Software development Strategy Guide for Scaleups

How to define project definition?

Scaling up your business requires a change of approach toward project definition. In the context of software, we refer to it as all the aspects that need to be covered during the process of planning and execution.  A good project definition should answer the following questions:  

Why?

All projects should start by providing their business justification, a prerequisite to initiating any project. We can see this phase in almost every project management approach, including PRINCE2, DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method), or even AgileSHIFT. The latter one, which is relatively new to the market, distinguishes a phase called “Startup” which asks if the project is worth doing

What?

Everything that needs to be done during the project. The scope of work has to be established before the project starts. As change is a part of every software-based project one has to take it into consideration when defining technical and system infrastructure, and the rules and procedures which will be used to operate the software. There is also a need to provide your team with training on maintenance or new organizational procedures introduced after scaling. 

Who?

There is a need for a simplified structure within the team, with a clear set of responsibilities assigned to every person. 

When?

A project definition has to include both a general and a detailed (with every task required) timeframe allowing the team and all stakeholders to track the progress. 

How to define the project scope?

Even if you have vast resources, without a well-defined project scope there is little chance of success. So what is a scope and how do you define it when you have to make frequent changes to your product during the software development process? In simple terms: by defining scope we mean adopting a clear vision and an agreement on the deliverables expected from the project.

While defining the scope you have to prepare a detailed description of what the project is supposed to achieve and what it cannot accomplish. Of course, in today’s world changes to the project are inevitable, especially if you assume scaling up. To deal with that situation project managers use project scope management which includes defining project needs, understanding the project objectives, and the project scope definition. 

By using Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)Product Breakdown Structure (PBS), or Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) you can determine the impact of the change on the project scope.

These structures identify the features, components, or resources that would need to be added, changed, or deleted during the lifecycle of the project. Doing so will help to avoid scope creep. Furthermore, you must frequently update your project scope and communicate any changes to all stakeholders. 

Tips:

  • Use WBS, and PBS RBS to identify any changes that can impact the project
  • Update your project scope frequently 

How to re-organize a software development model when the product continually changes?

To maintain both high-quality and high value when the product continually changes there is a need for a re-organization of the software development model, which means choosing the right methodology, preferably the agile one (Extreme programming, Scrum, etc.) When it comes to requirements, project managers using Scrum tend to freeze the model for the current iteration so developers have a certain level of stability, although XP and DAD practitioners allow a change during the iteration. Whichever you choose, it is important to bear in mind that it may result in moving some requirements to the next iteration.

When working on the software project, stakeholders are responsible for defining and prioritizing new requirements, whilst developers are in charge of estimating the effort it takes to implement them. As many examples show, dealing with smaller requirements is easy to estimate, while bigger ones can be challenging.

So how to manage more difficult requirements? You must reorganize them into smaller and more manageable parts, so they can be implemented within a single iteration. As for iteration itself, it has to be shorter than in Scrum because it reduces the feedback cycle, making it easier to stay on track for both developers and stakeholders. 

Tips:

  • Incline toward Agile rather than traditional methods. 
  • Try to manage any change to requirements within one iteration.

Software Development Outsourcing Budget: What to Consider?

When it comes to software development outsourcing, most people associate high-quality work with high prices. However, those who have outsourced IT services before are familiar with their time and budget-friendly benefits. So, whether you need a custom software development service or wish to work with freelance developers for web/mobile application development, you will find several options to fit your needs. If you’re on the lookout for an outsourcing company or vendor to provide you with the best services and value, this list will be extremely useful.

Before you hire someone for IT-related services, you should consider several factors that will play an essential role in planning the budget for such operations. Once you’ve carefully defined the budget, the benefits of outsourcing are endless. 

Let’s take a look at the factors you should consider:

1. Average Cost of Software Development Outsourcing

Software development outsourcing companies typically charge by the hour, and their rates can be anywhere between USD $20 and $190 per hour, depending on the region and the seniority level of the specialists. The type of outsourcing company you choose and their experience will determine the total cost you’ll pay for your work.

It’s best to check the vendor’s operational maturity level, list of services they offer, the quality of their work, and their work ethics before moving forward with the contract. More money often means higher quality, but that’s not always true. You can ask the vendor to provide work references and check online reviews, if available, before deciding. Additionally, there are four specific pricing strategies to consider before outsourcing software development services:

Time and Material Plan: Following this strategy is best if you have not yet defined goals, product features, specifications, and strategies. The total price of the project will be determined after completion and consideration of the time and effort dedicated to development services.

Fixed Price Plan: If you have clear goals and have agreed on all the deliverable details and deadlines, the vendors or freelancers will provide you with a fixed price. This pricing model is not flexible and any changes in the project will lead to cost adjustments.

CAP Plan: the CAP plan has features of both the pricing models mentioned above. While it is flexible and the project requirements are discussed in advance, there is an upper budget limit set by the client that the parties cannot exceed.

