Sometimes online services, off-the-shelf software or plugins are insufficient for the job you have. Or you may have existing software that needs to be integrated or extended. In these instances, you need custom web or software development. This should not be confused with WordPress development, which in many cases is not development at all, but simply putting together pieces of a puzzle. We are experts at that too, but our skills extend to writing code from scratch. Examples include brand new plugins, entire new platforms that might run the website of a new web startup, or the software that powers a quality control department.
The challenge is, how do you identify a quality development team? With statistics showing that more than 50% of large development projects fail, you need to be sure that you have a capable, experienced team on your project. Otherwise, it’s too easy to use most or all of your budget and wind up with something that is unfinished or, worse yet, unusable. In other cases, the project gets done but the developer disappears and is unable to support you long-term.
There are several things that we incorporate into our custom web development process to ensure that your project gets done right, on time and on budget. This process has been evolving since NDIC was founded in 1994 and we’ve had a lot of years to hone it.
Key components of our process that distinguish us from our competitors, include:
- Scoping. One of the most challenging aspects of a large development project is figuring out how many hours it will take to build. There is an old adage in software development that says, “The only developer that knows how long a project will take is the one that just completed it.” Estimating what it will take to build brand new software is challenging because there are inherent unknowns in the undertaking. Our process relies on both our expertise in ferreting out unknowns as well as taking them into account.
- Project Management & Communication. To clients or developers who are inexperienced in software development, project management might be seen as a way to increase the costs of a job, making it more profitable without adding value. After all, why not just work directly with the developer and eliminate project management? Because, on a large project, managing timelines, deadlines, the myriad requirements and details of a project, taking meetings and communicating frequently with clients is an entirely different skillset from software development. A good project manager has these skills and handles all of these tasks, enabling the software developer to do what they do best without being forced to do things they are often not good at.
- Development Process. In software development, you’ll hear terms like Agile Development, Waterfall, Lean Development and many more. There is no single methodology that alone will make your project a success. Instead, we borrow key concepts from several methodologies and adapt them as needed to your project. Critical elements that are always present include frequent communication, involving you early and often in the development cycle, and building the minimum viable feature set so that you can begin using the software as soon as possible while evolving it over time.
- Support. You need a team that will be available for the long haul if you need them. Most web development these days is done with an eye to maintainability by you. Some of our clients are very self sufficient and rarely need our help after a project is done. We are perfectly fine with that and take it as a sign that we did our job right. On the other hand, for those who need or want ongoing support and development, we have built our business on long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships. We’ve been supporting clients like you for a long time and we will continue to do so well into the future!
If you have a development project you are contemplating, we’d be happy to discuss it with you. Give us a call at (805) 962-8565 x2 or email us. We promise to add value to the discussion regardless of whether you ultimately choose to hire us or not!