Don’t let your custom software wither and die. Continue to feed it with new thoughts and new ideas.
“When will my application be done?”
This question plagues both stakeholders and custom software developers alike because it is such a loaded question. When an application is considered complete varies based on an incredible number of factors. These include things like:
- The amount of detail put into creating the original scope of work
- Changes to the requirements after development has begun
- Market conditions (like pandemics) that may change the course of the business
- Availability of resources
- “Unknown unknowns”
However, in the modern software development age, it’s important to take a different approach to development.
Change the Perceived Relationship Between You and Your Application
As a ColdFusion developer, I encourage people with a project idea to consider, allow, and even accept “never” as the answer to the question: When will my application be done? Your business idea and its software are two different things that exist in a symbiotic relationship. Your business relies on software to help it run quickly, efficiently, and professionally. Your software is nothing without the business driving it. Right now, you may have a pre-conceived notion of a relationship between those two things; a perception of how your software relates to your business and an idea that “the software needs to do this, and that’s all.” This gives some stakeholders the perception that there is a hard “finish line” to the development of their software.
Consider this: Have you ever asked yourself, “when will I know everything?” Or at the very least, “When will I know everything I need to know?” You probably haven’t, or if you have, you may learn something new, or find a better way to do things, or pick up a new skill. We are all wired to desire to be better, to perform better, and to improve ourselves. It’s part of human nature and it’s a practice that should be applied to your development!
Web Application Development is ORGANIC
Software is a living, growing thing. It needs to be nurtured and tended to. Once you stop paying attention to your application, and declare it “done” is the moment your application starts to wither and die. Your software needs to be nourished with brainpower, thoughts, and new ideas.
How Do I Change this Perception?
There are several suggestions on how to change the perception of the relationship between your business and its custom software.
- Taking a reprieve from development is fine, but continuous focus and reevaluation is important. Accept the fact that much like the rest of your business, it needs to grow, change, be maintained, and adapt to the needs of the business.
- Ask others for ideas on how the system can be improved. Especially talk to your super-users. The ones who use and rely on the system on a day-to-day basis. Super-users typically have several different nuggets of wisdom that can be applied to making your software more efficient.
- Have regular website meetings to discuss the application, its use, and come up with ideas on how to improve the business through the use of technology.
- If all else fails, hire a managed development service. Look for a development company to partner with; not just one that sees your application as a project, but one who invests in the success of the software as a critical business tool.
Once you start to change the perception of the relationship between your business and its custom software, the investment in growing your application in tandem with growing your business becomes clear.