Tutorial: 10 steps to Custom Software Application

You should consider custom application when all options for off-the-shelf applications are exhausted and at the end they do not satisfy what you incline to accomplish.  Typically custom applications mold to your business processes and does exactly or gets close to your desired outcome.  Cost wise, you would be surprised how economical it may still get for your custom application.  Here are the steps that are usually taken to develop a custom application: 

 Development Cycle (Concept to Production):
  1. Gather your thoughts for all the components about your business. Invite the business experts to your meetings regarding but not limited to the following:                  
    • Marketing & Lead Management
    • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
    • After Sale Operational Process
    • Integration to your Financial System
    • Reports, Matrices, Measurements of your components
  2. Express your idea to an experienced business software app strategist
  3. Have your business software strategist take good notes and have him present you with flow-charts and mock-ups of each screen and reports
  4. Figure out a time-line and determine what features and reports are the most important for your starting point
  5. Distinguish bare essentials vs nice-to-have features and focus on the bare essentials
  6. Have your software developer show you periodic progress throughout the development cycle
  7. When you get to the testing phases of your desired features ensure you thoroughly test everything
  8. Perform rigorous testing on your application (typically 1-2 weeks) 
  9. Ensure all bugs are fixed during your development cycle and be excited to deploy your application to production
  10. Success of your custom software will only be realized if yourself and your staff use it. So ensure you train yourself and the employees on the use of the application day-to-day



It is important that after you sit with your software strategist initially you hold a tight feature-by-feature budget and an over all budget for deployment and training.  It is also important to determine a budget for maintenance for your custom application.  It is highly recommended that you get into a monthly contract with your software developer.  It can be a fixed budget for unlimited hours or a discounted rate for a preset bulk hours. 


 Feature Creeps:

It is very natural that you won't have all the i's dotted and t's crossed during your thought process regarding the application.  More often than not you will find yourself adding new or change features during the development cycle.  These changes are called "Feature Creeps".  Feature Creeps can be costly as well as time consuming.  Although inevitable, it is important that you minimize these feature creeps.  It is best to spend a lot of time during mock-up (UI/UX: User Interface / User Experience) process to determine the final outcome before the programmer hits the first key-stroke for your application.