agreement with Milestones Spelled Out
Naturally, your software development team is going to want
you to sign a written agreement or proposal before any work begins. When you
do, be sure that the deadlines and expectations for major milestones are
spelled out thoroughly.
From a client’s perspective, this can add a little bit of
peace of mind. You want to know when you’ll start seeing early versions of your
software, at what date you can expect it to launch, and so on. For developers,
these sorts of milestones also prepare the client so they can be ready to make
important decisions in a timely way. That helps everyone to keep the process
#4 Decide on a Look
for Your Software Interface
What do you want the various screens or pages within your
software package to look like? At some point, early in the process, it’s good
if you can decide on a certain aesthetic that will carry from one interaction
to the next. That’s because you don’t want your programming team making a lot
of last-minute changes to the visuals if it’s not necessary. That can lead to
crashes and inconsistencies.
If you have a sense of how you want your interface to be
presented, bring that up early on. The design element of your app isn’t
necessarily as important as the concept itself, but it does add to the overall
feel and usability of the finished product.
#5 Create Flowcharts
for User Flow and Interface Design
In some ways, custom software projects are similar to web
designs. That’s not only because many new apps end up on the internet; it’s
also because you want to manage things so it’s as easy as possible for users to
get from one screen, prompt, or feature to the next.
To maximize usability, work with your development team to
come up with flowcharts and menus that guides users through the various steps
needed to complete common tasks. You’ll double check this work in the testing
phase later, but it’s easier if your software is set up in a coherent way from
#6 Give Prompt
Feedback to Your Development Team
As they move through the design and programming phase of
your software development project, your creative team is going to present you
with various models and mockups. These might be screenshots, artistic designs,
or versions of your app with limited functionality.
When you receive them, take care to respond with any
feedback in a timely way if possible. That will stop the development project
from stalling, of course, but will also make it easier to facilitate a
back-and-forth discussion that influences future work. To put it another way,
it’s easier to prevent the same mistakes from being repeated again and again
when your programming team is getting solid and immediate responses.
#7 Leave Time for
Beta Testing and Security Evaluations
Sometimes, business owners, nonprofit directors, and
executives get so excited about a software development idea that they want to
rush the product to market, or get their team using it as quickly as possible.
That enthusiasm is wonderful, but you should always leave a little bit of time
on the calendar for beta testing and intensive review from your creative team.
No matter how well-planned or envisioned an app is, there
are often small corrections that need to be made once real humans start
interacting with the product. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure your software
is as stable as it can be, and that it isn’t leaving you open to any kind of
security concerns. It can be hard to wait while testing goes on, but it’s an
important step that shouldn’t be skipped.
#8 Plan for Future Updates
Once your app is ready to launch, schedule some time with
your development team to review your progress and talk about version updates
later. You might not have any idea what those updates will be like, but you are
very likely to need something once
your software is in use.
Little patches, revisions to text, and feature growth are
all common requests that come into play after an app or software package has
been delivered. By planning to review for these changes ahead of time, you can
make it easier for you and your team to keep track of what you might like to
#9 Choose a Software
Development Company You Can Trust
It’s worth pointing out, of course, that everything we’ve
suggested on this list is easier to accomplish and manage when you have a team
of experienced and professional software developers on your side. That
expertise is going to come with a cost, but you’re also going to get what you
need and expect in the end.
There is a common misconception that programming is all the
same and it doesn’t matter who you work with for custom software development.
However, the lowest bidders and newest providers start out on the bottom wrong
for a reason. If you want software that helps your business to grow, and wish
to avoid the kinds of headaches and issues that can cause you to give up on the
project before it’s finished, then do yourself a favor and work with
professionals you can trust.
Turn to Us for Custom
An experienced Arizona software development team won’t just
give you a completed application you need – they’ll also have plenty of
questions and guide you step-by-step through the programming process.
That’s how we’ve been so successful at Kinetik IT. With more
experience than virtually any other team the Phoenix area, we have helped our
clients to develop usable software that works in a variety of situations, and
on just about any kind of platform or operating system you can imagine.
Whether you have a perfect idea of what you want your custom
software package to do, or need to talk about the possibilities with a team of
experts, we’re here to help. Contact our development team today and will be happy
to schedule a no-obligation consultation for you. In just one short
conversation you could get all the information you need to grow your company,
automate repetitive tasks, and improve your bottom line.
Why not reach out now and get the answers you need?