This is Part 3 of a series – catch up on the other posts here.
In parts 1 and 2 of this series, we went over how to determine the right software solution for you. Once we’ve all agreed on a suitable solution for your needs, we can get to work.
The Development Process
Every development team works a little differently. How we accomplish our tasks, usually doesn’t matter to our clients, as long as there is suitable progress being made, and everyone continues to be on the same page, things go smoothly. Everyone at EHTC Digital is willing and capable of keeping communications up during the development process, and we use a few tools on our end to keep track of progress.
The main tool we use is called Teamwork, used to keep track of projects, tasks, deadlines and time spent. A tool like this is extremely valuable to us as it keeps the entire team organized and aware of what’s happening. This tool doesn’t only benefit us either; we give clients access to our Teamwork site. That allows them to see exactly what our tasks are and the time we’ve spent on them. Allowing clients to see their project in our Teamwork site also allows two-way communication on tasks – if we have questions for you, or if you have feedback for us, it can all be done through Teamwork. Of course, this is optional; nothing can beat a simple email or web meeting to answer a few questions.
There are many, many aspects to development I haven’t mentioned here: project design and management, documentation, working at the clients’ office or not, integrating with the clients’ own development team and power users, among other things. I’m not getting into those details for two reasons. First, they are different for every project and secondly because we are extremely flexible. We work _with_ you on this, however that looks, whatever is best for all parties involved. With our experience, we’ve seen and done it all.
For every piece of new software, testing is important. It lets us know if we’ve hit the mark or not. We get your hands on the new software as soon as possible so we can start feedback right away. More often than not, through testing comes new features or things they didn’t realize they wanted. After seeing the system in action, they’d often like some things tweaked here and there to really nail down the process.
Development of the system and testing the system go hand-in-hand. We do some testing to get feedback, go back to development to make those changes and go right back into testing. It’s a very iterative and continuous process.
It’s important that the client experiences the system sooner rather than later, so when we are all ready for deployment, they know the system already. In case this isn’t enough, or not all users were involved in the testing process (which is often the case), then we also provide documentation and training. It’s important that every user knows how to use the system effectively; too often have we seen users and month or two down the road that aren’t aware of certain features that could be saving them time!
Deployment and Support
Deployment simply means publishing the system so it can finally be officially used in a production environment. All the development and testing work is done, now we are ready to go live with the system. There is usually a schedule involved, where the system is deployed in its environment a few days before the users get their hands on it. This allows us and the clients to do some final testing to ensure things are running smoothly. Depending on how many pieces are involved, publishing a system is usually pretty simple.
Depending on the size of the project, maybe we do several deployments in phases. Get the users starting to use the system in phase one, and add additional functionality for phase two. A deployment scheme like this can help you stay productive while transitioning to your new software solution.
Once the users are in the system and have been using it, it’s time for support. We don’t just hand off the system to you and wave goodbye; we provide any support you need after go-live. If you find an issue or you’d like more features, we are available to do that.
There you have it; the entire custom software process when you work with us at EHTC Digital. There are of course other administrative things that have to happen such as paperwork and bookkeeping; but I’m a developer, and I’ve went over how we get a custom software solution in your hands and working for you. At EHTC Digital we are all very versatile and do it all. Our clients work directly with our developers to get things done.
It is my hope that this has been insightful to our process and will assist in your decision for your software solution; whether that’s digitizing your paper process, integrating multiple systems together, or creating a new system that is specific to your needs, EHTC Digital can help you out.