Monthly Flat Rate Plan: As the name of the plan suggests, if your vendor offers this pricing plan, you will pay a fixed monthly rate no matter how complicated or straightforward the software development process is. Typically, companies use this pricing plan for short-term services and when the scope of work is clear for both sides.

2. Evaluating Needs and Company Resources

Which IT services and operations will you need to outsource? If you need a complete software development project, including development, UI/UX design, quality assurance, project management, etc., you will need to outline such needs from the outset.

If you decide to invest in IT outsourcing services without a clear goal, the project processes will not be optimized, and you will not get the best results from the services provided to you. It will be best to talk with the vendors and tell them which services you require in particular. An experienced service provider will conduct thorough research to identify product specifications and requirements before quoting a price.

3. Setting Expectations before Research

If your priority is finding vendors with the lowest rates, and you initiate your research based only on costs, there’s a higher chance that you’ll end up with an unqualified vendor. It’s always best to set criteria and a list of expectations (not just price) before conducting research.

First, you must analyze factors such as communication, management, and other processes and define the expectations of your ideal partner. Then you can conduct research to find a suitable software development outsourcing company.

4. Defining the Communication and Cooperation Model

Several companies report poor experience when outsourcing because communication issues overshadow the benefits of outsourcing. The communication gap is usually found when you hire off-shore outsourcing vendors. So, analyze how well the vendors understand your company goals and needs from the outset.

Additionally, following a specific cooperation model, such as a dedicated team, time and material, or fixed price, will make the services better for both you and your vendor. Before you set a budget, you need to analyze companies that offer clear communication platforms and control over the project. Ask vendors for their quotes so you have a clear idea of what they charge for scheduled reporting throughout the project. Poor communication can lead to delays and errors, which can cost your company more in the long run.

5. Examining Several Payment Models for Outsourcing

Choosing a payment model will help you consider all factors and apply them to a specific payment plan to calculate your budgeting needs. 

Additionally, you can select either a fixed-fee pricing model or a per-hour pricing model. The model you choose will depend on the type of services you require and the contracted period. For example, a short-term plan can be based on a monthly flat-rate plan. In contrast, a long-term plan could follow the time and material pricing strategy. It’s best to discuss this with your vendor and find the most suitable payment model for a specific project.

6. Short-Term vs Long-Term Contracts

Depending on the extent of the work and the services you require, you will need to determine whether the company requires a long-term or short-term plan. This will help you greatly in managing expenses and setting a budget according to your needs.

A short-term plan typically covers portions of a service or a smaller project, while the long-term plan will cover all aspects of a service or department and typically include relatively bigger projects. It would also be worth evaluating whether carrying out these operations in-house can be completed within the specified budget, thereby offering better value for money.

Determining whether your goals are short or long-term will help you communicate with the vendors clearly and precisely. You will also be able to set a budget according to pricing models and the length of the project before work begins.

An In-depth Look at C++ vs. Java

Countless articles compare C++ and Java’s technical features, but which differences are most important to consider? When a comparison shows, for example, that Java doesn’t support multiple inheritances and C++ does, what does that mean? And is it a good thing? Some argue that this is an advantage of Java, while others declare it a problem.

Let’s explore the situations in which developers should choose C++, Java, or another language altogether—and, even more importantly, why the decision matters.

Examining the Basics: Language Builds and Ecosystems

C++ launched in 1985 as a front end to C compilers, similar to how TypeScript compiles to JavaScript. Modern C++ compilers typically compile to native machine code. Though some claim C++’s compilers reduce its portability, and they do necessitate rebuilds for new target architectures, C++ code runs on almost every processor platform.

First released in 1995, Java doesn’t build directly to native code. Instead, Java builds bytecode, an intermediate binary representation that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). In other words, the Java compiler’s output needs a platform-specific native executable to run.

Both C++ and Java fall into the family of C-like languages, as they generally resemble C in their syntax. The most significant difference is their ecosystems: While C++ can seamlessly call into libraries based on C or C++ or the API of an operating system, Java is best suited for Java-based libraries. You can access C libraries in Java using the Java Native Interface (JNI) API, but it is error-prone and requires some C or C++ code. C++ also interacts with hardware more easily than Java, as C++ is a lower-level language.

Detailed Trade-offs: Generics, Memory, and More

We can compare C++ to Java from many perspectives. In some cases, the decision between C++ and Java is clear. Native Android applications should typically use Java unless the app is a game. Most game developers should opt for C++ or another language for the smoothest possible real-time animation; Java’s memory management often causes lag during gameplay.

Cross-platform applications that aren’t games are beyond the scope of this discussion. Neither C++ nor Java are ideal in this case because they’re too verbose for efficient GUI development. For high-performance apps, it’s best to create C++ modules to do the heavy lifting and use a more developer-productive language for the GUI.