How to Get More out of Your Software Development Dollars

Bugs in software. A topic despised by both clients and developers. Bugs are often thought of as being the result of bad or broken code written by developers. While that certainly happens, “broken” functionality can also be the result of poor interaction with your development team.

At RTS, we believe software development requires a team approach where the client is a critical part of the development team. It is often assumed that those writing the code are the only team members involved. But the client is also an important part of the development process and should remain heavily involved throughout the project with well-thought out guidance and direction. Here are some tips on keeping the lines of communication open when working with a development team.

Understand software developers are proud of their code.

It represents what they are capable of and lets others know they are good at their job. Help them help you by offering them well-thought out designs that they can more quickly turn into a working application. You will be rewarded with a smooth running application, rather than a hodge-podge of unrelated feature requests.

Have a thorough understanding of your product and process.

Having your operations laid out before beginning the project will have the development team off and running. They can’t wait to get out of meetings and go build something (see #1).

Know the purpose of your project.

Many software projects involve automating or simplifying existing processes. Don’t automate outdated processes, or to put it more simply – don’t just pave the cowpath.

Own your role in User Acceptance Testing.

Think of your User Acceptance Testing as the warranty period on your software product. You wouldn’t settle for a car that has features not working within your warranty period – why do it with your software? Too many users assume the developers will find each and every bug; therefore clients don’t play an active role in User Acceptance. If you find a bug during User Acceptance and alert the developers, it is their standard procedure to fix the bug before it even goes live. Take advantage of this and keep bugs out of your Production environment.

Research and document the bugs.

The more information you can offer to a development team to understand a bug, the less time they will spend trying to replicate and understand it. Offer them screen shots, log files, different scenarios, etc. The more time you spend detailing the bug’s behavior, the less time a developer will have to stop developing in order to address your issue.

Communicate effectively internally.

Make sure that your company has a common vision and knows what it is requesting. Customers should present a united front and shared vision so that the software requested fulfills the needs of all.

Taking on a development project can be overwhelming. While you may be juggling other projects, make sure you are actively involved in the development of your software. Use these tips to get the most out of your development dollars and you will end up with software that works right the first time.

If you are in need of a technology solution and are looking for the right team of developers, read more about our Spark Initiative and how we help clients here at RTS Labs.