Modification date: October 8, 2020

The Client’s Role in Custom Software Development

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Syberry
The Client’s Role in Custom Software Development

When a client hires a contract software development company to design and build custom software, the business is making a strong strategic choice to let the experts take over the heavy lifting of application development, but that doesn’t mean the client is off the hook altogether. The client’s input and participation are a crucial part of the process. After all, without direction from the client, the developers don’t know what to build. Each hour the engineers spend building must be in service of developing the software according to the client’s wishes, so the client’s team must be able and willing to make requirements as clear, comprehensive, consistent, prioritized, modifiable, and as correct as possible.

The client’s participation and input will reduce the possibility of confusion and the need for redoing work that doesn’t match the vision, ultimately optimizing the app development cost and speeding the time to deployment.

At Syberry, we know it isn’t always easy for our clients to articulate what they need right off the bat, so we use an agile approach to custom software development that makes it easy to ensure everyone is on the same page and that, if the project does get off track, it’s relatively easy to course correct. And it starts with gathering requirements.

Requirements Gathering Process for Software Development Services

We use a multitude of methods to gather requirements from our clients, which starts with exploring the idea of the future application, comparing it to the competition solutions, exploring the existing documentation, such as a project’s outline or specifications that the customer may have. We use the expertise that we gained while creating similar projects or industry-specific experience, which help us to determine the right path in designing the "blueprint" of the application.

We want to know as much as we can about our clients and their objectives so we can help them create the software that not only solves their most pressing problems but makes their businesses run better, too. This process requires heavy involvement from our clients, but the upfront time investment leads to a more efficient software development process overall.

As a software development firm, we can contribute much value in the future project, when it comes to functionality, splitting a solution into specific releases that would reduce the time-to-market value, suggest eliminating certain features for the sake of leaner yet more cost-effective application. However, we cannot invent the product and therefore act in the role of a product owner, nor can we determine the main direction where the application should evolve to fulfill its objectives.

The role of a product owner, which is typically a thing of major importance, is usually assigned to the client. We use a system of close collaboration between our engineering team and the customer’s team to discuss all critical steps of creating an application.

The foundation of any software application is the detailed and correct specification that is usually created before any software development. It is where our business analysis team and the customer will work together to define each use-case of the application, making it ready for development and implementation by the engineers.

Suppose, for example, that we are dealing with a private university transitioning from on-campus classes to online classes as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. It is a typical request now, as many organizations transform their operations into an online format, and one of the first in line are those companies that are related to education.

We determine how the process of courses was organized before being transferred into the online form. It helps us to determine the routine, such as the number of groups and students, a way of the enrollment, set of subjects and types of interaction with the teacher, forms of control, and its criteria. Based on the university’s responses to these questions, we would start to understand their needs, and we would be able to start asking more specific questions and conducting analyses to guide us in designing and building the custom learning management system (LMS) that will meet their education goals yet keeping the system open for future expanding.

Next, we want to know which specific features the university needs and how many students they expect to be enrolled in courses during the specific term, and anything else that will dictate the functionality or parameters of the program.

Throughout the process, we ask the university to frame their needs in terms of so-called SMART requirements — requirements that are specific, measurable, advantageous, realistic, and testable — to help ensure our team and theirs are in agreement on goals, success metrics, and timelines.

Types of Features

What are we looking for as we work to nail down the requirements? There are two main types of requirements as far as a custom software development company is concerned: nonfunctional and functional. Functional requirements are the features and functions that the user can see in the final product. They create the core functionality of the product, and they include operations users perform with the expectation of a specific output. Nonfunctional requirements are the qualities users don’t necessarily see but that the client needs the product to have. These may include security, reliability, performance, flexibility, reusability, scalability, low cost, storage, accessibility, and so on. In the case of healthcare custom software, HIPAA compliance dictates specific rules of information security, user rights differentiation, and quick records retrieval would be among the essential qualities.

Because most clients are bound by cost and the speed at which they would like to get the product up and running, requirements are typically prioritized into four categories:

  • "Must have" requirements are those that the product cannot operate without,
  • "Should haves" are preferable features that expand its functions and are subject to debate among the client’s management,
  • "Could haves" are of less importance, good-to-have additions,
  • "Wish list" requirements would be fun or innovative additions, but they are unrelated to the product’s core objective.

While a business might expect to hire a custom software developer and then sit back and wait until the application of their dreams is up and running, the reality is that designing and developing custom software to bring a client’s vision to life is a highly collaborative process. Without direction from the clients, the software developers are flying blind, and it’s highly unlikely the resulting product will be exactly what the client wants. It’s to nobody’s benefit when the client is unhappy, and the work has to be redone. But when the client’s team is available and engaged throughout the project — especially during the requirement gathering phase, the process is much more likely to go smoothly, with a resulting product to be the one that the client wanted.

