If you are like most of us, you can think of at least a few tasks you spend faaaaaar tooooo much time on that you would love to simplify through automation. Fortunately there are a lot of software options out there to help with these tasks, but what if you need software that isn’t available? Then you have to build it. That can be costly especially if it is a complex process. In this blog, I’ll discuss some of the things to consider when considering hiring a software development company including:
- Beware of Waterfall Approach
- Any Estimate is just a guess.
- Start Small.
- A range of what our projects cost.
Beware the Waterfall Approach
The waterfall approach is the standard project management methodology use in industries like construction. You plan the building, then get estimates, hire contractors, level the land, lay the foundation, then walls, then roof, then other contractors can start doing electricity, plumbing, etc.
This approach works fine in homes, but with software it’s pointless. By the time the software is ready, it might not be worthwhile. Using an agile methodology where small sprints are planned, built, deployed, and feedback is retrieved takes less time, less money, and subjects you to less risk. Make sure you ask how a software developer manages the process, better yet ask if you can have access to the project management software so you can be actively involved. Any developer who is focused on creating software that is valuable to you will be happy to have you as active in the process as you desire.
Estimates are just Educated Guesses
Estimates are a tricky thing. Depending on how clean your code is and how easy it is to add new features, the same project on two different systems can vary dramatically in time and price. To develop an estimate, we gather information, evaluate it, compare it to previous projects, and predict what it will take to complete development successfully and still make a profit. This means everyone factors in hours and budget for the unexpected. As the project increases in size, so does the risk. Software development can add up to 69% extra for risk, meaning a $10k job just became $16,900 (Read the Study This Information Came From).
This leads us to our next point…
As you saw in the previous section, pricing can go up quick so start small. We typically recommend starting with a function or two, such as a Xero OAuth 2.0 Upgrade. This is updating how Xero connects to your apps. It will normally require some changes in UI/UX design, but nothing major. Something like this starts at around $5,400 and goes up based on the number of apps connecting to Xero and other factors.
Focusing on a single goal can keep the risk low, up-front cost low, and give you a chance to test the developer’s skills before committing to longer projects. Gradually giving a developer larger projects helps you develop confidence and trust during the process so you don’t get caught spending millions without any software to show for it. I’ve had to come in and fix this scenario for more companies than I care to discuss, but at least they got their software in the end.
At Flying Donkey, our smallest projects start around $5,400 and can go up from there. Clients that we work with on an ongoing basis typically spend between $10-20k/mo to keep their software constantly improving. This means that the custom software solutions we focus on providing are typically focused on established businesses or well-funded startups. Even if you aren’t at the point where you are ready to invest in your organisational software, we are happy to consult with you and help you get an idea of how to tackle challenges facing your organisation. Then when you are ready, we are here to help drive your business success. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.