Understanding Bespoke Development

Following on from last week’s article, custom software versus off the shelf software, now let’s look at how to set requirements for your bespoke software development.

Firstly, it is key to understand your end goal. Consider the impact, both positive and negative, that any development could have on your company. Also consider the impact of not going ahead with a software update.  Knowing your budget will also be key for the developers to assess if your desired end goal is achievable within budget. Once the overall goal has been established, software developers will begin to understand the complexity of the system and provide guidance, suggestions, creative ideas and a realistic quote to fit within your budget.

Next, you will need to be able to describe clearly and understand the current process and workflows within your organisation.   Developers will need awareness of systems they may need to integrate with.

Whilst bearing in mind the end goal, try to identify what each user will desire from the system.  Also consider the level of competence and the IT skills of specific users or groups of users. Requirements are best defined as stories, for example: “As a manager I want to be able to see daily/ weekly/ monthly sales.” “As an administrator I want to enter the information once instead of three times in each system.”  Once the requirements have been captured make sure you review them and the workflows of the new system to ensure nothing has been ‘lost in translation’.