In our previous post, we mentioned that only a fraction of companies ever complete their intended IT projects. This was due to a number of reasons - but now we have one solution.
Whether it’s a small scale project or full enterprise software development, there are some issues that are always present. Whether it’s a lack of involvement from management, poorly defined objectives or unexpected risks, it only takes a few minor bumps to put the entire project off-track.
When this happens, there’s no software to solve the initial problem, but the budget and resources have already been spent. So, how can these issues be resolved? In the vast majority of cases (and certainly in our experience, although we may be a little biased) external teams can resolve these challenges.
An external perspective
One common theme that many of these points have is that an external team is, by its very nature, external. It’s only goal is to deliver the software that’s been asked for. They have no loyalty to specific departments, only the project’s defined objective.
Because of this, despite being highly involved they can remain detached. Their viewpoint is purely focused on the project and, what’s more, their recommendations don’t carry any bias.
A central position for the entire organization
When working on large or otherwise vital projects, such as enterprise software, it really helps to include all departments. From marketing and HR to developers and management, everyone needs to be involved to ensure success. The trade-off of this is that, often, nobody knows who is taking the lead.
When everybody is partially responsible, nobody is. An external team, on the other hand, only has one job: delivering amazing software that meets your expectations. They’ll become the central position that connects all other departments and, what’s more, they won’t be distracted by the rest of their duties - they won’t have any!
On a similar note, having a central team at the heart of your project ensures communication is always active - a good IT team will constantly seek out knowledge and answers from the wider company.
Why? Because when there’s a central team for the project, they’ll bring in every department or spokesperson they need to ensure success. Even if two departments aren’t in regular contact, a dedicated team is able to break these barriers and push communicative channels. After all, it’s important to the project and the team’s job, so they’ll make it happen, no matter what.
When dealing with external companies and specialists, you’re dealing with experts that have worked with key product and enterprise software development for a long time. They know all the ins and outs. In other words, alongside core competencies, they provide a range of insights and knowledge to take advantage of.
While this may be your first large project, it isn’t theirs, so external teams can identify requirements that are missed or overlooked. This will keep your project on the right path and eliminate future problems before they have a chance to cause chaos.
Milestones & objectives are clearly defined
On the topic of knowledge, an experienced team can help roadmap the entire plan with your in-house teams and stakeholders. Having an experienced, external lead ensures every milestone or objective is carefully thought out.
What’s more, because such external support forms a central role in the process, they ensure every objective (from every department) is considered into the final design and product. This way, no one internal team favours their own needs, overlooking others and impacting the final software as a result.
Accurate estimates for enterprise software development
We previously mentioned that costs can spiral out of control due to unforeseen effects - so called ‘black swan’ projects. Larger projects have even greater risk here, so the likes of enterprise software needs to be planned and estimated right.
Poor estimates at the start will only lead to disappointment and fiscal nightmares when reality sinks in. Don’t let inexperienced stakeholders plan estimates. Often, corners may get cut in a big to save money on paper. An external team can provide estimates based on years of experience, clear knowledge and thorough understanding.
What’s more, they’ll even show their working. Full transparency benefits everybody.
Excellent project management
While we’re talking about black swans, project management is one factor that can easily spiral out of control. If the Project Manager isn’t able to bring all teams or developers together, even when working across different parts of the project, delays and expenses can easily start to appear.
This is another reason why an external team can fill key roles that otherwise might not have ideal personnel. Project Management is an important skill. It ensures the product is delivered on time at every roadmap, communicates with all developers and addresses challenges on the fly. It’s a position worth investing in.
Bringing in missing skills
On a similar note, they say when all you have is a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. Well, perhaps this is no more true than in the IT industry.
When starting internal enterprise software development, it’s easy to look to the skills, competencies and core technologies you already have in-team. However, this immediately puts the project at limitations, as you’ve already removed many newer innovations, hindering the success before you’ve even begun.
An external team, however, ensures the required skills for the project, rather than bending the project to the skills at hand. Pure progress - no compromise.
Clearly defined risks - and opportunities
We’ve mentioned experience a lot so far - really, gaining experience and insights from a team that’s walked this path before can never be overestimated.
A team that’s worked on enterprise software development before, for instance, knows what some of the largest risks are. They’ve encountered them before, so can already avoid them from the start.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s another upside, too. Because they’ve worked on various projects, this experience can be used to highlight additional opportunities or benefits at the planning stage. They can recommend better, more efficient technology, remove redundant processes or otherwise propose steps that bring better results later on.
Thorough review process
Reviewing your work is important in any project (not just IT) - both before, during and after. Dedicated external teams are great for this. After all, if a team’s been brought on for a specific project, they will make the effort at every step to review and assess, in order to ensure they ultimately meet their one and only objective.
For your business, this means regular reports, updates and reviews. You always know what is going on, have thorough documentation and can ask questions at any time for immediate updates.
If there’s two takeaways from this, it’s skills and experience. Bringing in an external team simply fills any skill-gaps before a project starts and, furthermore, brings in the foresight that’s only gained from implementing previous projects successfully.
Yet it’s also worth remembering that bringing in external teams is also an opportunity for your company to embrace new technology, learn from specialists in the field and improve in-house capabilities along the way.
Software development isn’t just about adapting the technology - it’s also about adapting the wider business as well. And a helping hand in this journey is never a bad way to learn.