5 App Dev Myths Part 2: Custom Development Projects Take Too Long
There’s a great amount of interest in custom-built applications – and quite a few common misconceptions about them as well. Arraya’s Application Development team has encountered many of these, from concerns about complexity, use cases, and more. During this five-part series, our team will seek to dispel some of the more frequent misunderstandings about custom-built applications in order to shed some light on a sometimes murky process and solution.
Time is often cited as the biggest barrier standing between organizations and custom-built application, one that accomplishes everything they need from it. This leads them to look to out-of-box applications that may only get them 75% of the way to a goal. One of the reasons this myth has persisted is likely a lack of transparency in the app dev process itself.
The reality is that custom IT projects tend to have three parts. These might be split further for project organization, but ultimately it remains these three: planning, development, and delivery.
While it’s easiest to understand that time investment in development will be the largest chunk for nearly all projects, it can be easy to overlook the importance of the planning stage and how greatly it can impact the other two phases. This up-front investment of time is critical to having a clear handle on the components that will follow and that everyone meets expectations along the way. With good planning and management, most smaller development projects can be done in 2-4 total weeks; this may also include days where there is no billed work on a project due to holidays, vacation time, or other issues which prevented work on a day or two.
Obviously larger, more involved projects will consume more time, but a surprising amount can be done relatively quickly. Additionally, as projects are planned on larger scales, so too is the headcount involved to make sure that work is completed by a target date.
As with our consideration of the cost-benefit analysis of custom development, here too, our decision on proceeding with a project or not should be viewed in terms of what’s gained for what is invested. While this isn’t always a clear one for one equation (unlike the financial side from part one), there’s often an equitable case to be made for the benefits.
Let us consider an example where the direct equation would be abstract, but where the benefit over time would be clear and easy to demonstrate. In our example, a company wants to spend a week’s worth of time setting up and training their workers on using OneDrive to consolidate shared documents by department, as a replacement for a series of traditional network drive repositories.
Now, we can all relate to the scenario where we need a form or document and there’s that brief moment of “Is this the latest document?” or “Does this have the revisions from last month?”; followed by the inevitable hunt for who “owns” that document and finding out what you need to know. For the investment of a week of time, in our scenario, we’d be switching our example company over to a system where the “live” version of the document could be edited, approved, and distributed within departments with a constant connection sync. Rob in accounting made a change? No problem, everyone has Rob’s latest version of the expense report now. Sara changed the contract wording? Legal already has the updates on their end.
So we take this time; the time wasted tracking down information about the documents and work already done, and for the investment of that project time, we’re eliminating it (not to mention the frustration and hair pulling by employees – hopefully their own). Now, we’re not saying every project time frame can be justified, just as not every project is feasible for every company. However, there’s often a consideration to be made before we look at a timeline and go “Where am I going to find the time to dedicate time to this?” That consideration is what the long term payout will be and if that payout makes it easier to overlook the initial investment of time.
Want to learn more about Arraya’s Application Development services? Visit https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/ to open up a dialogue with us today!
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