Tips for Software Development on a Budget

A Big Lift

Developing professional grade software isn’t an easy or cheap task. Anyone who’s ever  managed a development team can tell you the difficulties of trying to keep a project under-budget while still meeting customer expectations. In fact, the average development project has a budget overrun of 66% and a schedule overrun of 33%. The most in-demand development firms are the ones who not only deliver a great product, but also consistently stay within project guidelines. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips to help your team plan and manage your next development project on a budget.

Set Expectations

When you set out to build an app for your business, laying out the initial expectations of what you want and need from the app is crucial. Clear guidelines and regular communication with the development team will help to ensure you receive the product you need while limiting any scope creep. Meticulously plan and document everything, including:

  • Code Release-Be sure to thoroughly document and share your code release process.

  • Sprint Schedule-Lay out exactly what features you’ll need from Sprints, and plan out a mutually agreed upon schedule.

  • Spike When Necessary-Be sure to allot time and resources for Spikes.

  • Regular Meetings-The development team should meet regularly (even daily) to share updates on progress or communicate issues that need resolving.

  • Progress Demonstrations-Your development team should meet at regular intervals so they can demonstrate any modules or features they have completed.

  • Track any Changes in Code-Track and highlight any changes in your code. This makes it much easier to identify and fix any errors that arise.

  • Pair Programming-Having developers collaborate together on a project brings in fresh perspectives and makes catching errors easier.

  • Test Thoroughly-Thoroughly unit test frameworks and run acceptance tests before release.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

While all apps are different, there are often similarities between them. Snippets of code that perform specific functions can frequently be reused across many different apps if needed. Code libraries exist for a reason. What’s the point in paying developers for hours and hours of unnecessary work when they could just grab the component from a repository like GitHub? It is inevitable that parts of your app will have to be built by hand, but reusing code is an easy way to save time and minimize expenses.

Develop in Iterations

Budget overruns frequently happen due to the introduction of changes on a virtually complete product. Circling back to add any new features or changes is extremely time consuming and expensive. To avoid this, develop the app in iterations. Get specific features approved and tackle them one at a time. This will help to shield you from cost overruns as adjusting small pieces of an app is much easier than sifting through huge portions of code.

Test Early and Frequently

Testing should start as early as possible in your software development lifecycle (SDLC). Doing so will help detect any errors in the early stages of SDLC such as requirement gathering and design phases. Testing proactively will reduce the number of defects which in turn saves time and money spent fixing errors down the road. This is a great way to catch critical issues before they compound into bigger problems later in development.

Outsource When Needed

If the app you need to build utilizes a technology or feature your team is unfamiliar with, it might be wise to outsource its development. Price arbitration by outsourcing development to a low-cost location is an extremely common business practice. Even industry titans like Apple and Google frequently offshore projects to development centers in countries like China, Ukraine, and India to save money. 

If you don’t have the budget to hire an offshore team, you might consider picking up a freelancer to augment your team’s existing capabilities. A single offshore freelancer will be cheaper than commissioning an entire team, allowing you to combine your onshore and offshore resources in order to hit scheduling and budget targets.

Utilize DevOps, Cloud, and AI

Businesses have spent years looking for ways to minimize software development expenses. This, combined with the ever increasing demand for fast time-to-value has given rise to the DevOps methodology, upticks in cloud-based development platforms, and the spread of AI tools that assist in application development. Leveraging these tools can help simplify the dev process, cut costs, and save time.

  • DevOpsDevOps combines cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that enables development teams to create and deliver software apps and services at a rapid pace. Implementing DevOps methodology is a proven way to evolve and improve products at a significantly faster rate than companies traditional software development and infrastructure management processes.

  • CloudOne of the biggest challenges many companies face today is that there are more people, processes, and data to handle than ever before. Businesses are constantly expanding to accommodate more staff and IT resources in order to continue developing systems for engagement, action, insight, and customer experience. By embracing cloud-based infrastructure your company can not only modernize its IT department, but also find new and innovative systems to better serve your customers, employees, and business goals.

  • AIThe software development industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of AI technologies. From AI-based programming assistants to code compilers, automated software testers, planning and cost estimators, and strategic decision making tools, artificial intelligence is a great way to not only transform your SDLC, but also cut costs and save money.

Kassidy Jezierski Blog Image

Kassidy Jezierski is the Operations Lead at Lithios. She works to clearly communicate the capabilities and optimal engagement opportunities between Lithios and its clients. In her free time, she enjoys finger-painting pictures of lambs and docile sheep.

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