Guidance on procuring application development companies
What should I be considering when requesting an application to be developed for me?
Does the application reduce the time staff spend doing non-productive tasks? Does the application reduce the time taken to deliver value to a customer? Does the software prevent operational risk?
It is always worth considering users, but always think in terms of the future. We don’t think of software as losing people's jobs, but giving them capacity to be more creative.
Who are the users?
What level of quality does the users accept, and what is reasonable?
Enterprises determine the Service Level Agreement levels of an application. Try to understand how important it is for the application to be running, and whether there are contingencies. Does the software perform a regulatory requirement or reduce operational risk?
Efficacy - is the application worthwhile?
Some ideas are incredible, but some software takes a long time to develop, it may not make the impact desired and may cost a lot of money.
Be realistic on the cost of applications
The challenge when commissioning specific software to be built, is an individual or team has to write that application. It may take them a number of weeks or months. That application may need support, and it may use licensed software. It does not mean software should be expensive, but it is something to be realistic on.
Info Rhino strives to deliver cost-effective products for our clients and because we love building solutions, but there is always a cost.
Try to educate yourself on what good application development should be
Again, we are more than happy to provide guidance on general principles of good software engineering. We can provide small consultancy sessions to help ensure your procure the right solution for you.
We will be posting blogs on this in due course.
A well developed application does not need support. A well developed application just works. However, there are always edge cases and it is worth considering support options. We will always consider your needs.
Where is the provider based?
The biggest temptation is to outsource software development abroad. We have been burned on our own pet-projects by trying to outsource overseas. Many partners have told us about this experience. In no way, are we stating outsourcing overseas does not work or there are not good providers, but some personal interaction between customer and provider is essential.
Code quality and testing?
When looking at requirements for software projects, contracts and jobs - often, significant testing requirements testing are specified. Often, "unit tests" are mandatory.
As stated, we are a data first company. You as the client, can ask for unit tests, but be aware they don’t always deliver the promises.
We recommend the following;
- Unit tests to be used sparingly, if at all.
- When unit tests are used, focus them on calculations rather than significant unit tests faking data.
- Create tests based upon the actual data and rules. A great tool we completely believe in is NBI - read more about it here.