Frequently Asked Questions on Custom Software Development

January 15, 2018
    Check out the most common questions received from our customers that should help you navigate better in the way custom software development is performed.

I NEED TO DEVELOP A SOFTWARE / APPLICATION – WHERE DO I START?

In a company that provides high-quality development services, you will always be offered analysis, provided with the risk measurements information and assistance on the most suitable way to implement your business idea. However, there are questions, the answers to which you should make up yourself, so that the project ends up being successful.

You should clearly understand:

  • What are the prior goals the end product is supposed to carry out and what are the business objectives for it?
  • What problem will this particular software solve?
  • Who are the target users?

The following points are some of the main factors influencing project profitability apart from solving business needs:

  • What monetization strategy will you choose for the app?
  • What are the analogues of the app and app’s potential competitors?
  • Which apps are more likable and preferred by an end user, and can be used as an inspiration for a new app’s design?

Your software development partner can suggest strategy options, based on domain expertise. However, the initial stages require your own understanding of what you want and what you believe might be working. This will save your time and money during the development process.

FAQ on software development

WHICH SIDE TO CONSIDER: IT FREELANCER OR IT COMPANY?

Though software development companies usually charge more, they provide you with an extra layer of services and confidence in the result. Companies through their contingency workforce planning ensure that your project will keep rolling even in case someone in the team (even the key expert) drops out for any reason. Besides that, companies can even scale their dedicated teams so that you receive an expected deliverable in a shorter period, giving you more confidence in their ability to mitigate risks or to execute financial guarantees. Another advantage of working with companies is their approach to data security and safety, they have procedures in place to protect your privacy and intellectual property as well as to ensure that data will not be breached or lost. So, large-scale or long-term projects tend to be handled by the outsourcing companies instead of individual freelancers.

You should one more time review your project and weight all the advantages of each type of contractors and choose the one that better fits your goals.

I WANT TO DEVELOP A SOFT/APPLICATION. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

There is a number of ways to evaluate the total amount of your business idea implementation costs. At SolbegSoft, cost and duration estimation process is based on available data/knowledge, past experience/historical data, assumptions, and identified risks. The process includes estimation of the size of the product that is planned to be developed, the effort in person-months or person-hours, and the cost in agreed currency. Cost and duration estimation process at SolbegSoft engages Business Analysts, relevant technical specialists, and client (for getting necessary information and aligning technical and business goals). The estimation takes place during acquiring, planning, and implementing the project when new requirements from the client arise.

Companies may produce a quote based on the blended hourly rate of all team members dedicated to your engagement. At SolbegSoft, we recommend our customers to opt for teams with a mix of junior, mid-level and senior specialists. A lower-cost team of all junior specialists will lack the experience to be productive, while hiring only senior specialists in an attempt to get a team filled exclusively with the most experienced developers will cost you more and may cause team-work issues. Balanced teams are the best option.

WHICH ENGAGEMENT MODEL TO CHOOSE WITH AN OUTSOURCING COMPANY?

There are several popular engagement models with the outsourcing software development companies and they adjust to specific needs of a client. Determining the appropriate engagement model is important to the success of your project, both with the speed of getting deliverables and the cost effectiveness of the services. Therefore, you should keep in mind the following engagement models popular with the IT companies: Dedicated Team, Time & Material and Fixed-Price models. IT companies are generally flexible and are able to transform these models for customer’s convenience and satisfaction.

Dedicated Team model serves you best when only the general idea and project requirements are available. In that case, project specifications, requirements for development processes, deadlines and resources are still to be estimated, discussed and negotiated with the vendor. You pick your team of professionals out of the company’s staff, taking full control over project progress and budget scheme. Then, when the project runs, you are billed monthly based on size of the dedicated team. This model works best for situations when you need to develop a specific software product, when the projects should be maintained and supported, or the project’s technical requirements can be dynamically changing.

Dedicated Team Engagement Model
Dedicated Team Engagement Model

Time and Material model is a good choice for you when the project specification either has insufficient level of detail or does not exist, development processes and deadlines are not yet clear, documentation is unavailable or incomplete. You have project management and technical leadership remained on your side, and supervise the augmented staff, assigning ad-hoc tasks to them. The total cost is not calculated before the engagement ends. Invoices for the number of hours spent on the company’s work are submitted on a monthly basis. You should consider this model when you expect your project specifications will be adjusted, project implementation will spread for a long period (months and even years), or it is linked to new technologies or evolving markets.

