Quick turnaround and custom software development are two things that don’t seem like they’d go well together. Most custom software projects need time to craft a high-quality, high-functioning product, but as we’ve gotten more and more requests to shorten timelines and yet produce high-quality solutions, we’ve found success in streamlining work for greater output. Here are some helpful tips for getting a quick turnaround custom software development project completed at Acumium.
Understanding the Software Development Process
The development time for software projects can vary greatly depending on requirements, available resources, and budget. Development time can be minimized when the requirements are well-defined, developers are available with the precise skill set needed for the project, and the budget will support the team through completion. Unfortunately, none of those are ever completely true at the start of the project. For most projects, development time actually increases to formalize requirements and schedule staff. The budget either increases too or the quality requirements are loosened to stay within budget. For a quick-turnaround project, where we have a shortened deadline, the development cycle needs to shift the cost of inefficiency to other areas to meet the deadline.
Shortened Timeline Factors
An obvious answer would be to increase the budget. Increasing your budget doesn’t require tradeoffs with the software quality, however, budget can only solve so much. A larger budget might attract higher-skilled developers, reprioritize schedules, and encourage overtime, but even an infinite budget can’t pay developers that don’t exist. Instead, let’s focus on the specific traits that improve the chance for success on a quick-turnaround project.
The first barrier to success for any project is specifying the project requirements, and that is especially true for a quick turnaround. Generally, if the project needs to be completed quickly, the need was unforeseen, and the requirements are still murky. Being able to precisely analyze the need and limit the scope is the best step towards meeting the deadline with a valuable solution. Then, pairing your requirements with a team that has great domain expertise is a tremendous timesaver.
The second and third barriers to success are the actual software development time required to implement the project and the validation of its correctness and quality. While planning methods exist that estimate relatively accurate development time, those methods shift solving the unknowns into the planning stage. Similarly, the validation stage can be minimized by shifting gateways to the development stage.
A Quick Turnaround Solution
So, with a quick turnaround software development project, we are stuck with a hard deadline and a lot of unknowns. How do we move forward? By performing all development stages in parallel. First, we prioritize the build and deployment of the project to environments that we can test and demo. Then, we begin developing rapid prototypes based on the knowns and solving the unknowns through immediate testing. The requirements are nailed down at the same time the quality is validated and neither process halts development. Even better, only a small portion of the team needs to start the project with domain expertise so long as those that have it are experimenting with each iteration of the software and communicating their thoughts.
If it sounds like the process should work for any project even without a quick turnaround, it does. Agile software processes that promote collaboration and frequent iterations are used for all types of projects. The only thing that changes for a quick-turnaround project is how frequent the iterations and communication need to be to meet the deadline.
Want more information about our quick turnaround process? Or have a project that needs help fast? Contact us today to learn how our expert development team can help you.