The relationship between a custom software developer and their client is built on honesty. If the developer and the client are able to hash out important details before the project begins, the development process will be smoother and the client will be happier with the end results. Although the software developer is responsible for communicating clearly with the client, it is up to you as the client to understand what your needs are so that you can pose the right questions to your software developer.
Asking some of these questions may be challenging, but it will lend itself to long-term positive results.
Conversation One: Honestly Discuss Your Budget
Having custom software designed is expensive. This is because it is difficult to do, it is fraught with risk, and there are not a lot of people who can do it well. There are a lot of people in the business who think they are better than they are at the job. They want to sell their services, so they try to minimize what real expenses will be. Then, you as a customer find yourself in the middle of a project that has gone over budget but has not reached your standards.
You need to know what your budget is. Determine if you want to pay by the hour or for the project. What are the milestones you want to have reached, by what time, and for how much? Once you have those concepts clear in your mind, then you can look for a custom software development firm that will meet your needs.
Conversation Two: Define Your Elevator Pitch
If you do not have an elevator pitch, your project has no direction. You should be able to clearly explain what the application you are building can do in 30 seconds. What is the goal? Do you want to improve website traffic, improve visibility, or improve revenue? Other questions you should be able to answer include:
- What is your target audience?
- What are long-term goals?
- What does your application do?
If you do not have these questions clear in mind, you may begin developing a project blind. This can get very expensive.[adsense]
Conversation Three: Identify Your Role in the Development Process
Some businesses prefer to have a hands-off approach in the custom software development process. Others want to be more hands-on. Knowing what you want in advance will allow you to find a developer who works with your style. If you have a more hands-on approach, it can be frustrating working with a developer who prefers to be assigned a task and then have free range on how they are going to attack it.
There are benefits of being involved in the process of development through its various stages, including:
- You are able to see progress as it is made in real time
- If there is something about the project you do not like, you can encourage a course correction sooner than later
Conversation Four: Determine What Steps Will Be Taken If the Original Plan Breaks down
As this article has outlined, software development is difficult. It requires development and research, which means attacking a number of things that are unknown. Plans are destined to change. Efforts can go over budget and past the deadline. Do you expect the development team to work overtime, nights, and weekends to make up for uncertain glitches and delays? If so, you will need to convey this to the development team so that no one is surprised when an inevitable delays happen.
Conversation Five: What Is Your Timeline?
Small projects may be finished in just a few weeks. Large projects can take up to six months or more, depending on their size and complexity. You need to know when you need your software up and running so that you can transmit this to your development firm. You want to give them a sufficient amount of time to build your custom software correctly, taking into consideration your long-term goals.
Planning a custom software project using a development firm is an investment of time and financial resources that you want to examine from all angles. Success is dependent on your ability to identify your goals, timeline, and budget and then communicate these clearly to your developer.