Time & Material Engagement Model
Time & Material Engagement Model

The Fixed-Price model may work best for you if the project specification, requirements for development processes, deadlines and resources are clearly defined, technical documentation is already available or properly planned. Then, you and vendor agree on the fixed budget and deadline, and work begins. The vendor company covers all the project risks. The Fixed-Price model is best suited for projects with stable, clear-cut requirements that can be fully specified and estimated. Costs, deliverables, and delivery schedules are defined in the Development Agreement in sufficient detail; requirements and specification are outlined in the accompanying technical documentation. You and vendor should agree on periodic payments for larger Fixed-Price projects, preferably upon delivery of each project milestone. Thus, a common payment schedule is as follows: 30 percent after the Alfa release, another 30 percent after the Beta release, and the remaining 40 percent after the final release.

Fixed Price Engagement Model
Fixed Price Engagement Model

Determine which model fits you best and discuss it with your vendor to see if both of you find it the most useful for the product and most convenient in business terms.

WHY DOES MY PROJECT REQUIRE A BUSINESS ANALYST?

The Business Analyst role is often seen as a communication bridge between IT and business stakeholders. Actually, BA is a sort of a consultant — one works with your product, thinking about your product and trying to make it better all the time, while keeping business goals in mind.

BA is the person who will answer your questions, assisting you at all the stages of the development process and delivering the final product. They create a vocabulary, translating the developers’ language into the business language. While both of you are at the different sides of the project and think in different terms, BA is in the middle. One understands both of you and facilitates communication, so you could focus on business issues and your team — on development.

BA

WHY DOES MY PROJECT REQUIRE A PROJECT MANAGER?

Project Manager ensures that the product is delivered on time, within budget and according to high-quality standards. Project Managers add value to the projects by reducing risks and ensuring the team can work efficiently, with deadlines never missed.

So why do you need a Project Manager? To make sure you and your remote team working on the project understand each other, while both of the sides know what “done” looks like and how to get there together.

PM

WHY DOES MY PROJECT REQUIRE BUSINESS AND TECHNICAL DOCUMENTATION?

It’s very curious how documentation is not given the coverage it deserves, since it’s a vital part of developing and using a software system.

The types of documentation that should be paid special attention are technical specifications that guide the development and the End User Guides.

Technical specifications are important because of the following aspects:

  • During the preparation of the documentation, questions and nuances about the future software are revealed, and the answers to them are described properly in the documentation prior to the development. This helps to foresee challenges and avoid rework causing additional time and cost expenses.
  • In case you want to upgrade the existent software or develop a similar one in future, the availability of documentation will greatly facilitate the process, and will save your time and money. Moreover, it will be possible to turn to any developer with this documentation, not necessarily to the one who initially developed the original software.

User guides play the support role for a user, describing step-by-step processes, accompanied by screenshots. Keeping technical documentation you make sure that none of the necessary information is skipped and it’s stored nearby, so if a user forgets some details from the previous discussions involving project explanations, one can switch to the guide and revise the forgotten parts of vital information.

WHY CHOOSING A BELARUSIAN IT COMPANY?

The IT industry in Belarus has grown and developed substantially in the last decade. Exports of IT products and services increased by a factor of more than 30 in the period from 2005 through 2016, with the share of IT exports in the country’s total exports of goods and services rising from 0.16% to 3.25%. The percentage of experienced IT experts is constantly on the rise as well.

Nowadays, mobile apps developed by Belarusian IT companies are used by more than 1 billion people in over 150 countries. Here you can check interesting facts about Belarusian IT to reinforce the overall information.

These components to starting a good project development are all significant, but there is one thing of great importance, which you should never forget: you identify the most crucial criterion by having a clear perspective of what you want and what you see might be working, and only being sincere with your potential partners about your own vision and real project perspectives can light up a great idea and put it into action!

Darya Moroz

Senior Customer Relationship Specialist at SolbegSoft

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SolbegSoft, Ltd

Sales and Marketing Office

1, Greene Street, #513
Jersey City, NJ 07302

+ 1 347 220 8411

Development Office

37, Logoisky Trakt, office 17
Minsk, Belarus, 220113

+ 375 29 176-5-234

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