Publication date: June 8, 2020

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What our customers say about us

Syberry has provided satisfactory services thus far, and they are very responsive to any issues that arise. The team also possesses strong communication skills. They delivered a functional piece of software at a reasonable price, and they've managed the project very well.

Richard Harkness

CEO, ADEPT Driver

Elk Grove, CA

How we help ADEPT Driver Company

We developed a web-based driving simulator for teens and another for adults. The products run on Chromebooks, and the team added features that enable them to measure a driver's ability to avoid a crash.

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I don't think you could find a better company to manage and build your project. I get so many compliments on my application, and it has a lot of unique and complex development.

Todd Surber

CEO, PIXRIT

Charleston, South Carolina

How we help PIXRIT Company

A photographer approached us to build a web-based software platform that combines the fastest social media manager with state-of-the-art galleries and provides the ultimate tool for photographers to upload, store, back up, and share their photos and manage their SMM activities.

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The user-friendly software hasn’t encountered any issues or bugs in more than three years. It’s high quality has helped grow the clientele. Straightforward and consistent in communication, Syberry met every deadline and ensured a hassle-free development process.

Vince Hughes

Owner, Steel Estimating Solutions

Knoxville, TN

How we help Steel Estimating Solutions Company

Our client was inspired to create a product that helps steel erection companies perform faster, more efficient estimations and bids. We developed original proprietary software from the initial concept.

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The new platform received positive feedback and performs better than its predecessor. Syberry communicated the project’s progress to their partners well by breaking down their steps and utilizing a management system. Most importantly, they delivered world-class service for a cost-efficient price.

Bill Fahy

Owner, FDI Creative Services

Houston, TX

How we help FDI Creative Services Company

Following strict regulations and requirements, we used AWS to develop a custom e-commerce web app that includes shipping integration. Since the site’s launch, the team has continued to make updates.

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The application was delivered on time and within budget. Syberry explained their process thoroughly and accommodated to scope changes effortlessly. Their stellar project management, highly responsive communication, and proactive attitude set them apart.

Ricardo Casas

CEO, Fahrenheit Marketing

Austin, TX

How we help Fahrenheit Marketing Company

We developed a large, complex .NET application with various third-party integrations. The team built the software from scratch based on existing wireframes.

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The end solution exceeded the client’s expectations. Syberry delivered high-quality products on time and at outstanding value. They provided frequent updates and repeatedly sought feedback at each stage. Customers can expect a highly experienced team that easily translates concepts into solutions.

Rudy Milkovic

Executive Director, Velicom

Austin, TX

How we help Velicom Company

Our team built video streaming software as a web and desktop app for a third-party client. We completed end-to-end development—from scoping to feedback cycles to QA—using PHP and Wowza Streaming Engine.

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Syberry has successfully improved the frontend performance of the platform and continues to make thoughtful suggestions for enhancements. They have proven to be communicative and reliable, mitigating the common concerns of outsourced teams. Syberry remains mindful of business goals and client needs.

Cory Kowal

VP of Products, THG Energy Solutions

Tulsa, OK

How we help THG Energy Solutions Company

Taking over for another vendor, we served as the ongoing software engineering partner for an energy company’s cloud-based platform. The company provided scoping, development, testing, and deployment services.

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The added team members sufficiently fulfilled the needs of the project. The product was successfully launched and has received positive feedback. Syberry continues to be a supportive partner in development. They provide an impressive team and their expertise fosters a smooth collaboration.

Chris Cox

CTO, MyMelo

Louisville, Kentucky

How we help MyMelo Company

We provided staff augmentation resources for a development project. The team contributed engineers to follow an established roadmap to perform updates and add features.

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Syberry delivered a solid website that has become a database of close to 40 organizations. The team worked quickly and efficiently to get the website up and running, and they continue to invest their time into the project. Additionally, they have been a communicative partner.

David Snyder

Product Director, Covid Resource Network

West Orange, New Jersey

How we help Covid Resource Network Company

The company developed a website that serves as a database where organizations can find and donate to other organizations. Currently, the team is working on enhancing the website and fixing bugs.

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When the system is up and running, it will save time for the internal team. Syberry was a patient partner, and they performed well throughout the collaboration.

Joyce Cubio

VP of Operations, Ernie's Mobile Home Transport

Yuba, California

How we help Ernie's Mobile Home Transport Company

The team built an information hub for a mobile home transport and permit service. After discussing the existing system and processes, we delivered a new structure for forms and data.

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All deliverables have exceeded expectations and function properly once launched. The Syberry team is skilled in juggling multiple projects, and provide strong expertise in software development. Their dedication to the project has fostered continual success in the engagement.

John Fox

Executive VP, Fox Business Automation Solutions

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How we help Fox Business Automation Solutions Company

Brought on as a third party, we supplied ongoing development services. The team work on multiple projects and deliver according to predetermined design specifications.

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Contact us to learn more about how Syberry can help your business achieve its every goal!

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