How do you start a successful and productive collaboration with a software house? What do you need to know before contacting a development agency? We have listed some helpful information to get you started in planning your product development from the very beginning.
It’s always good to start with the basics when building your project from scratch. And, as I am sure you are aware – start by defining the goals and vision of your application.
Below, I have listed some of the more common but crucial questions which are going to be asked by a development agency right at the outset of your project. I am sure there are more, but let’s just get things started:
1. Do you have a clear vision of your product?
Obviously, you don’t need to be an expert in technology in order to know what you want to achieve. And, if you explain what you want, a development house can tell you how it is done. What a software house needs from you is general information about the idea, not necessarily the tech solutions. This tech part is where the software house comes in. And, for us, at The Masters, we know our experience and technical knowledge is more than able to support you and your project’s development.
Here are some examples of the questions we would ask at the beginning of your collaboration with The Masters (these are not extensive but examples only):
- What is the general idea of your product? What do you want your app to achieve?
- Do you know more or less what the app’s primary functionalities are going to be?
- Do you want to prepare an app from scratch or use a ready-to-go solution?
If you are not sure - don’t panic! We are here to help you.
A short chat with one of our team will help you to clarify the vision of your product. And we’ll help you define the details of your app idea, too.
Also bear in mind, that when talking to a development team to give them as much information as possible. This will enable them to fully understand your app, define a timeline, and give a budget estimate. The more detail you give the clearer the picture is for the development team and the easier it is for them to suggest the best solution(s) for you.
The more information you tell a software house, the easier it is to estimate a budget. Don’t be afraid that your budget may be too small for your idea. At The Masters, you might be surprised that sometimes expectations and reality can go hand in hand.
When deciding on collaborating with us, the first step is for us to provide you with our business and technology consultancy services - a standard aspect of our service for our business partners. We can help you prepare the correct specification and estimation for your project. We will also introduce you to your project manager who is at your disposal at every stage of your product’s creation.
2. Do you have an idea of a budget?
It’s understandable that you may not know exactly how much the development of your app will cost – that’s why the cost estimation, which we prepare, is so important. The cost estimation gives you an idea of all the costs relating to your project and helps you to understand if your budget is workable. It is a crucial part of the project, and helps us build confidence in a client’s mind in two important areas; how long and how much it will take to deliver a new software product.
But fear not! We are always here to help you with all aspects of your product idea. We need a clear idea of how much you are willing to invest in building your system, as this will enable us to define and plan the tailored solutions needed for your project. With a clear budget in our minds, we are able to more effectively advise you on fund allocation during the business consultation phase.
The more you tell us...
...the easier it is for us to deliver the product you want.
Let me give you one example of how we have supported our clients. Our client, MyAllergy, wanted to build the code for their blog from scratch. However, our CTO advised them to use a ready-to-go solution which could easily be integrated into their website. This lead to us saving the client a lot of money. Sometimes it's better to use open-source solution and integrate it into the code, than create it from scratch.
Apart from that, we are agile. This means, we divide a project into small steps, two-week sprints. We follow the Time and Materials model, which means that a client pays only for the actual number of hours our developers’ spend writing code – the hours our developers’ actually work (breaks for chats, coffee or a little FIFA match are not included, of course!!). The consultancy and the work of our PMs and manual testers is all free of charge.
3. Have you checked out your potential competitors and target audience for your product?
Having a good understanding of your competition is always a great idea. It’s good to do some research and check if there are any other companies with a similar product as the one you want to build. It also a great idea to investigate who is your potential target group, how big it is and if your app will meet their expectations and needs. That will help you to create the right business model.
It also gives you essential knowledge about the industry, so that you can refine your business strategy. Extensive research is a very important step when introducing a new product to a specific market and without it, you can end up spending a lot on money and time, without any results. Remember to keep tabs on what’s going on in your industry and identify your competitors (read more: 6 ways to spy on your competitors).
From our perspective, information about your competitors may be useful for two reasons:
- Looking for inspiration and functionalities which may help you meet your clients’ needs. Also, it gives you a general clue as to how dynamic an industry is that you want to enter with your product.
- Looking for a niche to make your product unique and that stands out from others.
4. Do you already have some mock-ups?
Planning a whole project always starts with the technical specification and visual model of an application. And, as creating a good mock-up is not easy, here are a couple of simple, cost-effective solutions on ready-made, bootstrap mock-ups to help you out.
Perhaps one of the more well-known and popular mock-up tools are: Balsamiq Mockups and Mockup Builder. However, you can always draw your vision on a piece of paper or in a paint programme. Having said that, if you decide to create your project with us from scratch, as part of our consultancy services, we will help you with mock-ups.
A wireframe is all about functionality. It can be a really simple, basic sketch - it is more about the functions the app has, more than the graphic design. If you can, prepare a project or information about how you would like it to look. If you can’t, we will guide you through it.
Are you ready to let us help you with your app idea? Contact our friendly team and we will help you with all steps of making your app idea a reality.