In my last post, I revealed some helpful tips on how to start a successful and productive collaboration with a software house. Adding to that, I also mentioned what is helpful to know before you actually contact a software development agency. Now, once you’ve selected the software house that meets your requirements, it’s time to talk about your project in more details and write the technical specification of the system you want to build.
Planning a project always starts with an idea. These are the most frequently asked questions that can help you define your goals and deadline. It doesn’t matter if this is your first time into app development, or if you’re already app savvy - you need to give a general overview of the project at the start, so that a software development agency has an idea of what you want your system to include, the estimated timeline and the budget.
To better assist your dev shop to understand your needs, the specs should include: the idea of your product, estimated timeline and ballpark budget. Remember that the software house only needs general information from you. It's the software house's job to have the technical knowledge. At The Masters – we would be pleased to help you clarify all the details of the development. After a short chat with our CTO, I am sure we can help you clarify the vision of your product.
The next stage is the technical specification – a more detailed description, broken down into features.
1. How to write a technical specification?
The technical specification is the skeleton of whole project. Based on the main goal of the app, the type of users in the system and all the functionalities of the app. In other words, it defines the most popular features - thanks to that a dev agency is able to give you a ballpark deadline and plan the project’s roadmap:
- When you are building your project from scratch and you don’t have a CTO in your team, you need to ask yourself: what features you want in your app? The specification should be a detailed written document. It’s also a good idea to show some examples of similar apps.
- Here is a small examples. You need to specify how you want your users to log in to the system. Via Facebook or Google? What personal details does the user submit? What types of users there are in the system? And what credentials do they have?
- After providing the tech specification, the software house reviews it and advises what can be optimized. If needed, some features can be substituted with a ready-to-use solutions e.g. blog. Sometimes this allowes to save a lot of money, at the same time keeping the quality of the system on the same level.
Once you’ve done a tech specification, let us do the nest step.
Next step: User Stories
User stories are an important step for the development of the system. We put a lot of attention when writing up user stories, making them as accurate as possible, as the further roadmap of development of the system is based on them. Our experiance shows that our clients appreciate it very much. The user stories allowed them to better understand of what is going to be done, within what budget. Here is an example: Roisin McGaar, Managing Director at Showpresto said:
We chose The Masters because of the quality and commitment to detail in their proposal. This demonstrated that they had taken the time to rigorously examine and understand the platform's functionality and had considered how they would approach it and our discussions with them proved that they were extremely professional in their attitude and approach. They also had superior communication skills and were able to respond quickly and thoroughly, with flexible whilst accommodating the pressures of start-up companies.
Throughout our time at The Masters, we have found that it’s better if a more qualified and experienced person takes control of this stage – hence you meet our CTO at this stage of the process. Our policy states that within 72 hours from receiving your tech specification, we provide you an estimation that includes: user stories, the amount of hours needed to develop each feature and the costs.
It’s on the basis of this estimation that we sign a contract and plan the roadmap of the development of the project.
Communication is a key to success
Communication is very important for all the parties inolved in the project. Our clients can which track the progress of the development at all times. As our client you always get access to tools which give you complete insight into your project. We also assign a project manager to every client who becomes your singe point of contact and stays in constant touch with you.
When we are on the same page on what we are doing withing what budget, it's time to sign the contract and start developing your app. The PM puts the user stories into Jira and chooses the developers. As The Masters one developer works on one project at the time. We believe that focusing on one project maximizes the effectiveness.
At The Masters, after every two-week sprint we show you a demo of what has been done. You have access to our project management tools (Jira) or if your company is using any others, we are happy to get familiar with them. This guaranteed full transparency of the process.
Even though we are working remotely, it feels like we are sitting right next to each other :) We’re always available online via Slack, Hangout or Skype or whatever other communication tool your are using. Everybody likes to be aproached personally. This is why we regularly travel to London, Dublin, Berlin, Amsterdam and other cities to catch-up with our clients.
I believe that thanks to this article you know what is good to know before contacting a software house and how to prepare to discussing your project, as well as what kind of support your can expect from us. We’re here for you - let’s talk about developing your idea.
Still not convinced? Check our case study!