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Custom software: the importance of having a sound control tool

Depending on your business needs, creating custom software can prove to be an expensive project. To prevent this from turning into a financial sink hole, one of the tips we discussed in our previous article is to equip yourself with monitoring tools.

 

Having the right tools at your disposal means putting more chances on your side to keep control over your project, but also your budget. There are many tools on the market that cater to this and some of them, besides being free, are very powerful. Let’s take a look at a few good practices to adopt.

 

Write down your budget vs your expenses in black and white

A brief 101 course in project monitoring. Whether you are embarking on custom software development or any other project, you should always start by leaving a written trace of what you want to accomplish and what is the budget allocated to that project. In this digital age, it’s better to write this down on an Excel sheet rather than on a piece of paper. Let’s try to be organized, shall we?

If you are already doing this, then great. You’re on the right track and you’re already adopting good habits to keep control of your project. The only downside is that this Excel spreadsheet must be maintained diligently and also be shared with your service provider, which in the long term could lead to errors and frustration.

 

Generate automated reports

At Done, our experts work with several development platforms such as Jira and Azure DevOps to name a couple. We adapt to the customer’s reality and to the platform they are using. For the customer, this translates into two points: the assurance of work being done on a platform they know, but also the ability to automatically generate reports in order to get a sense of the situation very quickly.

Furthermore, as Stéphane Primeau, Director of Software Development and Partnerships at Done, indicates, we can provide the client with an even more detailed spreadsheet of the project’s progress, in addition to the reports generated by the platform.

Take for example Azure DevOps, the latter allows you to generate detailed reports on the progress of the project. Thus, one of the “progress vs. delivery date” reports offers a concrete window of visibility for the customer. The latter can know in real time the advances in the software development and at the same time it is important to follow the related costs incurred in a separate table. Easy to access, clear and comprehensive, it is a centralized decision-making tool for the customer, thus avoiding unpleasant surprises.

 

Consult and discuss

The other aspect to take into consideration is to consult these reports and invite your service provider to make recurring updates on the progress of the project. In the majority of software development cases, the budget must often be revised and adapted according to the progress of the project. This is why these discussions with your provider are very important to avoid unpleasant surprises.

 

Example of a concrete case:

Company A’s software development project:

Project evaluation and estimate by Done: $ 50,000

Breakdown of the project by user stories and iterations: 100 points to achieve

The development team works with the client to deliver 10 points per sprint (every two weeks). This represents a period of 20 weeks to deliver the project, i.e. a cost of around $ 10,000 per sprint. The important thing to follow is to make sure that the progress of the project is aligned with the estimated budget.

 

1st scenario:

If in the 2nd sprint, the development team delivered 20 points, it is because we are on target with what was projected in time and budget. The project is in line with the expectations of the client and the service provider.

2nd scenario:

In the 2nd sprint, the development team only manages to deliver 4 points. In this case, you have to be vigilant and follow up more closely during the 3rd sprint to see if the development team has caught up with the delay or if the gap widens further. Should the gap widen further, the client will have to make important decisions. Namely, adjusting the budget, because the project will take longer, or removing certain features to be able to obtain a final product that meets their expectations, but also their budget.

 

What you must remember

By using control tools and adopting the right reflexes, you can ensure having a clear view of your project. According to Stéphane, this adds transparency to the exchanges with the customer. Creating custom software is a constantly evolving project. Having clear condition reports helps assure the client that we will deliver the maximum value fore the money invested.

At Done we have been experts in custom software development for over 20 years. We have the best talent in the industry in our ranks and we have exercised our expertise with around 30 clients in all areas.

Do not hesitate to contact our team  to share your project and receive a free initial diagnosis of your situation.

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