At the beginning of the custom software development process, you’re likely feeling excited and eager to see things take shape. You may also feel a bit worried about the process of turning your concept into a real, functioning product that you can rely on for years to come. It’s understandable; the process for delivering custom software projects isn’t always clear. It’s a daunting undertaking that can span months, cost thousands, and require a level of commitment that’s unexpected.
At FrogSlayer, each project starts with a Project Kickoff session, which leads into a Discovery, Design & Planning (DDP) phase. This phase of the project serves as the foundation for everything that happens afterwards. For our clients, this is the most interesting and exciting parts of working with FrogSlayer.
If you feel well-prepared, it may be difficult to see why this phase could be worth your while. Skipping DDP may seem like the perfect way to save money that you could put toward other projects of development. However, this bit of extra time in the beginning will create a big pay off during the development phase of your software project.
Software projects are ripe with risk – only 42% succeed. On the other hand, FrogSlayer boasts a 96.5% success rate. How?
With our DDP, we minimize the guesswork upfront to de-risk the project and accelerate development.
Purpose & Benefits of Discovery, Design & Planning
The purpose of the DDP engagement is to create a detailed front-end design, technical design, and implementation plan for your software project. You’ll know exactly what you’ll get before we ever write a line of code. We’ll know we’re building the right thing, the right way.
Some additional benefits of the DDP include:
- Helping you discover new and better opportunities for your business and software
- Increase consensus and buy-in within your organization and other key stakeholders (like customers or investors)
- Creating excitement and ownership within the target user base
- Providing validation before you send any money developing the software
- Helping the development team build better
- Helping your internal team increase their own empathy and passion
Process & Deliverables
During the DDP engagement, we’ll go through the following:
A typical kick-off lasts 2-4 days, usually on-site and face-to-face, to gather and understand the technical and business requirements for your software product. We’ll go through activities that include:
- Review of Current System(s)
- Business Ecosystem Mapping
- User research and interviews
- User personas
- Creating, refining and validating context scenarios to understand how users engage with your company and software
- Collaborative Sketching
- Feature backlog and value-based prioritization
We’ll take everything we learned from our discovery sessions and create the following:
- Sketches to map out workflow
- End-to-end wireframes, un-styled
- End-to-end, pixel perfect, click-through mockups (delivered via Marvel)
We’ll put together an implementation plan that captures the following:
- Vision & Scope – are we capturing the correct vision and solving the right problems?
- Risks & Assumptions – have we identified all potential pitfalls and constraints?
- People & Process – can we easily explain who their users are and the key processes of their business?
- Key workflow diagrams – can we easily illustrate and explain critical workflows and processes?
- Data model – did we conceptualize key data and relationships?
- End-to-end user stories – can our development team use these stories as a checklist for completeness?
- Architecture and technology requirements or considerations
- Roadmap / Release Plan – month-by-month breakdown
- Cost estimates – month-by-month breakdown of costs
- Operating standards – communication, change management, release management
Duration & Cost
The typical DDP lasts 4-16 weeks and starts at $50,000. We ask for 50% upfront and 50% on delivery.
Remember, our goal is to de-risk your project before it even starts. By paying a little money up front, you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars and frustration in the future.
DDP can last anywhere from 4 – 16 weeks. It all depends on how well defined your software is at the outset, how polished your DDP artifacts must be, and how quickly you move from DDP into implementation.
If your software is very simple or you come to us bearing clear design artifacts and understanding, DDP will be relatively short. We can focus on transferring your learning to our team, setting up a development environment, and estimating the implementation effort. If we start the engagement with only an idea and perhaps a few rough sketches, DDP will require more time.