Software development within SMEs and Enterprise organisations is different. High-pressure KPIs, Senior Management setting rigid deadlines, CFOs watching every penny and CTOs asking for more time and resources.
As a CEO of a 100% in-house Australian Software Agency, I’ve spent my career engaging and discussing these challenges with local, national and international businesses. Over the years, I have analysed the key contributors that lead to successful and unsuccessful software projects. I’ve spent time on the ground with these companies, picked up the pieces from failed projects and overseen the development of hundreds of bespoke software solutions.
The purpose of this blog is to share with you my perspectives on why we see so many software projects end up late, over budget and underperforming, and how a 100% in-house software development agency could be the solution.
Not all Software Agencies are built the same. In this blog I’m referring to 100% in-house, 100% Australian-based, qualified tech experts, all under one roof.
Why do you ask?
Software development is hard, it’s complex!! In my opinion, one of the leading contributors to unsuccessful software products is a lack of accountability! Having a team who is 100% onshore is crucial in setting accountability and maintaining standards.
Alright, let’s jump in!
Let’s be clear, businesses want the best possible solution in the shortest timeframe and at the lowest cost - it’s basic economics but a principle that is commonly misinterpreted when it comes to software development. It’s very normal for a business to map out a brand new shiny software project, allocate their in-house development team and begin on the exciting development adventure…Only to realise 3 days into the project that these developers have 3 other internal projects and ongoing maintenance responsibilities.
One of the fundamental factors contributing to efficiency and quality during software development is: focus. As the saying goes, you can’t ride two horses with one ass. It’s the same when it comes to software development. How can you expect your internal development team to deliver high-quality, on-time, efficient work when they have 3 other projects, support tickets, client meetings, performance reviews and bugs hitting their desk every day… This is where agencies such as Moonward are set up to offer 100% dedicated, highly trained, in-house developers with the sole focus of just working on your project.
And I get it, it costs to hire an agency…but time is money, right?
By leveraging an established agency you’re instantly bypassing the bottlenecks of hiring, wages, superannuation, training, existing workload and taxes. As we put it here at Moonward, your speed between concept to code is cut by at least half.
We build software because we want to innovate, automate, streamline and grow, right?
However, so many businesses get stuck in the cycle of doing the same thing over and over again. I’ve even seen it where businesses build their own bespoke software product but it looks, feels and functions the exact same as its predecessor… Why? Humans are wired to avoid and dislike change, it’s in our DNA. And we find that this is multiplied when you add the baggage of historical and environmental events. By way of example, if you ask your employees to redesign one of your existing software products, they're most likely going to refer to your existing software as the base while referring back to all the comments the CEO, CFO, Marketing Manager, Receptionist and Clients have previously made… all of which drastically impact the ability for your team to truly innovate, explore and improve.
By removing these specific barriers you then become much clearer in your thoughts. Just think about the last time you had a groundbreaking idea. Chances are it didn’t happen in the office. It probably happened when you were walking the dog, in the shower or driving the car, all activities that clear the mind of the environmental baggage carried at work.
Just think, we’ve all seen the brand new employee that is able to solve problems and deliver efficiency not seen by existing team members. This is the exact reason that we ask our clients if they are open to innovation. Because our team is able to see beyond the mental scares, the historic comments, and the client feedback. We’re able to dive deep into the core of the issue and then explore for innovation, opportunities and possibilities.
Whenever you’re starting a new project there is always a level of risk involved. Whether you’re investing a large budget, hiring new team members, committing to rigid timeframes or accepting management KPIs. The question I ask, is how can you lower this risk? How can you maximise your chances of success and not find yourself in the growing graveyard of failed software projects?
Engaging a software agency shouldn’t feel like a life-or-death decision. It’s an agency's responsibility to offer results at a lower risk and lower commitment than it would be to find and hire internal resources. Heck, why not run a trial with an agency or get them working on a smaller project so you can get an understanding of their skills, capabilities and level of services?
So you’re somewhat open to working with an agency, but still want to keep some control?
In order to have an agency working on your projects, there needs to be very open and transparent communication. That’s why there are a number of ways to approach project collaboration and project management. We’ve seen some of our clients dedicate a small number of their resources to work alongside our development team or simply allocate a project manager to work from a macro project level. Or more commonly, businesses hand over all development responsibilities to our internal team and rely on our ongoing collaboration and communication to track project progress. Whatever way you cut the allocation pie, one thing is key: collaboration.
It’s a common misunderstanding that businesses lose control when they engage an agency. However, I believe businesses increase their accountability level when an agency works with them. For many agencies, word of mouth is gold and maximising client success is by far the easiest way of increasing their future growth.
If you’re conscious of IP, ownership and deliverables. Simply get the incoming agency to work in your environment. By this I mean your development set-up (Code repositories, Cloud platforms and communication tools) but if you don’t have time to set this up, agencies like Moonward have a plethora of tools on hand and roll them out in a matter of hours.
As you can see, there are many different ways a dedicated 100% in-house agency can assist SMEs and Enterprise organisations with future software projects, but they ultimately all boil down to just a few key takeaways.
Accountability, Collaboration and Communication are everything. Be open to change but be sure to explore an agency that cares for quality, client results and their own reputation.
If you have any questions about the steps I’ve outlined above, I’ll be happy to jump on a call. Feel free to click here to reach out and we can chat more!
At Moonward, we assist our business clients by evaluating their challenges and identifying possible solutions.
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