Custom software is made by hand, by one or more people who poses a wide variety of expertise and knowledge about software architecture, creative design, usability, security, performance, data management, compliance, coding, reporting, project management and testing. Because of this, software projects often take months to deliver.

If you are looking to speed up your development time, the following are a few avenues to consider. Each project is unique. Not all of these options will work for all types of projects.

The essence of each approach is leveraging what has been done before, not reinventing the wheel, and focusing your efforts on what is unique about your application.

If you are not sure if a particular strategy will work for you and your project, contact us and ask. We have helped clients use all of these strategies in delivering their software needs.

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Configure or Customize an Existing Product

One of the initial steps in building custom software is evaluating if you should build or buy. To make this decision, you first need to assess and itemize the requirements for your software and identify which are must have and which are nice to have.

Next, you need to look at any existing products in the marketplace and see if they are a good match for your requirements. If it is a close match, see if the product can be customized or extended to meet your needs. You can ask the product company the following questions:

  • How long does it take to install and configure the product out of the box?
  • What can be customized or configured with the product?
  • What are the costs and typical timeframes of customizations?
  • Do you offer assistance with customization or do you have partners that you recommend?

When considering a product, you will need to look at any one-time upfront costs as well as any on-going fees or support contracts to calculate the total cost of ownership, assuming that both the cost and the timeline are important to you.

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Leverage Existing Platforms

There are plenty of platforms available today that serves as a great starting point for your web or mobile application. Some are Content Management Systems or eCommerce systems that you can use as the starting point for getting your website up and running quickly. Here are just a few examples:

Here are just a few examples:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Salesforce
  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • WooCommerce

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Try a Rapid Application Development Product

Rapid Application Development products come in all shapes and sizes. Some let you develop web and/or mobile apps using an online tool with little to no code and a drag and drop approach. Others are more of a framework that gives your development team the tools they need to quickly create your applications.

The payment structure is different by product. Some offer a free version of their product while others have a monthly on-going fee for using the applications you created.

When looking at Rapid Application Development products, consider what is easy for the product to achieve vs. what is hard. Not all platforms can accomplish all things that you would like your web or mobile app to do.  If the product can accomplish 60% of your requirements very quickly but has a challenge or significant effort/cost on rounding out the additional 40%, then it may not be the right product for you.

Below are a few examples of Rapid Application Development products.

  • Alpha Software
  • Telerik
  • Xamarin
  • OutSystems
  • AppCelerator
  • AppGyver
  • AppPress
  • Each Scape

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Utilize 3rd Party Components and Code Libraries

If you need a customized solution and don’t think a platform or Rapid Application Development product will meet your needs, you can still save time by leveraging the work that others have done who have gone before you.

The community behind software development is large with many individuals and companies packaging and making available the code they have written in components and code libraries.  The benefit of components and code libraries is not spending time on non-essential or repetitive tasks like coding how a grid sorts or the animations of a button click. Components and libraries tend to be focused on meeting a specific need. From displaying graphs, visualizing data, displaying grids, handling menus and navigation, the options are endless.

Components and code libraries tend to be focused on meeting a specific need. From displaying graphs, visualizing data, displaying grids, handling menus and navigation, the options are endless. Because of this, it is best to ask your development team about the components and libraries they recommend for your project, or research what is available based on the requirements of your application.

Conclusion

When it comes down to saving time with software, the key is to not reinvent the wheel. Look at how you can purchase and extend an existing product, leverage a platform, use a rapid application development tool, or create custom code quickly with third party and open source components and code libraries.

If you are not sure if a particular strategy will work for you and your project, contact us and ask. We have helped clients use all of these strategies in delivering their software needs.

The 5 Pillars Of A Successful Software Project

We want to help every software project begin on solid ground. In The 5 Pillars Of A Successful Software Project, we share the five essential ingredients of every software project.

You can grab a copy of the guide below and share it with your team!


Create Your Application With A Successful Foundation