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Certifié BonBoss

The 3 main risks of fixing the scope of an application during
development

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Do you recognize the advantages of acquiring a personalized application for improving the performance of your business? You are now at the stage of inviting potential partners to come and present their expertise and value to you to create your vision.

As with any project in the quoting process, it is quite normal to base the tender on the overall scope of the application (features included). It is good practice to set the overall scope of a project as the means which, technically, guarantees on paper the delivery of a product within the agreed budget. When talking about the overall scope of an application project, this defines all the future features to be included in the application.

BEWARE!!  !!
Before embarking on an application development project, you should recognize that the software development process is difficult to anticipate and plan. Setting the global scope in a static manner often results in exceeded costs and deadlines, due to the potential for unpredictability.

As a technological partner, it is our duty to raise awareness on the issues and to set the overall scope of your investment.

3 main risks for which it is not advised to set an overall scope for large-scale custom software development.

This trend, of fixing the global scope of a development project, is an integral part of a project which is managed in a cascade (waterfall). This method involves the development of an application by designing a comprehensive functional analysis, which requires identifying all the needs and specifications of the project in the estimate before writing a single line of code. This method does not allow for error and increases the level of the risk considerably.

Risk#1
The potential evolution of your investment is limited

Certain customers, who have given us the development of their applications, have realized during the project that new unplanned functions should be developed for the proper use of their technological product. Unfortunately, when the overall scope of an application has been set at the start, developers cannot deviate from the initial development plan without incurring additional costs and expenses in analysis, management, and development.

Moreover, managers often underestimate the rapid evolution of a business’ needs. They then don’t leave buffers to include the development of solutions for evolving needs. As a result, the delivered software suddenly becomes obsolete and its replacement occurs faster than expected.

Risk #2
Satisfaction with the delivered product is compromised

Your project could be affected on several levels. If the development of your application is managed in the waterfall method, you may experience one or more of these irritants:

  • Longer delays: The programmed features are typically demonstrated at the delivery of the project. Modifying and adjusting features after they have been completed is often more costly and time consuming.
  • Delivered product does not correspond to the needs: because the customer has the right to inspect the product until the end of it, it is not rare that the latter notices a deviation from his expectations and the received product.

Risk #3
Failure to respect the budget

It should be remembered that software development is difficult to anticipate and plan. Setting the overall scope of a project in order to ensure a fixed cost that will be respected is fiction. The quoted budget for the creation of your application is likely to not be respected for any of these reasons:

  • New or changing needs under development
  • Dependence on an external service or partner
  • New corporate infrastructure
  • Poor definition or disclosure of business needs

Have full control of your project with the Agile method and the minimum viable product (MVP)

The Agile method is appreciated as it decreases risks when developing an application. Designing an application from the MVP allows you to quickly get value on your investment.

An evolving rather than a fixed scope: This solution allows you to invest in continuous improvement of the product, which adjusts according to the rhythm and reality of your business.
Develop the application in phases according to priorities: Building an application by iteration gives you the possibility to adjust the current development rate, and to validate the costs generated at each iteration.
Investing in tangible results: During each iteration, your technology partner delivers an application with final and operational features. 

We all know that the development of an application is a significant investment for a business. Expectations are very high for this type of investment; and with good reason! Therefore, it becomes important for your organization to do everything it can to get a rapid return on investment from its technological projects.

Go for a scalable scope; go for the Agile method.