Congratulations! You’ve done the research, evaluated the ROI and decided it’s time to move forward with a custom software project. So now what? There are many moving parts to software development that might seem overwhelming. More often, not knowing what the next steps are can be the most imposing part of getting started. We’re here for you. Check out the top five things to consider when preparing for your upcoming software project.
1 – The Users
This is the first topic to consider when getting started. It’s also arguably the most important. Your users – their needs, goals, and knowledge – typically drive the larger goals of the project and shape the overall look and feel of the software. Start your internal conversations around your users. Be ready to discuss the following with the development team:
- What are the types of users?
- Are different permissions required for different users?
- What is the average level of user technical knowledge?
2 – Accessibility
Right alongside your users, it is critical to consider the accessibility of the solution. This is especially true in today’s increasingly remote or hybrid work environments. Typically, accessibility also goes hand-in-hand with security. Take time to do an inventory of how your users will need to access your software, as well as any unique security concerns.
- Do you need local or remote access; or both?
- If remote, what level of connectivity is expected?
- What devices will be used (pc, mobile, etc.)?
- What security concerns do you have?
3 – Your Process
A new software is the perfect spring-cleaning time for your process – what goes and what stays? Taking a hard look at your current process is key to designing your solution. Often one of the biggest reasons companies consider custom software is because much of their current process isn’t being easily or efficiently handled by off-the-shelf solutions. We recommend thinking about these areas in a fresh process review:
- What parts of the process must remain and cannot change?
- Where are the inefficiencies and major headaches?
- What parts of the process are working well?
- How flexible is your process – where can it change to take advantage of new ideas or resources?
4 – Cloud or On-premises
With much of today’s development moving towards cloud-based solutions, this may be an easy one to discuss. However it is important and shouldn’t be glossed over. As widespread adoption of the cloud continues to grow, so do the number of advantages. However, on-premises retains some advantages in certain situations. Things to consider for your needs are:
- Is quality internet connectivity a concern?
- Are you interfacing with other cloud applications?
- What are your equipment and IT support capabilities?
- Is 100% control and privacy a requirement?
5 – Your Data
Unless you are starting from scratch, you probably already have data that will need to be accessible by your new software solution. Getting the necessary information into the new system is a must. It may be in the form of Excel worksheets or living in other applications. It will be helpful to have an initial idea of:
- Where does your data live now?
- What data needs to be imported?
- Does the data need to be changed / formatted / updated?
- What data needs to be shared with other applications?
These five areas are common to almost all projects. Doing this bit of brainstorming will get the conversation rolling with your development team, and help your project get off to a strong start. They will also lead to the more specific discussions unique to your needs. More importantly, it can address important items early and avoid costly pivots later in the development cycle.
Remember, a custom software project is about making the tools fit you and not the other way around. Dorian Solutions is your partner throughout the process, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Our goal is to get you back to growing your business, and not just running it.