What your software developer wishes you knew

Some basic guidelines on how to work with an outsourced software developer to ensure the best possible results.

What your software developer wishes you knew

As it’s been said, every company – from manufacturing to retail and healthcare – is a software company today, since software is a strategic driver of their business success.

Yet let’s face it: if you’re a pharmaceutical manufacturer, you still need to spend most of your time developing innovative drugs.

And this is where outsourced application developers come into play. Many firms rely on the expertise of these developers to help them build technology solutions that are customized to meet their specific needs. Since choosing to hire an application developer is still a significant investment in time and money, it’s important to make the relationship a productive one.

So what does your application developer really wish you knew to make it a successful collaboration?

Software engineers are not mind readers. If only they were, just think of the possibilities... Unfortunately, this isn’t (yet) a skill that most software engineers possess.

What do you want?

It’s important that, before you choose one, you know what it is you're hoping to accomplish...and can communicate that goal to your developer.

I’m not saying you need to understand the technology that will help you meet your goal, but if you can pretty specifically articulate your challenges and what you hope to achieve, your app developer can build a solution more closely aligned to your objectives.

Software is not linear

You may work in an environment that has a manufacturing production line. To speed up production, you may be able to simply add more people. Software development doesn’t work that way. In fact, adding more people to the team can actually have the opposite impact; it can inhibit productivity. Software projects are typically broken into pieces and everyone understand what his or her part of the project is and each carries it out in parallel. Adding new members to such an intricately designed process can be complicated and actually waste valuable time.

Just like Rome, software is not built in a day

While new methodologies, such as Agile development, are enabling extremely fast production (initial solutions can be developed in one month or less and enhancements (new features) can be added weekly), it still is a process that requires patience. Software development is as much science as it is an art.

Software engineers need to be part of the family

Nothing good can come from a client/developer relationship that’s not built upon a bedrock of mutual trust, respect and understanding. You need to see your software developer as a strategic partner, who should know your business inside and out.

No such thing as 'done'

Technology, and particularly software technology is constantly changing, thus today’s modern apps must be frequently maintained and adapted. Hence, software development is never truly done, so it pays to have a good relationship with a long-term partner who can help your investment in software scale to meet your needs and changing technology requirements.

Working with experienced external software development teams can help you meet critical technology requirements so you can focus on what you do best – grow your own market position. Relationships built upon collaboration, understanding and communication can go a long way to helping you leverage software as your own strategic business driver.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.