Loving what you do is vital for building bespoke software. And we mean loving what you do. To deliver lasting, powerful, future-proof software, it’s essential to be invested in the industry and business you’re building products for; because software success doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Welcome to the era of deeply collaborative software development.
For many, outsourcing is the chosen approach to build bespoke software when the necessary expertise and resources can’t be found in-house. But this approach comes with two major caveats that affect the value of the software that’s created:
Relinquishing control of your finely tuned vision. An outsourced consultancy project might be a finely-honed machine – but it’s their machine. Often, your initial vision, requirements and technology preferences will be explored at the beginning of the project, before it slowly edges away from those important fundamentals and gets closer to the consultancy’s interpretation of what ‘good’ looks like.
A project delivered, not a product. Most consultancies think of software in projects and this is a problem. Because projects have a beginning and an end, whereas software needs constant development and iteration, especially when it comes to cloud-native solutions. If your approach is project based, then your goal is to wrap something up within an agreed timeline, take your expertise and move onto the next project. But this leaves the business with a software solution that is essentially static, bound to rules established when the project ended. What’s really needed is a software product that has its own lifecycle that can continue to develop after the 3rd party has finished the initial phase of development and deployment.
Engineering advantage through our SMART FACTORY! principles
These outsourced issues are long-term problems within the software development world. And it’s why we have built our own approach to developing tailor-made products for our clients; an approach based on collaboration.
The way we work takes the best parts of outsourcing (additional resources, expertise and perspective) and brings them as close as possible to those we are working with. By doing this and working in tandem, the end result avoids the problems of shifting visions and static, project-based software.
We’ve spoken about our SMART FACTORY! principles beforehand, through the lens of empathetic software development. This time, we want to take a different angle: looking at how collaboration manifests itself across these fundamentals, and what advantages they deliver.
Experts in becoming experts
Context is vital for successful software development. And that’s where we need you. Collaboration underpins our ability to learn about you, your industry, your business, your technologies and the pressures that you face. Once we’re aligned, then we have all the knowledge necessary to build something that delivers across these important aspects. That process doesn’t end once we start the building phase either; it remains an ongoing process throughout our work.
Yes, collaboration is in the name, but the driving force here is how we work alongside you. It means operating like an internal team, not taking the project out of your hands. All the way from initial planning through to ongoing deployment and operations, the goal is to work in tandem, ensuring your internal teams have just as much knowledge and understanding of the software as we do. That doesn’t end when our work is finished; it also means implementing knowledge, structure and systems to ensure we leave a future-proofed product in the hands of a team that feels equipped to manage moving forward.
Product owners need reliable planning input in order to succeed. To put this in place, we believe that agile is the only way to keep product development on track, continuously focusing and readjusting development activity to stay aligned with the objectives and milestones of the project – as well as emerging issues.
Agile also extends to clients themselves. It’s not just our approach, but an operating model across everybody involved in the project. By ensuring our agile approach is universal, it means a better level of alignment with customer roadmaps, requirements and stakeholder responsibility.
This ensures that we assume product responsibility in tandem with our clients, working closely in alignment.
Cutting-edge technology expertise
All of our collaborative principles and ways of working only succeed with a confident expertise in the technology that underpins software development. Our project teams need to stay abreast of the cutting-edge of software architectures, data management and cloud technology, and then apply that knowledge to our clients.
The right choices need to be made depending on each client, their systems and how they work. In order to get that decision right, it’s vital that we have curious, forward-looking technology experts in place to steer it.
It also means that high-tech skill sets that might not be needed long-term within a client’s organisation are made available precisely when they are needed. It’s a more effective format to use our expertise, than to look at hiring specialists on a permanent basis. Sharing our expertise is another example of collaboration making an important difference.
The best part of using these principles and focusing on a shared vision is simple: it’s enjoyable. There’s nothing better than truly understanding every facet of a business and using that experience to build something that will make a substantial, ongoing difference. It’s why we do what we do.