We’ve worked hard to establish an approach to custom software development that we feel is truly unique to our business. We want to break down that process with you to really explore what it’s like to work with Emergent Software on your next development project. This insight will help you to understand what we focus on and how we align ourselves to creating the most value for your business.
Let’s dive into what our goals are when approaching software development, discuss how it’s not as easy of a process as you might think, and talk through the steps of our unique approach.
When thinking about your custom software development project, our goals are to:
- Focus on building, testing, and sharing individual features that give you the most value
- Address and limit the risk in developing and deploying your project
- Understand your business and it's unique needs
- Plan for your long-term success
You might recognize agile project management concepts as you continue to read on. The agile methodology isn’t unique to Emergent Software. In fact, it’s the approach many firms like us take when developing custom software. However, where we stand out (and what we’re most proud of) is that our team is really good at taking elements of many agile frameworks and tailoring them to your unique situation and business goals. We know that custom software doesn’t fit into a box, so why should we try to fit our clients into a certain mold?
Custom software development is not easy
Before we hop into discussing how our custom software development process works, we’d like to make one important thing clear: custom software development is complex! That’s not to say that your needs cannot be met, to the contrary we are very experienced with solving complex business challenges through software development, but, it is important to appreciate that you won’t know everything about your desired solution prior to development.
Approaching your project from an iterative perspective allows our team to break your project down into bite-sized chunks – building one feature, seeing how it integrates with your system, and then moving onto the next. Like laying a brick wall, we want to make sure all pieces of your project are complete and stable before moving on to the next. Eventually, all the “bricks” in your project turn into something that is ready to go-live for your team and customers. One way we differ from that analogy is ensuring you have an opportunity to inspect each brick as it's completed, making sure you’re happy with the progress along the way, and avoiding costly rework when a brick in the bottom row doesn’t meet your needs.
Our custom software development process
So, you’ve come to us with your big idea. We can hop straight into development, right? Not quite – before we can begin any development on your idea, we want to spend time with you understanding your vision and planning out, at a high level, some of the key steps. The real “meat and potatoes” of your project (development and testing) happens in the “rapid, transparent, iterative, execution” stage of our project lifecycle, which we’ll cover in a bit.
Once we’ve figured out what it’s going to take to bring your idea to life, we can move on to the development process. Keep in mind that this is not a rigid set of steps and is typically very fluid depending on the nature of your project. We have a framework for how we do these things but also want this to be an open dialogue with you and your team. We really feel as though tailoring this process to how your team works best is going to be the key to success in delivering an end result that will exceed expectations.
Four key aspects that we will leverage throughout every feature of your project are:
- Build, Test, Show
- Feedback & Accept
These steps happen over and over (shown in the red circles in our graphics) during the development stage of your project.
Why do we do it this way?
We believe that agile development is the best way for you to see value from custom software and helps you see the end result of your project quicker and more efficiently. By working on your project using feature-focused iterative development, we can focus on delivering fully finished parts of your project which results in a releasable product faster and with much less risk than seen in traditional methods. Because we’ve taken the time to define the parts of your project that are critical and nice-to-have, we have the ability to focus our time more effectively developing those critical parts first, and leaving the nice-to-haves for later on.
The flexibility gained through this method means that not only do you increase theoretical value throughout the project (and thereby limit risk), once a significant enough portion of the project is developed to provide value, what we call an initial release candidate, you are in the driver's seat to ask for production release at any time without having to wait for the development of non-critical nice-to-have functionality. This allows you to be more responsive to market changes, reacting to opportunities and turning that theoretical value into real-world functionality for your customers!
Interested in learning more about agile-based practices? Read part two of this series to learn more about the development process after your project begins. Want to talk more about our approach for Agile delivery, custom software in general, or anything in between? We’re just one email or phone call away!
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