When you scan a software development company’s website you’re generally looking to see if they are the right fit for you. And one thing you may notice is that many companies offer a free consultation.
Pro tip: Even if you don’t end up working with the company, having a consultation is a great way to clarify exactly what you need to develop your solution. This will make any and all discussions you have with other outsource companies even more productive.
With that in mind, here are just a few benefits you can leverage from a consultation with a software development company.
Learn to Define the Technical Requirements of during your consultation
If you’re working on a software development project, the technical requirements are defined as those factors required to deliver a desired function or behavior from a system to satisfy a user’s standards and needs.
So for example, let’s say you have a browser-based learning software that only works for a specific web browser because of an important integration system that allows your software to function properly on that web browser. That would be a technical issue, which would require a technical solution going forward. Here is a quick list of requirements you may have for your solution:
- Authentication and authorization
- Data quality
- Human error
- Information security
- Internal controls
- System errors
Establish the Scope of your project
The scope of your project is important to understand and be able to explain both to your team internally and to anyone you contrat. That’s where a project scope statement comes in handy. This provides a detailed description of the work that must be done to deliver the output of a project on time and within the allotted budget. The document also places the objectives of the project and its output—which could be a product that a company is releasing to the marketplace or analysis that leadership will use to make an informed business decision—within the larger context of the organization’s goals and objectives.
Validate your Idea
Is the idea you have for a solution valid itself? Sometimes talking to an objective third party is the best way to find out. Many things sound good in our head, but not on paper. Talking to an experienced software company is an ideal backboard to bounce ideas off. More specifically, here are four simple steps you can take to validate your idea. You might notice that these steps happen naturally within the course of a consultation.
- Define your goal – Yep, just like any idea management-related activity, validation starts with defining your goals.
- Develop a hypothesis – After you’ve defined your goal for idea validation, it’s time to develop a hypothesis based on that goal.
- Experiment and revise – Naturally, this is a step that extends beyond a consultation, but it goes a long way to validating your idea. Remember to keep in mind:
- Which methods are the most useful for testing your assumption?
- How do you plan to execute the tests?
- Validate and develop – Once you reach this stage, you are truly ready to begin working with a software development company to realize your idea.
Understand the risks and unexpected costs
Is it technically possible to achieve the business goals you’ve set? Will there be unexpected costs associated with third party integrations, hosting services, etc.? These are serious questions to consider. Knowing the answer will leave you with a better understanding of what your project requires and less likely to be blind sighted in terms of budget.
Once again. Don’t feel like you have to have these answers perfectly ready when you have a consultation. On the contrary, the consultation can help you arrive at answers to these tough questions.
Help define product strategy
What is best for you? Each project deserves a tailored approach. And talking with a software development company can help you figure out just what that means. For example, you might need to start with an MVP. Or not. If you do, then what main features should be included within the MVP scope? What should be the main stages for your development project?
Think about these questions. And if you don’t have the answers, ask! An experienced company will be able to suggest features and offer a product strategy.
Bottom line: Take full advantage of your next consultation
You have an idea. But you don’t have all the answers. However, sometimes knowing what you don’t know is knowledge in itself. Keep in mind all that you can get out of a consultation, including filling in the blanks and figuring out where you need to establish more clarity with your project. Whether you choose to work with the company you consult with or not is secondary. Just remember to take good notes (or record your calls) so all the information you take in informs your decisions down the line.