We recently came across the interesting experience where a person got in touch with us after a gap of over a year. We had a number of discussions during our last engagement, and although the client was happy with the proposal and prototype we had presented, he felt that the pricing was unreasonable, especially considering the low rates easily available in the market.
What made the re engagement so interesting was that the client had completely forgotten about the earlier attempt and had gotten in touch with us as if it was the first time he was discussing with us. He however started off by giving us a description his his journey thus far. Unfortunately, subsequent to our discussion, he had tried to work with two software teams, and ended up burning his fingers both times. In addition, he ended up losing a substantial amount of money and time in the process.
The sad thing is that such experiences are not rare, in the world of software development. Even today more than 50% of all projects fail. While some projects may be doomed due to factors outside everyone’s control, surely the percentage of failures is too high for comfort. As a potential customer, how do I go about finding a partner who can increase the odds of my project completing successfully?
Our experience of over 10 years of successful project completions have taught us a few lessons:-
- Always choose a software partner who seeks to understand the context of the project, not just the requirements.Good project management involves making prioritization decisions. A good understanding of the context gives the Project Manager the information he needs to make the right prioritization.
- Choose a partner who seeks to connect to the core problem you want solved:Software vendors often assume wrongly that the customer is the best person to define the solution. What they don’t understand is that if the customer knew how to solve the problem he would need a software partner in the first place. Software vendors, with their depth and breadth of experience bring a strong technical perspective to the problem, and this can prove vital to defining the solution. In addition, good software partners define and put in place metrics that help you understand exactly how close you are to the solution at any given point of time.
- Choose a partner who is willing to walk alongside till you solve the problem:Very rarely will a custom developed solution meet all expectations the first time out. Multiple iterations and corrections are an integral part of any software development life cycle. make sure your software partner is willing to stay with you over the long haul.
Of course, all of this is easier said than done. How exactly does one go about validating that software companies you talk to meet these three essential criteria? Well, you could go about defining an extensive questionnaire, followed by in-depth interviews, research customer references and do an on-site survey yourself. Or you can just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.