Custom software development is a costly and complicated process. That’s why many companies put it off for years, struggling with off-the-shelf options and losing revenue. Is it possible to reduce software development costs?
Let’s be realistic. You would still need to pay a hefty amount to get top-notch software. Development involves a formidable effort and expertise, so it can’t be cheap. However, there are a few ways you can cut costs while still getting excellent results.
In this article, we’ll offer five top methods to help you save money on custom software development for your company.
1. Planning Carefully
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
The right planning is the key to success. Before any coding starts, you have to identify your goals. What do you want to achieve with the project? How will you track the progress? How will you measure the success of software development? All of the above should be done in the order listed.
Even if you aren’t developing the software on your own, you should have a clear plan for the development company. First, you should come up with the main goal of the project. Then you can divide it into stages. Each of the stages can be scheduled to be completed within a certain timeframe. Remember, this can work for both agile and waterfall methods. However, agile is preferable for cost cutting. We’ll talk about it later in the article.
Then you can identify such metrics as working software features, timely delivery, number of tasks completed, and the like. Measuring these components can help you have a clear vision of the project’s progress and avoid unnecessary and costly actions.
Having a custom software development plan and a schedule can help you minimize the amount of work done by developers thus reducing development costs and time.
2. Taking Advantage of the Agile Strategy
Numerous software development strategies exist. Some are better suited for certain projects than others. However, when it comes to cutting costs, agile is a smart way to go. Software development is a complicated process, which is often affected by various factors.
The waterfall method used to be favored by the majority of developers. This approach involved a sequential development cycle. A company would determine the needs and goals, hire a development team, and wait for the final result. Even though this method could be useful in some situations, it would often lead to errors, miscommunication, and unexpected expenses.
According to experts from the software development company in Kansas City ActiveLogic Labs, agile is the top choice when it comes to cutting costs. This method involves the developer and the client working closely at each stage of the development process. It allows for catching errors timely before the product is finished. The client can comment on what works and what doesn’t thus saving time, effort, and money.
Agile allows the client to provide valuable feedback to affect the further efforts of the development team.
3. Outsourcing Software Development
Companies often struggle to develop software with the assistance of existing experts. If you have a large IT department with several developers, it may work. However, if your staff is lacking expertise, forcing it to complete a complex project could spell disaster.
These days, outsourcing software development is one of the most popular ways to cut costs. You don’t have to delegate the entire project. It’s possible to hire freelancers or small teams to work with your department for the duration of the development cycle. This way you can get expert opinion without paying salaries, benefits, etc. to people whose services you won’t need once the project is over.
If you decide to delegate the development to another company, it’s important to make sure that it has sufficient expertise. You may need to spend a formidable amount of time looking for the right experts. Consider it an investment in the company’s future. Beware of cheaper-than-average offers. They are likely to mean a lack of experience.
4. Communicating Thoughtfully
Proper communication is the key to the success of any project. When it comes to software development, it can cut costs. Starting with determining the goal and ending with testing, you must be ready to communicate your needs to the developers. The majority of extra expenses stem from bad communication.
When it comes to agile development methods, you get an opportunity to communicate daily, ask questions, make changes, and offer criticism. Failing to do that leads to unnecessary work and costly changes.
Even if the needs and requirements of the company may seem clear and obvious to you, they may not appear as such to the developer. Meanwhile, what may seem like a clear request to the developer can appear complex to the client. That’s when thoughtful communication comes in. It’s vital to talk every little detail through to ensure being on the same page.
Correct and clean translation of the specs into a project flow turns into a roadmap for the developer and the client. It can minimize guesswork and cut expenses.
5. Involving the QA Team
Testing the software should never be left for the end of the project. In fact, you should consider doing it as early in the software development cycle as possible. Unfortunate and costly errors start appearing during the first stages and accumulate as the project progresses.
Involving the QA team at the early development steps can help you find problems as soon as they occur, thus saving time and money during the later parts of the cycle.
The QA team is the third party, which can take a fresh look at the intermediate results and give valuable recommendations. These experts can notice something that both developers and clients overlook.
While it’s not possible to make software development cheap, you can reduce costs substantially by following a few simple rules. Plan properly, outsource tasks that you don’t have the right experts for, use the agile method, involve the QA team at the early stages, and communicate thoughtfully.