But you still need custom software.
One of the biggest challenges of creating a custom database is gaining access to the resources (read: team’s time) needed for the developers to understand the scope of the project.
Getting a solution started comes to a complete halt when we cannot partner with a customer to best determine the specific needs for your project. Many people are simply too busy to invest the time.
I would challenge the “I don’t have time” mindset and ask whether there is time to continue with the issues that often lead to your desire for custom software in the first place. Here are some examples:
- No off-the-shelf solution works for your business
- Off-the-shelf options are too expensive and do more or less than you need
- Money is lost because of the stacks of paper you have to wade through
- Your team members are overworked
- Your team members or leaders don’t leave at a reasonable hour
- Spreadsheets are too hard to understand
- Same data needs to be provided in a various formats
- Countless other real-life scenarios
Custom software is just that… software that is made to do what you want and how you want it. By its very definition, it requires “you” – an investment of not only money, but also time, from you and your team.
Have you ever found a bug in Microsoft Word? It feels like finding a typo in a published book – so weird. Realize that Word is used by about 500 million people. It is a program originally released in the early 80s, enhanced and refined for over 30 years. I can’t even imagine how many testers have banged on the system over the years. As a point of reference, the beta 2 version of Microsoft Office 2003, which included a version of Word, was tested by 500,000 people. Once released, bugs can still be identified by users and submitted to be fixed for the next update.
But it is not custom software. It is designed to do specific things and only specific things. So, when software is designed for your company and team – something brand new and custom built to address your company’s individual needs – you must be prepared to invest time in at least the following areas to achieve success:
- Providing background information such as the currently used software, paperwork or files during the initial consultations
- Answering probing questions during discovery to help create a plan to succeed
- Answering questions about your process during development to help prevent major disconnects
- Testing your system to identify tweaks and bugs
- Providing a team of power users to help you find tweaks and bugs
- Empowering everyone involved to make testing a priority
- Encouraging the team to share bugs, tweak requests and likes/dislikes to have a good idea of what you want for a version 2
Without your involvement, your partnership and your patience, your solution cannot be truly yours. Help us help you!