There are great benefits to both - but they have their place.
Managing any bespoke software development project is, of course, about delivering what the client wants. Behind all great business systems, software and app development successes are months of planning, decision making and exemplary execution. But more specifically in bespoke software development there is a two fold process: design and development. By designing first you establish how the product will work and what the product will look and feel like. The outcome is a clear objective to undergo the second phase, the build.
Development is building substance. It’s creating the logic that delivers on the designs. A project is best served if you know the blueprint before you build.
Without design you have a product but you don’t have purpose. Without development you have an idea but no product. These two processes are bespoke software development are reliant on one enough for delivery but they are different.
So here’s the controversial point.
Project management methodologies are not one size fits all. They have their advantages and their disadvantages. And because they are all different and because design and development are different we need to play them to our advantage.
Agile for Design
AppDrawn has long championed the Agile development method, where it fits. This is a flexible approach that focuses on the most current needs. Evaluation and feedback are ongoing throughout a project, offering flexibility and ensuring the end result is a bespoke platform tailored to the needs of the client. It is the perfect process for designers and clients to go on that journey of product creation to reach the desired outcome.
However, like any approach to project management, it does have its drawbacks. Again, the most successful app development projects put the client rather than the technology at the fore. So, we combine the Agile model for platform design with a more traditional approach – the Waterfall model – which offers the kind of structure and robust organisation that a development build needs to deliver a fixed objective on time and on budget.
Waterfall for Development
Once the design stage is complete we will know what the product will look like but also how it will work. We use the Waterfall model to take the build phase across the finish line having gained the clear detailed components of the product to execute the project. The linear structure of Waterfall development features distinct stages, each of which is accomplished before moving onto the next. The progression of the project is mapped out in advance. This approach is helpful for complex projects that involve the creation and management of multiple moving parts.
At AppDrawn, we work with a range of clients, including many small businesses and start-ups keen to digitalise their customer experience or improve business systems and operations. Building rapport and trust is crucial – perhaps even more so with those companies embarking on their first platform build.
Our methodology: the benefits
1. Client communication: Clients are closely involved in any project from the design phase where we use the Agile methodology to create a constant dialogue between the agency and their client. This continues through to the build phase where, what has been set out in phase one, is executed on time and on budget - exactly as the client has agreed.
2. Quality refinement: As the project progresses our team are constantly refining the project to perfection. With the software development created in iterations, it enables the development and prototype testing of a software block to be conducted and completed with minimal risk to the overall success of the software solution. This can even continue in the development phase but with a very contained overall risk.
3. Cadenced delivery: Our choice of method always comes back to delivery. Our mission statement is fundamentally that we want to actually deliver as agreed with the client. If you don’t do these approaches, you don’t deliver. In the bespoke software development industry there is too much uncertainty and risk to a client to sideline your process to a methodology that doesn't reach that goal.
Our high project success rates are a part of this combined method approach and – because they enable a bespoke approach to software development – they’re the reason clients’ business objectives are met or exceeded with the end result.
If you’re looking to embark on a bespoke software development project but you’re not sure which approach to take, we’d always bring together the best of both worlds. Why not get in touch to find out more about our unique approach to software development and, no matter the technology or methodology, we’ll keep your business and its goals firmly at the centre.