Custom software development

6 things you and your development team should know before starting custom software development

Alejandro Córdoba Borja
CEO
-
Tres Astronautas
April 1, 2024
5 min
Key Points:
  1. Adoption strategies: Ensure user satisfaction through effective implementation plans.
  2. Understand needs: Define problems and user requirements for effective solutions.
  3. Team alignment: Choose a team aligned with business goals and vision.
  4. MVP definition: Prioritize essential features for early value generation.
  5. Agile iteration: Emphasize collaboration and flexibility for continuous improvement.
  6. Rigorous testing: Validate business use cases with comprehensive testing plans.

Custom software development can be an excellent way to create a solution that meets your company's specific needs. However, embarking on such a project can be overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with the process. Here are 6 things you and your development team should know before starting a custom software development project:

1. Plan adoption strategies

Have you ever filled your shopping cart on an online store but didn't complete the purchase, only to receive an email the next day asking you to come back and finish it? Or maybe you've seen how a company missed the opportunity to implement new software due to resistance to change from its employees. These and other situations arise due to the correct or incorrect implementation of adoption strategies. These strategies aim to satisfy users once the software is launched but must be created together with the development team. This way, the application experience will respond appropriately to these situations when they arise. The use of go-to-market strategies and change management plans can be useful tools for this purpose.

2. Gain a deep understanding of your company's needs and the end users of the solution

You must have a clear idea of what you want your software to achieve and how it will benefit your company. To do this, you must define the problem you are solving or the opportunity you want to take advantage of. Equally important is understanding your users' needs and how they will interact with the software so that they are motivated to use it. Your solution should be the intersection between your organization's needs and those of your users. Using a problem canvas and user personas can be useful tools for this purpose.

3. Align your development team with the business strategy

Choosing the right team is crucial for the success of your software development project. You should look for a team that understands your vision, business goals, and success indicators or KPIs. This way, each requirement created, each button designed, and each line of code written will have a direct impact on your business strategy. Using an impact map can be a useful tool for this purpose.

4. Define an MVP (and an MLP)

The success of your project is closely related to your ability to quickly go to production and test with real users. The faster, the better. Don't wait 6 months to launch your application! That is why defining the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) is essential to ensure the generation of value as soon as possible. The MVP is a version of your software that includes only the essential features and functionalities. The MLP goes further by focusing on creating an emotional connection with users (essential in solutions for external actors). Defining the MVP and MLP will help you prioritize your development efforts and focus on what matters most. Using an ROI prioritization matrix can be a useful tool for this purpose.

5. Iterate based on feedback

Testing with real users will lead to new insights and changes in your roadmap. That's why agile methodologies are popular approaches for software development; they emphasize collaboration, flexibility, and rapid iteration. They can be an effective way to ensure that your software development project stays on track and delivers results that meet the needs of your users and company. Ensuring at least one production release (meaning end users can use your application) every two weeks can be a useful tool for this purpose.

6. Test your software relentlessly

Testing your software is a critical part of the development process. You must have a testing plan that includes both automated and manual testing. It is also important to involve real users in the testing process to ensure that your software truly meets their needs. It is important to remember that a successful test is one that validates a business use case. Therefore, these tests should be created in collaboration between project stakeholders and the development team. This ensures that the tests validate the critical scenarios that add the most value to the organization. Using testing notes and BDD methodologies are useful tools for this purpose.

Conclusion

Starting a custom software development project can be an exciting and rewarding experience for your company. By understanding your needs, choosing the right development team, and following these 6 tips, you can ensure that your software development project is a success.

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