The software development industry is broken. It is notorious for low-ball bids, cost overruns, and fluffy proposals. According to a Standish Chaos Report, 58% of software projects fail to achieve project objectives, 65% will overrun budgets and timelines, 52.7% will cost 189% of their original estimates, and 19% of software projects are canceled before they are complete. This is appalling.
Because software development projects are rife with risk, speaking to a team of objective software professionals before you start is not only responsible but also wise. Trust me – it’s well worth your time and patience to ensure you get exactly what you need. This doesn’t just mean software but also the right team and people.
So, what is Pre-Project Consulting? Consulting can be a scary word because it sounds like an expensive and time-grueling task. And most times it is. However, we believe every software project deserves a probing, professional evaluation before any work begins, which is why every initial consultation with us is free.
Our Pre-Project Consulting process is broken down into 3 steps:
- Discovery Call – a 60-minute phone call with a software development expert at Frogslayer to discuss needs and assess if there is a mutual fit.
- Deep Dive – a 90-minute initial phone call, followed by a series of phone calls/meetings to meet the stakeholders, discuss challenges & opportunities, and understand how you define success.
- Opportunity Assessment – a decision will be made about the next steps and a proposal will be sent over that breaks down goals, objectives, high-level scope, and cost.
Discovery Call: Understanding Your Business Needs
First off, we’re not salespeople. We’re software consulting professionals with years of real-world project experience designing, developing, and launching software products. Our upfront approach is highly consultative and geared towards you and us getting to know each other. We ask questions and listen to you tell your story and vision. We’re not here to sell you a product; we’re here to help you build what you need.
Our initial goals include:
- Learning about you – your background, role at your company, role on the project
- Discovering your challenges – what’s the big problem you’re trying to solve? How is it being solved today?
- Finding out why – why did you contact Frogslayer and why do you think we might be a good fit for their project? Is there something on our website that caught your attention?
During the conversation, we’ll help you determine if custom software is your best option. In some cases, the solutions people need don’t require a high level of skill like the Frogslayer team offers. In that case, we’ll help you understand what your other options might be. However, if you do need custom software, we’ll schedule a second call with our solutions consulting team to help you understand your technical demands and Frogslayer’s capabilities.
Related Article: Considering Custom Software? Here’s What You Need To Know.
Deep Dive: Real-Time Feedback
Next, we’ll dig into the specific challenges you’re facing, share our experiences and brainstorm potential alternatives during our second phone call.
It may be obvious that because we’re a company of technical professionals, we understand technology and technology trends. But because we work on a wide variety of projects with companies of all sizes and across different industries, we also have a good grasp on the business side of technology. We know what business models are working in the market, what’s not, and how you can make your idea better. We’re not shy about sharing our experiences and thoughts.
The goals of this call include:
- Discovering your vision – do you already have a solution in mind? What does it look like?
- Defining success – what’s the business objective? How will your success be measured?
- Setting your budget and timeline – it’s important to have an idea of how big or small we should solve initially
After the call, we’ll discuss your project internally with others on our team, which may lead to subsequent phone calls/meetings with your team. Discussing internally with our team will allow us to bring back potential solutions that maybe we didn’t discuss earlier for you to consider.
Opportunity Assessment: Deciding the Best Path
Once we understand your project and your business needs, we’ll discuss options for the next steps, which could be a Validation, Design, & Planning (VDP) engagement, a System Evaluation, or a hybrid approach of the two.
- The VDP prepares a project plan outlining our analysis, approach, design, cost, and schedule. This project plan will serve as the development team’s blueprint and include a budget and schedule estimate. If you are developing a new software product, this is typically the next step in the process before software development begins.
- The System Evaluation provides an independent, objective, and rigorous evaluation of your software assets’ health and adaptability to your evolving business needs. If you have a project already in flight, this may be the next step before software development begins.
After discussing which path would be best for your project, we will send over a Statement of Work that provides a higher level of granularity on our approach, timelines, milestones, and deliverables.
Software development can be risky, but it doesn’t have to be. The Pre-Project Consulting process may seem lengthy and rigorous; however, it’s vital to get the plan for your project right up front before you spend more than you need and end up with nothing of value. If you’re struggling with where to start with your software project, reach out to us, and we can help walk you through everything. After all, this is the most critical time in the life of your project.