Thursday 30 March 2017

Cost Cutting in Custom Software – 3 : Prevention trumps Cure

Welcome to yet another post on the cost cutting in custom software development outsourcing. If you are new to this series, please check out the part 1 here and part 2 here. This series builds on itself and you would be able to appreciate more of what I am going to talk about today. With that note let us get into out topic of the day “Prevention trumps Cure”.

Software development has come a long way since SDLC. Development teams are getting smaller and project cycles are getting shorter with Agile development methodologies & other practices such as scrum. However according to Gartner researcher Theresa Lanowitz, agile software project teams reported a surge in project cost from $3.2 million to $3.4 million in the span of last 4 years.  Now that does not add right as project team and time is getting shorter i.e. the two important resources needed for the development.

The answer lies further in her research as well as in the interesting article written by Robert Charette here in why software fails. It is noted that developers spend 50% of their precious time in rework, which are avoidable in the first place. Now, if you are a seasoned project manager or have done software development outsourcing before, you would know that cost of fixing after go live as compared to development can be 100 times higher.
Solution: Prevention is always better than cure

Reworks and Defects are the most contributing factors to software failures and they drive up the cost originally intended for the project.  While the quality of the vendor who deliver the software does matter, it always comes down to a simple and most important document: The Requirement specs. Write and document all those nitty gritty details of the project, do not leave anything to common understanding or assumptions.  What is common for your business may not be common for the vendor or his developers who will be coding your project.

Functional Requirements should be stated clearly and they form the bible for both business and developers.  This would help us to check the features of each module delivered, thus avoiding reworks in the finished product.

Non-Functional Requirements to some extend could be avoided using documentation and well written test cases. However, it all depends on not what the software deliver but how well it delivers. This usually depends on how well the vendor understands your business and the quality of the coding that goes into the development.

I think by now; you understand that cost cutting in custom software development does not always depends solely on the initial project cost. Thanks for dropping by and stay tuned for few more posts on this series. Alternatively, you can head over here to read on the same subject. Have a fantastic day! 

   Srivatsan Aravamudan
   Telephone:+65 62689551
   Fax:+65 62689858
   Business Analyst - Snr Software Consultant.


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