Individuals and businesses looking to enter the software industry usually have a clear vision of what their product will entail. But, unfortunately you end up desperately trying to save your software project. The problem is that this vision is too often pieced together almost entirely in their minds. This happens over the course of weeks, months, or even years of brainstorming and creative thought. An idea tends to snowball and take on more life as the people involved work to describe what this software will do and how it will look. This is all great; however, when these ideas are taken to a development team the unfortunate realization is often that conveying this vision is actually a more delicate task than expected.
To illustrate why, consider a popular exercise used in communication classes: one student is given a picture of a well-known landmark, building, etc., and is asked to describe it verbally to the rest of the class. The student can’t explicitly state the name of the object, but they are otherwise unrestricted in their use of words. The challenge is for the speaker to describe the image well enough for the rest of the class to draw it. Artistic ability of the class aside, what the exercise demonstrates is that a picture truly is worth 1000 words… at least, because rarely do the drawings resemble the original image.
This lesson applies equally in the context of a hopeful software product owner taking their idea to a development team. The software project owner can exhaustively describe their vision, and without proper design and discovery strategies, can still end up with a product that only marginally resembles the vision in their head. This can obviously be a frustrating experience, and an expensive one. A lack of clarity greatly decreases the odds of a project finishing on time and within specifications. The additional time and resources needed to correct issues and implement design changes will cost money, and often this comes out of the pocket of the product owner.
Clarisoft’s Strategy for Creating the Software Project That Needs No Rescue
Clarisoft highly encourages a healthy investment in a “Design and Discovery” phase prior to custom software development so that we may share the same vision as our clients. Generally this involves a variety of services geared toward extracting that vision and representing it both verbally and visually, via discrete itemized descriptions of desired system functionality and technical requirements as well as thorough interactive wireframes. These services provide a number of advantages, some of which are listed below:
- Early planning prevents development from steering off-course
- Ensures Clarisoft and client expectations are aligned
- Spot flaws in product conception early on
- Discover new ideas, problems, and solutions
- Speeds up development when programmers are clear on requirements
- Reduce overall development costs and timeline extensions
- Reduce opportunity for misinterpretation of product features and functionality
- Improves effectiveness of quality assurance, which leads to a final product that matches your original vision
At Clarisoft we have seen consistent success with clients by utilizing this initial design and discovery approach for their software project. Unfortunately, we have also rescued projects from other development teams where clients overpaid, were forced to extend the development timeline, and ultimately did not end up with the product they envisioned. In these situations we have found that almost always the design phase was rushed, sloppy, or completely neglected. This is why we take particular care with our clients to ensure this step in the process is properly addressed and executed prior to development.