Following is some useful information for potential clients who already have an IT product or are only thinking of obtaining one. In this section, you will find some advice with regard to how to plan a software project for a startup, how to formalize your requirements specification, how to estimate the economics of your product, and more.
Over our many years in the IT industry, we have gained quite a solid experience in project implementation and evolution, and the range of our experience enables us to share our vision of a conceptual approach to the development and implementation of a successful long-term IT project. We believe that this approach helps avoid miscommunication between us and our clients, and helps avoid misalignment in defining goals and objectives.
When our clients place an order for the development of an IT product, which is in high demand right now and capable of bringing them profit for many years to come, generally they may view their new IT project almost as the owner of a machine factory views a new production line – it can take time to design and install a new production line, and you need to make significant financial investments, but once the line is commissioned, it runs steadily and smoothly, and all you need to do is to keep the production line in good technical condition.
First, in case your product is a fixed price software product, as early as in the development phase, the software development agreement will usually be amended to add new addenda, because in the process of turning your idea into reality, the developers will encounter lots of new, not previously accounted for, opportunities to make your project even more effective and convenient.
Second, once your users start using the new product, they will constantly come to you with their requests and proposals for refinement and enhancement of the project, and the more in demand your product is, the more requests and proposals you will be receiving. You will welcome them, as you want your project to be a success and you want to expand the reach of your clients.
Third, you will definitely need to modernize your software product over time, and widen its capabilities and scope – the IT sector is experiencing constant and explosive growth, and market players need to be sure they are up to the mark for the current level of technology. This means that refinements and modernization are an integral part of a competent strategy for operation of a software product.
A successful IT product is not built ''once and for all''. The digital environment changes with every second, and so should your IT product, seamlessly integrated into the digital environment and responsive to every change. For this reason, the perception of a software product as a production line, which only needs to be installed and launched, is totally wrong. A far more appropriate analogy would be to compare your IT product to a living organism, one that has unique characteristics, needs constant maintenance, and evolves after its creation. You should help your IT product grow and acquire new useful functionality.
The regular need to enhance and upgrade a software product to versions 2.0, 3.0, and higher is a sign of a truly successful product. An unpopular software product, one that no one needs, would remain the same as when it was first released and put into operation. With a product sought after by the users, you will certainly be faced with the need to evolve it. The logic of business processes in the IT sector is such that you start work on the next version of the software immediately after the launch of the current version, in order not to lose momentum or lag behind.
The evolution of a successful IT product continues for the whole time of its existence, and the evolution only stops with termination of the company's operations. This is a universal business strategy, driven by the market, that is true for any project and for all, without exception, IT companies.
The Time and Materials model presupposes billing for the actual time spent by the development team on the project. There are various ways for our clients to ensure full transparency of this model. For instance, for each sprint we use a sprint backlog, which lists the functions that will be developed during the upcoming sprint (a sprint is one or two weeks long). In this way, we set limits on time spent on the tasks to be done. Plus, in a special time tracker, our clients can always keep an eye on the progress of each task and percentage of the task's completion.
For a startup business, the Time and Materials model is the only possible one. It is simply not sensible to add 150 addenda to your software development agreement (a separate addendum for each of the changes to the requirements specification), each addendum requiring additional paperwork and slowing down development process.
When it comes to preparing the budget for your project, you should understand (and include this kind of costs in your project's budget) that your IT project will continue evolving even after it is launched. You will only rarely be able to decrease the production capacity of your company at any stage, so, once users start using your project, you may experience an avalanche of requests from your users asking for enhancements or changes in the existing functions or for adding new functionality. We would advise you to make room in your budget for the break-even time, that is, the time for covering the maintenance costs of your IT project until it reaches financial sustainability (the break-even point).
If you take into account the above-mentioned guidelines when calculating the budget for your product, it will help prevent misunderstandings and help you and us create together a truly high-quality product that will bring you revenue and enable you to increase your company’s value for years to come.