The Data Jungle - Mayday or making hay?

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What is the secret of successful software development

Some of the people who most irritate me are software developers who arrogantly believe their solution is best, often with little or no interaction with end users. My pet peeve are major updates or upgrades to systems I use every day. Often cosmetic rather than practical, they add no business value other than to disrupt my productivity and completely irritate me. Change for change sake is in my view, not making my life easier.

Last week we had the pleasure of gathering requirements from one of our favourite clients. Our newest interns and two developers who had never meet the clients before were quite amazed to hear: That’s why I like you guys – you’re end user driven. Being dinosaurs, we get given this fantastic package [by other vendors], but we have to change everything we do to fit the software. I want to be given a package that suits me. That’s why we like you guys - you work with us to give us stuff we will use.

Where do we start?

We believe one of the fundamental things you should expect of an IT business is to be listened to. At the beginning of every project we insist on learning as much as we can about the client’s current processes, good, bad or ugly. This background information is carefully collected, including any historical background, why things are done a certain way, and who else may be dependent on processes and/or outcomes. Such information is essential to ensure software developed by us is a good fit for existing business processes.

Especially important for us is learning about current pain points, as we aim to eliminate them as early as possible in our iterative development process.  It is also important for us to listen to your wish list of desires, which we will ask you to prioritise these in order of highest business value.

What then?

It’s all very well to listen, but it is vital we act upon the information gathered. Throughout the iterative development process we insist on meeting regularly with our clients. During these sessions we will demonstrate the software developed thus far, and which incorporates ideas and prioritised requirements collected during previous planning sessions. Feedback is gathered, good, bad, and ugly, then developers and clients work together to plan the next stage of incremental development.

Our development method requires a lot of client input, time and commitment. We appreciated not everyone is either able or prepared to do this. However, we make no apologies for this approach, knowing it produces the best outcomes. Having been in the position of product owner, I know working with a great development team such as ours is highly addictive.
Collaborative development not only aligns with our philosophy of making IT work sensibly and with minimal disruptions for our clients, end users are almost always guaranteed to wholeheartedly adopt the software.

If you need someone sensible to work with you to create your optimal software solution, please feel free to contact us on: (08) 9485 0725 or email info@zoodata.com.au

Robyn Hukin, Managing Director