Having decided to utilise the services of a professional software development provider, it’s important to produce a clear brief for the project so your expert partners can create new software to help you realise your business objectives.
Your software development partner can help you all the better through understanding your exact needs and in how you answer the question: “why do we need bespoke software?”
The aspects you should cover in your brief:
Aims and objectives
What do you want your new software to do? For example, are you looking to improve data capture? Reduce time re-keying the same information due to databases that don’t integrate with one another? Looking to improve stock recording and reporting?
What is your overarching goal? For example, is it to improve internal efficiency (such as reducing time consuming and repetitive tasks) or customer engagement? For example, if you’re thinking of setting up a customer portal.
Be specific: for instance, don’t just say ‘we need improved stock reporting’ – clarify exactly what functionality you require such as: ‘we require accurate and instant recording of stock levels and the ability to trigger re-ordering instructions when levels reach a certain point’.
The ‘where we are now’ illustration
Show your software development partner your current state of play with your IT and software situation. For instance: do you have any relational databases? What is your current stock reporting software like and where does it fall short?
This will help your development partner not only understand current limitations, but also whether it’s possible to take anything you currently have and adapt it as opposed to starting from scratch. For example, it’s possible in some circumstances to adapt your current databases and integrate them so improving your set up but allowing you to continue using software you and your staff are familiar with.
A key consideration of course, but make it clear if there is scope (for example: ‘from £XX to no more than £XX) or whether your stated figure really is the maximum you can invest.
This will enable your software development partners to tailor a solution based on specific figures. If your budget is limited, your experts can prioritise the software solutions that meet your immediate needs.
A preferred deadline or even a non-negotiable one is obviously important.
You may have to take counsel from your development partner if your desired completion date is simply too optimistic, but at least you have a starting point and rest assured professional software developers will do their best to meet your preferred timetable.
Milestones and testing
Here you may need input from your developer, but it’s a good idea to at least have some notion as to when basic milestones should be reached such as completion of a first version of the software for testing.
Overall, the more you advise your development partner with a clear brief, the more they can help you.