Does your Software agency follow a process?

Choosing a developer, or software agency can be a tough job. Many use technical language, jargon and words like agile, cloud-first, machine learning, AI and algorithms.

But what does any of this actually mean? We look at the importance of a process and how it can save you time, money and add lifetime value and ROI to your project.

We receive many enquiries from frustrated entrepreneurs and businesses in the region who have struggled to be able to communicate and execute software projects remotely. They suffer pain from the developers lack of understanding of the brief and struggle to get clear expectations. Many projects are lost in translation and these situations mean that the final product is not what they envisaged. Or even worse not fit for the purpose of the user! 

The first most most critical role any software agency must be excellent communication.

 Without the ability to communicate clearly and document the project in English or Arabic in this region can cause the best ideas or projects to fail. The deadlines must also be realistic and agreed by both parties prior to engagement to ensure that the relationship is productive and achievable. Without proper planning and clear verbal communication a simple project can end up multiplying in terms of cost and time with live edits needed to be done on the code after approval causing frustration on both sides of the relationship.

The most common missing sections of a customer brief we receive is the lack of value proposition of the end product, eg what problem does the app or software resolve? And also who is the end user that will be using the software or app? What do they like, how do they work, and what is important to them? How do we communicate to them?

This is why it’s critical for customers to request an understanding behind the software agencies methodology when looking for a software partner especially in the MENA region. Investing in process can be the difference between success and failure, it also ensures that all parties ranging from stakeholders, brand managers, and the consumer are taken into account at the start of the project.

Discovery is critical to any project planning, and we would recommend this to be done via a collaborative in person, through a workshop and if possible with all stakeholders present. The session should be documented and the project only then estimated based on requirements, milestones and deliverables. Key items to consider are who is the product aimed at? Is it targeting a certain persona? What is the action you would like the user to take? What language does the user speak or read? We have seen many projects have to be re designed or built because Arabic right to left copy wasn’t considered in the original design and the Arabic keyboard characters wouldn’t work on a certain OS or even worse the payment gateway you wanted to use wasn’t available in the region or does not have an API that allows connection of the product to the bank, or customer and product details to the EPOS or customer contact system.

Once the discovery has been completed we would strongly recommend a defined plan of action. This is where the project is broken down into segments and phases, that define the core elements of the project; the targeted user, their persona and preferred language for reading and writing. The key requirements of the product, the categories needed and how data will flow into the application and where it will be stored. What technologies are fit for purpose and what are the recurring costs for using these technologies. Can the product be scaled to multi regions and how. Who is responsible for managing the back end and is there any legal consideration in terms of privacy, GDPR or encryption that need to be addressed? Do you need track in app events and data analytics, and how is this displayed, in dashboard or in a CSV report?

Another key question at the quote phase we would recommend you ask is, do I receive a working prototype of the software, app or website for approval prior to the development stage? We highly recommend this on any project before any code is written. Starting with an interactive prototype, although this takes additional time it will pay dividends in the long run as any changes on the user experience can be fixed prior to deployment. It helps you to connect all the UI designs together and allows stakeholders or brand owners to see the final look and feel and user journey before the main code is started.

So what is the conclusion? The key to any successful software project whether it be an app, website, kiosk or interactive activation is; can I work and communicate with the supplier? It doesn’t matter how brilliant they are at coding, if they can’t communicate the project will fail or double or triple in terms of costs and deadlines will get missed. Do I have the ability to sit with the team and work through issues and is the key team individuals local and accessible? Any project is reliant on teamwork and partnerships and with technologies stacks changing rapidly client and agency teams need to adapt quickly, having a team you trust who are open to honest with integrity is important. Ensure you understand what you are signing up for, ask for actual cases studies and demonstrations of their work and ensure that they have a clear methodology and process and cloud based communication and project management tools so you track milestones, KPI’s and deadlines.

Remember a software project should be exciting and fun to deliver!If you would like to know more about the methodology that Amplify provide or should you like to come in and meet our team in JLT dubai and discuss your project over a tea/coffee we would be excited to meet you. 

Would you like a free consultation?

Why not speak to one of our account managers or consultants about your project, we offer a free 30-minute consultation to all new clients, either in person or over a Teams or Zoom.