Software specialist works with clients, rather than for clients
Company-X teams up with clients to deliver award winning software.
“We include clients so that they are involved in decisions as we go along,” says professional services manager Michael Hamid.
“We break the work down in to two-week chunks so that it is easy to measure progress and change focus or direction relatively easy and quickly.”
Before works begins on the software solution, directors David Hallett and Jeremy Hughes discover the problem by meeting with the client.
Then Michael and a project manager assemble a team including subject matter experts, solution architects, business analysts, developers and testers.
The team dives deep into the problem to ascertain how much effort the solution will require to develop. Then it is time to begin work. The first two-week chunk of work might involve graphical designs of how the software solution will work and operate.
“We want to ensure that the client is involved as much as possible about the functionality,” Michael says. “We attempt to get to anything that we think is risky or unknown as soon as possible. We embrace the fail fast philosophy which looks to identify and expose potential problems early.”
Jeremy remembers an incomplete software development project that Company-X inherited. All the easy work had been done by other software developers first and there was little to show the client.
“We said we would not continue on that path and wanted to work on the dashboard screen that someone was going to use,” Jeremy says.
“We came in and turned that around. Within a month the client could see what they were dealing with.”
Most projects start with Company-X designers mocking up wireframes of how the solution could look. “We don’t necessarily jump into hacking code together,” Jeremy says.
“We then have a blueprint of how to go forward,” Michael adds. Company-X prefers to form software development teams that include members from the client’s organisation.
“We like projects where the client is brought inside the team,” Jeremy says.
“We want somebody that we can work with who really knows what they want,” Michael adds. “We want someone who can take five-minute phones calls. It can sometimes take 15 to 20 minutes a day with a longer discussion at the end of every second week.”
Jeremy says such discussions are vital for the process.
“If you are laying a train track and each track you lay is three degrees out after 30 tracks have been laid you are 90 degrees off your original target. It’s a very expensive process to re-lay a track which is now pointing 90 degrees off course. These conversations make sure we are bang on track.”
The software development team, with the client front and centre, is focussed on delivering a sustainable and maintainable software solution.
“We resist the idea of just getting the job done,” Michael says. “If you do it properly the first time you save yourself a lot of extra work later on. We have our eyes on the big picture at Company-X.”