Undertaking an app development process is serious business, and for the modern enterprise, a strong developer partnership is essential to creating the high-performing, customized apps it needs. That’s why business leaders need to evaluate third-party teams with a wide range of serious criteria, investigating industry reputation and technical expertise.
But of all these discussion points, the developer’s practices – the life cycle of each software project – is the most critical when it comes time to make a decision. Business leaders should read on to discover today’s development best practices, and keep these concepts in mind as they lead the search for a third-party partnership.
“Train staff to achieve full-on adoption.”
- Discovery: Before all else, an application development team needs to dive deep into the technical and operational needs of its client. This discovery phase is a must in a modern business environment where customization is key. Only by investigating the true needs and expectations of a business can a development team create the best possible applications.
“You will need to make a call on both the depth and breadth of discovery undertaken depending on the size of the opportunity/potential impact on the client business in the long run,” Smart Insights contributor Mark Kelly advised developers.
- Solution: Once enough information is gathered, developers should be able to quickly and confidently pinpoint a solution that they feel addresses the core demands of the client. This stage involves the creation of a clear game plan, including outlining the type of software needed for the job, and estimates for timeline and cost, as well as a more general overview of the project.
As Mark Kelly stated in his piece for Smart Insights, top-tier development teams are as transparent as possible when it comes to delivering the solution in contract form, walking clients through every step to ensure they are fully confident and comfortable.
- Development: When a team finally sets to work on creating an application, a business must be well-informed about its practices, ranging from project management methods to supporting tools for development and testing. The more clearly and readily a partner can explain these details, the more likely it is to stick to its word and deliver.
Business leaders should also ask their development partners for complete technology frameworks, pre-defined project scorecards and project templates so they can track the progress of their application every step of the way.
- Training: When the software is ready for deployment, application developers should take the time to educate their clients on the best practices involved in operating the system. Only the development team will have the deep insight necessary to provide this training, and a business can’t overlook this critical phase if it wants to maximize the value of its investment.
“Your support staff must take the time to learn the nuances of your system, the implication being that they need to work with your system as it is developed and/or your team will need to provide them with training,” explained an essay from Agile Modeling.
- Implementation: Eventually, the custom software will be ready for deployment, but smart development teams know that introducing a beta version is a best practice, as this will allow engineers to pinpoint problems before launching the final build. Organizations need to be ready for this initial adoption of their software and understand that issues can easily be fixed.
- Support: Once a final version of the application is ready for launch, business leaders need the assurance that the development team will be available for ongoing service and troubleshooting. Only the best third-party developers will offer this extended life cycle support and ensure long-term value for their clients.