Throughout my career in app development and building software, I have worked with numerous clients and constant communication with them, whether it be the initial DevReady process or validation of the progress made through releases, is of immense value.
One of the many ways in which I maintain the feedback loop with the clients is through surveys. For one of the recent ones, a question I asked was, “What are the three major concerns that you have when entering a Software project or an app development project?”
There were, quite obviously, many answers to that question, but one client’s answer stood out to me. He had simply written the three concerns as being:
- Time to deliver
- Time to deliver
- Time to deliver
I couldn’t agree more! When an app development project goes over time, it sure raises many concerns, not just monetary implications!
Taking more time than estimated is just one of the concerns. Based on my experiences and those of my clients, here are what I think are the three major risks that can arise when developing an app or building software:
If you’ve worked in a software company and on app development, there is a high probability of you having promised a solution to the client only to go back to them and say that it would take you a couple more months to deliver. Software and app development projects taking longer than planned sure is one of the significant risks.
Many factors lead to it—optimistic estimation tops the list. Most clients want to get the most out of their buck and emphasize that each dollar be spent on development.
In truth, not many recognize that having a proper plan is necessary. An app development/software project has many overlapping dependencies, an endless number of tasks, and as many resources are needed.
And needless to say, a lot of these are non-developmental tasks that are often not included in the estimates.
Many developers also provide unrealistic estimates because they believe tasks can be completed sooner than is realistic. This is all to say that if the project roadmap is not set properly and to realistic time estimates, issues will arise.
Likewise, projects are overrun when there are software requirements that are either unclear or keep changing. There might also be issues with knowledge transfer and coordination, or sometimes a key resource might leave the project mid-way. All these concerns impact the timeline.
When a project takes more time than was allocated, it can lead to several problems:
- With delays, stakeholders tend to lose interest and may even look for other solutions
- The delay may cause a loss in revenue and loss in productivity
- The delay may also lead to reputational risk with clients and other stakeholders
No one wants to be in a position where you have to go and find more money. Rebalancing numbers on a spreadsheet, the uncomfortable conversation with management, your business partner, investors or even a spouse—projects that run over budget can lead to these and many more.
66% of enterprise software projects have cost overruns. The reasons? Well, numerous. To begin with, there’s scope creep. As projects develop, clients often want new additions—more features and better quality. If they, however, don’t agree to pay for additional hours or changes, every hour added and every change made will eat away from the initial budget and will end up costing more than agreed to.
Unplanned project changes, not necessarily scope creep, also lead to budget overruns. These changes could stem from adapting to a new third-party integration, lack of essential materials, and realising that an important feature is missing…
Needless to say, poor planning and lack of coordination could also lead to budget overruns. Whatever may be the reason, when a project exceeds the allocated budget, it can lead to some problems:
- The more times investors are asked for money due to failures, the more likely it is that investors will lose trust
- It will become difficult to get more projects in the future because of a loss of trust with clients
Many projects start with a seemingly good idea. But, the project, often times than not, remains rather vague and lacks clear definition, objectives, benefits and deliverables.
Then there are these ‘what if(s):
- What if you spend 12 months building a solution that no one wants?
- What if you solve a problem that no one cares about?
- What if you have focused all your energy on the wrong Technology?
- What if there’s no buy-in from the users?
I have seen projects that have gone overtime and are over budget but have still added significant value to the users and businesses. Unfortunately, I have never seen and will likely never see an inferior, misdirected, or wrong solution succeed.
Seth Godin says, “Your job isn’t to find more customers for your products; it’s to find more products for your customers.” Having the product market fit is a must-have for success. Your product, after all, needs to satisfy strong market demand. Validate your idea. If there’s no validation from the end-users, do not build it because even if you do, there’d be no market for it.
To make sure that you are not spending time and money building the wrong solution, do the following:
- Understand the problem the customer/client/user is facing
- Ensure that the problem is prevalent or is large enough for people to need a solution for it
- Ensure that the proposed product or service solves that problem
The tech industry is highly competitive.
To stay relevant and hopefully get ahead amidst stiff competitors, companies need to be constantly on their toes—software or custom app development companies included.
Using legacy systems, outdated technology and traditional IT practices will not cut it anymore. There needs to be a major change in the approach. Agile has become a buzzword in tech. In simple terms, agile methodologies are those that are centred around iterative development. This has been said to work wonders in recent times.
So, how do we stay agile and also avoid the unknowns? Here’s a list of what I think can help:
Define Your Outcome
- Gain clarity on your outcome
- Understand the problem
- Know what you are building and who the end users are
- Articulate your outcome to all stakeholders
- Set aside 10% – 15% of budget to test assumptions
- Think of the big picture
- Get stakeholders involved
- Define wireframes, components and user flows through the system
- Build the priority features
- Validate them
Get User Feedback
- Use feedback and continue to refine
- Ensure stakeholders are clear on
- Once the risk to delivery is reduced, make Project Roadmap
- Allocate budget
- Allow buffer zones for tweaks in budget and time
- Target at 2- 3 months
- Once delivered, work in manageable sprints!
- Factor in user feedback
- Keep agility in product iterations
DevReady is the Ultimate Solution!
Based on my years and years of building software solutions and having encountered the problems discussed above, we developed DevReady.
Many software consultations centre around using a one-size-fits-all solution. DevReady is different because it understands that both your business and your proposed solution are unique and so we’ll help with and work with you to develop a ‘scalable product’ that your users will love.
Here’s how we do it:
Step 1: Discover
We document and explore the ideas, features and functions that your product may incorporate.
Step 2: Investigate
We take care of the technical research, prototyping and reviewing of third-party integrations to minimise the risk to your project.
Step 3: Define
We work with you to articulate and document the project’s requirements, goals, estimate cost, risks and user journey.
Step 4: Design
We design UX/UI, engineer the system architecture, document the and estimate the expected project timeline.
Step 5: Validate
The key stakeholders validate all of the previous steps. The validation phase takes the current system definition through the entire process again to ensure complete accuracy before moving into development.
Whether you are a start-up founder, a project manager or an innovation manager, DevReady will serve your needs! Before throwing millions of dollars down the drain and giving endless years to a project, reach us for a Free Consultation to ensure that you build a solution that people will love.
Let’s get DevReady-ing so that your idea becomes the next big idea! Also, did we tell you the most important thing? If you don’t find value in our DevReady Process, we will return your investment.”
Nothing to lose, everything to gain!