by _comunica2punto0

#marketing What to Expect from Your Web Application Partner

In Marketing on 16 mayo, 2017 at 20:35

Technology is no longer an optional component to businesses. It doesn’t matter if you’re a startup, SMB, or global enterprise, some portion of your business wouldn’t work – or wouldn’t work efficiently – if it wasn’t for computers, applications, terminals, and the like.

As a result, it’s inevitable you’ll need an application built for your company. Maybe you’re looking to update your website. Or create a mobile app. Perhaps you recognize you’ll be more efficient if you integrate your CRM with your other business applications.

Regardless the reason, you’ll quickly notice, too, that custom development is an investment. And like any investment, you want to make sure that you’re getting the best value for your dollars. As a smart business owner, you know that doesn’t always mean chasing the cheapest option. But it does mean fully understanding what you’ll be getting for your money.

It’s more complicated, though, when contracting for an application, as opposed to, say, purchasing a new piece of equipment, or new parts. For custom development work, there is a level of trust involved because you can’t see what you’re getting beforehand.

So how do you make the best decision? To begin with, you need to know what to expect from your application partner. Walking you through their process and past accomplishments should give you the confidence to make your choice.

Review Their Work

Any reputable firm should have work samples that they can speak to you about to illustrate the quality of their work and their proficiencies. A great resource is Clutch.co. You can view the details of an application development firm and customer reviews. Clutch takes the time to interview each and every client review on the phone before it gets published.

If you’re looking for a website, web application, or mobile app or site, review the company’s previous work. Have they done the kind of work you’re looking for on a previous project? Can they explain to you things like the contracting company’s goals for the application, their design and usability choices, and so forth? Just because they haven’t done a project exactly like yours before shouldn’t rule a company out, but seeing a variety of work can help determine if they have breadth and depth in their skill set.

A challenge, of course, with application development is that some engagements don’t lead to the kind of work you can see. Integrations between systems, back office applications, and so forth, won’t be visible for you to review. But they should be able to explain the goals of the project as well as the benefits and outcomes of the work, from a business perspective.

Understand Their Process

The development of any application requires a process. Some of that process may be opaque to the company contracting the work, but not all of it. Regardless whether you’re an active participant in the various stages or not, you should expect your application partner to have a process and be able to walk you through it.

Many organizations will tell you about the methodology they use, such as waterfall, Agile, lean, etc. Which methodology they use will give you indicators of your level of participation and understand better the frequency of deliverables, but regardless of the methodology they all follow a similar process.

Development typically follows a process similar to the following steps.

Discovery and Planning

This is a critical phase for getting the right application. This is where the application partner takes the time to dig in and understand the problem you’re trying to solve with the solution you’re requesting.

The results of a well-done discovery are many. They include a more accurate timeline, less back and forth on requirements, and in the end, a better product delivered.

What might surprise you is when an experienced development organization makes alternate suggestions based on what your needs really are. For instance, perhaps you’ve decided that your business needs a mobile application. But once you’re in the discovery phase, your development partner may find, based on getting a better understanding of the business need, your customer, and their experience, that really what you need is a better mobile web experience.

In the end, of course, the decision is yours, but this kind of input from your partner is nothing to scoff at and one reason why an experienced organization can bring additional benefits to the table.

Design

During the design phase, your application partner will take everything that they have learned about your organization, your business needs, your customers, and your goals and put together a design of the application that takes all those elements into account.

Sometimes this involves actual design. For instance, if you’re having a website developed, you may be looking at visual designs of your new site to provide approvals. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that’s the only kind of design going on.

Applying the right technologies to your application is also part of the design process. These aren’t the kinds of designs you look at. Instead, these designs are like a road map, plotting the best, more efficient route to get your company to your end goal.

Develop

During the development phase, your partner will be heads down, creating your application based on the discovery, following the design, and moving forward against the timeline laid out.

This is the point where you’re likely to see the biggest difference between the methodologies used by different partners.

If the company you are working with uses a methodology like waterfall, they have probably done a great deal of upfront research and discovery, walked through detailed requirements documents and designs with you, and during development, they create the end product. For some it can seem like the application partner has disappeared during this phase, but they are working toward getting you your applications.

If on the other hand, the company you are working with uses something like Agile, you’ll have more visibility into what’s being done. Because Agile chunks out the work and tackles it in pieces, work can be shared more frequently as your development partner works through building your application.

Because of these periodic check-ins, if something is going in an unexpected direction, you and your partner can make adjustments. Or, if things have changed since the discovery phase, you can incorporate those changes into the application as it’s being built.

Test & Deploy

You may think that the testing phase is similar to development, where there isn’t much for you to do but wait for the product to be completed. However, most application partners will ask you to participate in something called User Acceptance Testing (UAT), as appropriate to the project. This is where your organization goes in and tests the application itself, making sure that it works and meets the original needs and goals.

Obviously, in addition to UAT, your application partner will be doing a thorough and complete test of both parts of the application and the application as a whole to ensure it works well, it is resilient, and that it meets the needs of the business as agreed upon in the discovery phase.

Many organizations are shocked by the level of participation that is asked of them during the development of their applications. But mostly gone are the days where a partner would disappear with the requirements, only to re-appear months later with a product that, hopefully, resembles what was originally requested. Expecting high levels of communication, an understanding of the organization’s capabilities, a thorough discovery process, and an interactive development phase are standard expectations in modern application development, and what you should expect when contracting a partner to build an application that your organization will depend on.

via Business Articles | Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2rntvOn

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