Software development is a risky business.
Many software developers are barely skilled at their trade, much less at business. They can’t understand how your business operates – and their code isn’t unreliable.
It crashes constantly.
It isn’t professional.
It hurts your business.
If you want software developed for your business, what can you do?
You need a software development professional – a consumate bussinessman, and you need to deal with him on your terms. How can you do that?
First, you need to make sure that you find a professional who understands business – your business. He has to listen, and be cautious before giving advice. If he tries to drop a pre-packaged solution on you, drop him. Make sure he charges by the project, not by the hour – hourly rates are great for developers, but not for clients. Hourly rates mean they get paid *more* for every bug they create – so they create as many as they can.
Once you have chosen a developer, the next step is to come to an agreement on what needs to be done. Don’t worry about the particular technology used – the developer should worry about that. Worry about what you need on your end – and stick to your guns! You know your business best, and your developer should respect that.
After you have an agreement, you get a contract signed, and then the real fun begins. Insist that your developer give you regular progress updates – including early versions of the software (called ‘builds’). That way, bugs can be detected early, and there will not be any surprises when the project is over. Depending on the project, you may be able to get a build every few days, or every week. The more frequent, the better.
When the project is finally over, you get to take a deep breath. Relax. Sip champagne – or Heineken, if that’s your thing. Don’t get too relaxed, though, because you will have to start the process over again soon. Business is constantly changing, and your software has to evolve with your business. That’s good, though, because every project makes your business more profitable, and more profit in less time is always a good deal.
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