Excellent technical facilities and high-level specialists with extensive development knowledge seem to be essential to the success of the IT project. Besides the price, it is one of the crucial factors determining whether customers will choose to work with a particular software house or not. But can a software house offer more than technical expertise and skilled professionals? Absolutely. We can provide some examples of the potential benefits based on our own experiences.
Software development in Railwaymen is further than an outstanding technical background. Here at Railwaymen, we adhere to the principle that we share the same goal with the client. We engage in the project as if we were building a product for our own. Openness, honesty, transparency, and flexibility allow us to create an atmosphere of trust, which directly translates into increased involvement of the entire team in the project.
This commitment and close relationship with our clients make us willing and open to offer them technical and non-technical solutions that allow them to optimize costs or obtain other non-financial benefits. What exactly is it? I have prepared a few examples taken from our work.
Table of Contents:
- Delivering a Challenging MVP: The Feature Buffer Approach
- Cost-Effective Functionality Implementation: Our Proprietary Solution
- Enhancing Project Communication: Client Benefits of Jira Utilization
- Optimizing Costs and Time Through Collaborative Refinement of Solutions
Delivering a Challenging MVP: The Feature Buffer Approach
We had six weeks to implement an MVP for a client, but due to certain business circumstances, the deadline was fixed while the project scope was broad. Since we value openness and transparency, we informed the client that, based on our estimates, we wouldn't be able to implement all the functionalities they wanted in the given time.
However, we suggested using a functionality buffer. First, we revisited the MVP scope with the client and identified functionalities we could exclude or simplify but still provide value. Then, we asked the client to identify must-have functionalities from a business standpoint, which we reviewed and suggested as essential ones for maintaining usability and logic. We selected 70% of the functionalities from the scope, which we were confident we could deliver. The remaining 30% were nice-to-have, but wouldn't significantly affect the product if we couldn't implement them. This separation helped us prioritize development and focus on building a valuable product. Ultimately, we delivered all core functionalities and some additional ones.
What benefits did the client get? The client was confident that he had received a product that was delivered on time and met his requirements. He was clear about the plan and scope of the development. That helped establish an atmosphere of trust between our company and the client from the outset of our cooperation.
Cost-Effective Functionality Implementation: Our Proprietary Solution
One of our clients asked us to implement elastic search - a solution enabling the expansion of the search engine's potential. The case is that the implementation and maintenance of this solution require significant financial outlays. Since the application already had the functionality of a search engine in the basic variant, we proposed to expand it following the client's requirements, including, for example, the prioritization of fields for the search engine. As a result, it was possible to implement an advanced search engine solution that fully meets the client's business requirements.
Moreover, the maintenance of the solution does not require any additional monthly costs for the customer (compared to Elastic, which costs from $1,140 per year). It is worth noting that the implemented solution allows for any changes and further development according to business needs.
What benefits did the client get? Significant financial savings and the freedom to develop this functionality in any direction in the future.
Enhancing Project Communication: Client Benefits of Jira Utilization
Jira is a powerful tool supporting effective project management. However, some clients may not want to use it due to its complexity. One of our clients preferred to use Slack and emails to exchange information regarding the product's functionalities. That made managing information across different channels challenging, especially for a large project. To streamline communication, we encouraged the client to use Jira for all discussions related to the project's functionalities. That made it easier to involve new team members in cases of change and access information over time. We added all the information and questions to a specific task in Jira, and our client received email notifications. We also pasted his answers into Jira. The approach turned out to be quite convenient, and before long, the client began including information in Jira as well.
What benefits did the client get? The client experienced a reduction in project management expenses as there was no need for additional work to gather information from various sources and put it into Jira. The reduction was at the level of 25-30% of project management costs.
Furthermore, there was an improvement in the comprehensibility of the executed features, encompassing their extent, mutually agreed-upon standards, and other relevant aspects.
Optimizing Costs and Time Through Collaborative Refinement of Solutions
One of our clients is used to working in the following scheme: the client contacts the Project Manager to provide feedback or discuss further functionalities, and the team implements the given functionality and submits it to the client for verification. It is like playing the Chinese whisper, which causes such problems as omissions and distortions.
As a result, it often happened that the effect of the development team's work differed from the client's vision of a given functionality, or, for example, it turned out that during the work some information or access was missing, which is a significant blocker to further work.
We love the agile approach to project development, and thus we proposed a different attitude to our cooperation to optimize costs and increase the efficiency of the team's work. In the scrum, an agile IT project management framework, there is a meeting known as refinement. It is a joint meeting of the teams on the client's and the software house's sides. The purpose of it is to discuss the upcoming tasks together so that when the team starts to implement such a task, it has total clarity as to its scope and all the information and data needed to start development. What's more, at the beginning of each meeting, the team presents the results of their work from the previous week. Weekly refinement allows us to avoid misunderstandings and identify all obstacles in advance.
What benefits did the client get? Having refinement meetings positively impacts accelerating the implementation process, leading to financial savings, and delivering functionality in the appropriate time window. Thanks to this, we were able to reduce development costs by up to 50% in some cases.
Moreover, it assures the client that the development team has correctly understood their requirements and allows them to track the work’s progress. The development team's participation in meetings with the client is essential to creating an atmosphere of trust and positively influencing the team's commitment.
It's evident from the examples given that exceptional technical skills alone aren't enough to achieve the best results. It's the synergy effect that leads to ideal outcomes. Furthermore, it can be primarily attained through the Project Manager's efforts. Their responsibility is to establish a trustworthy and appropriate relationship between the team and the client. They seek solutions to enhance processes for the client's benefit and encourage the development team to explore the most advantageous technological solutions. Finally, it is the responsibility of the Project Manager to ensure that technical and business requirements are in sync, collaborating to offer our clients an edge over their competitors.
In the meantime, if you want to discover the potential that Railwaymen has, we encourage you to visit our Case Studies tab, where you can see the course of our past implementations. See what benefits our clients have gained from working with us. Also learn about our technology stack, which we use in delivering functional solutions.