Business leaders finalizing their 2018 budgets may find themselves devoting a substantial portion of it to the improvement of their digital landscape. Perhaps plans for an improved internal platform or a customer service application for clients are in the works.
A development team might be able to turn around a product on time, but did it exceed your budget? Were certain features left out in order to remain under budget or within a deadline?
As the ink on your 2018 budget dries, look for a software vendor with the right project estimation techniques that help you identify the best candidates for a long term development partnership. Whatever your software, and regardless of its cost, be sure that your money is money well-spent.
4 Project Estimation Techniques to Look for in a Tech Partner
1. They Ask A Lot of Questions
Your software development partner should challenge you. They bring a wealth of experience, having worked on an expansive set of projects for other clients. They have seen and experienced what works — and what doesn’t. They are familiar with the today’s technologies and what features work best across the variety of devices in the market.
A software company can achieve partner status when it offers new insight you haven’t considered and suggestions to take your solution to the next level. Amongst other project estimation techniques, a strategy defined by inquiry is vital, as it expands understanding and eliminates the possibility of surprises when development is underway.
2. They Estimate Carefully
In the world of software, faster is usually better. But beware project estimations that seem to jump the cart.
Any vendor worth trusting takes the time to understand the business and the roles, needs, and challenges of its stakeholders.
Project estimation techniques need to go beyond a phone call and writing down a list of requirements. A true understanding of what’s at stake takes time — up to a few days, in fact. When solutions architects and consultants can map the business’s needs to the right tech stacks and timeframes, they devise a sustainable development strategy that optimizes outcomes for the client.
A clear strategy and an accurate estimate require truly digging into the details during at least one rapid ideation session.
3. They Work With You to Advocate for You
Find a software development partner that includes close collaboration in its project estimation techniques. By immersing its personnel in your organization, they can become a technical extension of your close-knit product team.
Call it mind-meld or just close listening, your business needs and their technical capabilities become in synch. Your partner should become your biggest supporter and most trusted counsel.
Functional software requires collaboration and communication between the project delivery team and client along the way. Formal check-ins between client and team should happen at least on a weekly basis.
If you’re in talks to select a development partner and they don’t mention collaborative planning and review sessions, gather your sketches and don’t look back.
4. They Plan for Ongoing Support
When budgets are made and adhered to on a year-by-year basis, it’s tempting to confine software development — and its continued refinement — to the calendar year.
Good software isn’t crafted and paid for in one year, but over the course of potentially many. But this doesn’t mean it has to break the bank.
Too often, business leaders neglect to consider the resources they need to devote to refining software so that it remains an asset, and not a burden, to the business
Tech partners who include discussions of continuation engineering in their project estimation techniques demonstrate an ability to see the big picture, helping businesses plan development costs to achieve both short and long term goals.
How to Identify Standout Tech Partners in the Crowd
Do Your Research
Ask any potential partner for references and reach out to previous clients to learn more about their experiences.
Keep in mind your business’s needs and goals, and those of your personnel, as you ask about their experience. Feedback, whether positive or negative, can inform your next move, but did these formers clients have similar goals to you at project kickoff?
Consider how the context of business needs influences experiences and outcomes with the tech vendor in question.
Avoid the Classic Oversell
Consider what is lost when vendors try to undercut their competition. Perhaps it’s an inexperienced firm hoping to win big business and bolster their portfolio.
Whatever the case, set yourself up for success by securing the long-term value that comes with practiced software development.
Here are telltale signs you’re being oversold:
- The vendor can’t offer specifics detailing how they plan to execute on their recommendations.
- They don’t ask thought-provoking questions. They are only parroting back your assumptions.
- They offer aggressive timelines that seem too good to be true.
- Their rates are significantly lower than other vendors. This could be a vendor’s play to expand their area of expertise. Ask yourself if you want your project to be the guinea pig?
Look for teams that can scale easily
After one or two discovery session, business leaders might be surprised to find they underestimated their project’s complexity and scope. Even worse, they underestimated what they need from a tech partner in order to be successful.
Even the most planful projects require flexibility from technical teams to respond to new information. A partner that can supply skilled teams to tackle the first set of requirements, but can also respond to new requirements over time by adding or subtracting roles, can offer the long term guidance that is crucial for companies that wish to remain cutting-edge.
Tech partners without adequate experience or breadth of knowledge will have difficulty flexing up and down with clients’ needs, and may end up slowing them down.
Qualities and Project Estimation Techniques To Look for In Tech Partner
For better or for worse, there is a developer or a software firm for every budget. But not every firm can promise that quality is built into its prices.
Identifying and looking for a few key traits and the project estimation techniques of the development firms in your business’s consideration can guide you to differentiate the bad from the good.
When you find it the right partner, you’ll know you’ve struck gold. On-time delivery. Transparent and cost-saving project estimation techniques. These are the hallmarks of an expert technology partner.
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