You may think that coming up with an idea for your software project and pitching it to investors is the most intricate part of the path. No doubts, it is. At the same time, the way you explain your business idea to the development team crucially impacts project deviations, delays, and costs, as well as the overall result of the development process.
Once you have an idea and are ready to choose the development partner for your project, the last thing you want is to negate all your previous efforts and fail to communicate your vision.
Knowing how to move from theory to practice and what details you should provide to the potential software vendor will help you avoid pain in the neck and protect your development project from a range of threats.
Here are several steps to consider when it comes to initiating your interactions with a software development company.
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You Have a Project Idea: What’s Next
Basically, there are two principal steps to take when approaching a development team and explaining your idea. Following them, you will have a clear view of the project feasibility and implementation process. At the same time, the development company will have all the details to estimate the scope of work and provide you with structured pricing.
First Step: Send a Simple Request
The most simple way to initiate the conversation is to fill out a request form on the website of a software development company that fits your requirements. Generally, it is the fastest method of contacting the company since the web form processing is automated: the sales team instantly receives a request which is assigned to one of the responsible employees.
Since such form is usually limited in characters, there is another scenario of contacting a company by sending a letter directly to their email address.
Whatever you choose, there are recommendations common for both cases.
- Introduce your company, yourself, and your role so the software vendor could have a better idea of what industry you are involved in and the general audience you aim for.
- Explain your needs in a few words, giving attention to the main focuses.
- Mention if you have any budget limitations. Also, touch on deadlines if you are not flexible with time frames. We all need to plan and organize workflows, don’t we?
In the end, you should have that kind of story:
We’re an ABC company specializing in supply chain and looking for ways to streamline our inventory management. We need a mobile app to manage warehouse inventory on the go.
What’s the average cost for this kind of solution?
We have established time frames, so is it possible to implement a project like this within two months?
David Smith, CEO
When you are not sure what to start with and what questions to ask, you can always drop a line using a live chat. Just mention that you are thinking about the project and further consultation with company representatives will dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
After receiving your request, business development managers and analysts will reach out to you for more details. And here we move to the second step.
Second Step: Be Ready to Provide the Details
This part suggests you getting ready to discuss your idea with a software vendor as they certainly will contact you to know more about it. The end goal of this dialogue is to dive deeper into the details of your business processes and the project you are looking for. The result of this negotiation must be an accurate estimation and a proposal from a software vendor.
Prepare some facts. Since stitch in time saves nine, it is important to review your idea beforehand and have all information ready for talking through, especially if your project is complex. Eventually, to have a comprehensive and detailed estimate, you need to provide the same kind of input. Thus, try to highlight the following essentials.
1. Describe Your Goals
That is the cornerstone of all projects. Moving without any direction or objective is just wandering around. What are you trying to achieve and who are the target users? Is this a software solution aimed to help your clients like an insurance claim submission mobile app? Or is it an internal project, like CRM integration with a Call Center, that will streamline your sales process?
In any case, provide a precise product vision, including issues a software solution should cover and challenges it should address
2. Find Use Cases
Another step to take when explaining your idea to the development team is to describe the use cases. Tell about the real-world user journey from the first interaction with a product to the results they reach in the end. It will help add accuracy to the estimation and reveal some hidden obstacles.
3. Outline Product Functionality and Requirements
This part majorly impacts the time and cost it takes to build a software solution. Describe the key functions your future product should have and provide a prioritized list of features. Here you can also specify whether you want to launch an MVP or full-fledged application and determine the scope of software requirements.
4. Choose the Platform
Do not forget to draw the attention of the dev team to the platforms you are targeting at. Aiming for all platforms at once — iOS, Android, and Web — will very likely affect the cost and timeline of the project. In case your budget is limited, you can point out what platform is your major priority to deliver the product for in the first place.
5. Estimate Budget and Timeline
To shave off a couple of excessive steps and save time on both sides, it makes sense to mention your deadline expectations and budget frames for the project.
Primarily, this will enable the development team to evaluate whether the desired functionally is feasible according to your budget. On top of that, it will be possible to estimate and plan the workload to avoid project delays.
Two Ways to Communicate Your Idea to the Development Team
We are all familiar with the discovery stage when we choose a new house, gadget, or even a destination for the next trip. So we all know the importance of it. Similarly, this stage in software project development helps better understand the significant ins and outs of the project and correctly evaluate it.
There are at least two options possible to run a discovery phase. Usually, they depend on the amount of effort you put into researching on your side.
Option One: Prepare an RFP or Similar Request
This option implies conducting a thorough analysis of your concept, relying on your own resources. If you have a robust team of competent specialists with a technical background, you can opt to write a Request for Proposal (RFP).
Of course, it takes time and expertise to do such work because the final IT RFP document should commonly include numerous parts. However, this will be largely helpful for the team of the software vendor to estimate the project scope and cost and accelerate this process on their side. Even if there are some missing details, the company representatives will contact you shortly to cover the gaps.
RFP is the best way to collect offers from various software vendors to compare them and choose the most suitable for your needs. It allows you to look through the bids for the work, strategies, and expertise of multiple software development companies.
Option Two: Let Your Development Partner Do It for You
Whether you lack the time or qualified people to do the job, don’t hesitate to ask for help. There is always an alternative where the software development company you chose to partner with implements the discovery phase for you.
Having meetings with the Client, the team of Business Analysts, UX Designers, and Technical Architects research and define the following:
- Project scope with functionalities
- UI/UX specifications
- System architecture and technology stack
- Software cost estimation with a breakdown of work
- Timeline with milestones and deliverables
That being so, you can expect to have a detailed and accurate estimate that prepares the ground for a successful solution and minimizes the risks.
On top of that, your partner can help you verify project feasibility by running the Discovery and Definition process. This is important when you are not sure if your idea is realistic, and the entire launch of the project depends on its viability.
Let’s Recap How to Proceed With Your Project Idea
There is no place for misunderstanding if you want to eliminate the gap between project expectations and reality. And there is more than just finding the common language that can help you explain business idea to the development team.
Start with writing a simple request and preparing some key facts about your project for further discussion with your potential partner. Be ready to move to the discovery phase that follows it.
If you are a non-technical person and don’t have a skilled team on board, then collecting data for the discovery phase can lead to some challenges. On top of that, it can take more time than needed. Leave this to experts on the side of a development company; they will ask the right questions and gather all the details to evaluate the project.
Velvetech has a dedicated team of professionals who are passionate about work and goals. Their ability to listen and fathom ideas of a client always results in an accurate project estimate and delivery. Tell us your vision, and we will translate it into a viable plan of action bound to succeed.