January 10, 2022

Why we don't do maintenance packages anymore

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One of the biggest epiphanies that happened in our business, was rewriting the narrative around what we really do as a company.

Are we a company that just delivers products, or are we a company that also delivers experiences?

Traditional tech companies do deliver products with a lower value on experiences. We wanted to challenge what really defines a tech company, focussing not only on delivering exceptional products but a stand-out experience too.

While we have been making our own way in the world, we have become aware of industry practices that were expected of companies operating within this space.

One, in particular, is a buzzword that was adopted within the tech industry, ‘Maintenance Packages.’

In the early days, we did Maintenance Packages. They had three levels of service. The first two were cookie-cutter, one size fits all style. The final level was custom.

As we have gone on, we have phased out the first two levels and now only offer one tier of service. We call it Custom Evolution, and here is why.

The very nature of app development is not routine

Here is the dictionary definition, “A maintenance package covers routine servicing and maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer.”

Maintenance suggests that the product is like a car. It has a set amount of features that don’t change. Gas tank, steering wheel, four wheels, a chassis. Sure you might chuck a spoiler on it, but the fundamentals do not differ between a Toyota Corolla to a Porsche Cayenne.

Software is different. Software is like a pokemon, it needs to be evolved. It cannot stay in the first release position forever.

Once a product is live, you will start getting real user feedback from people engaging with the product.

They will want things, they may even see the product in a way that is different from how you originally intended. For the owner of the product, this can be both daunting and exciting at the same time.

You can evolve the product by responding to user feedback by releasing new features and making tweaks to the product’s original structure based on user experience.

Or you can choose not to evolve the product and focus more on acquiring new users through to the app.

The different stages of app development

The thing about app development is it doesn’t have an end date. To continue earning revenue from a product, you need to continue investing in features and bug fixes to improve the users experience.

First Version

The first version includes the core features of the app. The scope is often extremely refined, but the core app functions exceptionally well. Minor bugs are present that will likely emerge through real-life user testing.

Second Version

The second version has resolved any minor bugs that were present in the first release version. The addition of minor features are implemented here, or feature creep that improve the existing features.

Third Version

The third version has resolved any minor bugs that were present in the second release version. There may be a major new feature addition here and improvements on existing features.

Different version releases will demand different resources. If you are releasing an entirely new feature all together, you may want design, front end, backend and testing. If you are just making improvements to existing features, you may only require front end and testing.

If you are aggressively releasing features you may need your app team to offer the same level of support as when they were developing the first version of the product.

If you have a very refined scope and are not looking to add new features, you may only want your app team to support you on improving the current feature set.

What I am trying to say is that every product is unique. The goals, the vision and the audience are individually motivated.

And this is where the ‘Maintenance Package’ model just doesn’t work anymore.

A software product is never done, it is a living, breathing thing. It needs to be improved upon and evolved in order to stay competitive and relevant. New technologies emerge, Apple changes it’s development rules, Google releases a new product that is better than the current plugin you have on your app. Unfortunately, just ‘maintaining’ the current feature set is not enough.

Scale up and scale down

The ‘Scale up/ Scale Down’ model that we have created is in itself an evolution on the app ‘Maintenance Package.’

We have a weekly rate per person and depending on how much attention your project needs we can assign more or less of the right people towards your project. We just need a month’s notice.

It’s that easy.

Moonward Brisbane

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