Questions about Alagad
Can you tell me a bit about Alagad?
- Alagad is a North Carolina corporation specializing in creating custom software for our clients. It was originally founded in 1996 in Michigan as a computer graphics service business. Over the years it has evolved into the software services company it is today. Alagad is privately held.
Where is Alagad located?
- Alagad is a virtual company. We do not have any central offices. All employees and contractors work from home and communicate using a range of telecommunication technologies. We have very little overhead and are lean and efficient.
What does the word Alagad mean?
- The word Alagad means “ally” in Tagalog, the language of the Philippines. More specifically it means someone who will fight for you. This meaning is a happy coincidence. The name Alagad was initially an acronym which doesn’t relate to the work we now do. We feel that the meaning of Alagad fits our way of doing business – we form collaborative partnerships with clients and do everything we can to help them succeed.
What is Alagad’s mission?
- Alagad’s mission is to make the world a better place by creating custom software.
Do you do mobile development?
- Yes. We have experience creating native applications for iOs and Android. We also have experience creating cross platform native applications for many platforms by leveraging a range of tools. In addition to that we have experience creating responsive web applications that change their appearance to best suit the device it’s being used on.
Do you do web development?
- Yes. Web Development is the foundation that Alagad was built on. We have made hundreds of web applications for hundreds of clients over the years.
Do you do desktop or server application development?
- Yes. We can and do build applications for any environment using the very best tools and procedures that are available to us.
Do you support My-Favorite-Technology?
- Yes and No. The Alagad team has a lot of experience in a lot of areas, but we don’t claim to know everything. If needed, we will bring in appropriate tallent from our large network of contractors and subject area experts.
Do you offer hosting?
- No, we are not a hosting company. However, as a part of your project we can work with you to determine your hosting requirements and an appropriate vendor.
What is your Buy Back program?
- Some clients, government agencies in particular, may have Alagad build custom software that has market potential outside of their organization alone. When appropriate, the client and Alagad may choose to enter into an agreement where Alagad would have the right to resell the client’s software. Funds from these sales would be used to pay the client back for their investment in the software and to continue enhancing the application. When paid back in full, the client assigns all rights to Alagad in exchange for a perpetual license to all future versions of the software. Buy back customers end up getting their critical software for free for life.
I see you promote open source software, are you going to open source my application?
- Of course not! From time to time we create generic tools or libraries while working on our projects. These libraries may be useful to help developers build other applications. These do not contain any of your applications private business logic or confidential information.
Are there any tricks you use to try to lock clients in?
- No. We believe the best way to keep clients is by offering an amazing service and doing our job exceptionally well. You own the product that Alagad creates for you and you can do anything with it that you like including having other companies work on it. We will always work with you to smoothly facilitate these types of transitions.
Who are your past clients?
- Alagad has worked with approximately 100 clients since 1996. Some of our more notable clients include:
- United Way
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Michigan State University
- Duke University
- Minneapolis Technical & Community College
- United States Dog Agility Association
Can I talk to any of your references?
- Yes. Please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with them.
How do you handle application maintenance?
- Alagad has a service called TaskForce that is focused on maintaining existing applications. We are in the process of reworking this service and will release more information as it is available.
What markets do you service?
- Alagad works across all markets. All of our clients and the problems we solved for them have been distinct. We work with our clients to understand their business and the solution they are looking for. With that understanding we can build an application that meets their specific needs. A small list of markets we have served includes:
- Non Profit
- Travel & Leisure
- Advertising & Interactive Design
- Other Industries
Process and Policy Questions
How much will it cost to build my application?
- Truthfully, we don’t know. Estimating the cost of development is one of the great problems in the software industry. To help determine the cost of an application Alagad starts all projects with a Discovery phase. The Discovery phase occurs in week long increments during which Alagad works to gather the most complete picture possible of the application. Using this information we are able to internally estimate the cost of the project and use that to set our firm fixed bid for the project. For more information on our process please see Custom Software Done Right.
Do you do fixed price work?
- Yes, Alagad only works on a fixed fee basis. We break our projects down into two phases, Discovery and Production. Work done in the Discovery phase of a project is billed on a fixed weekly price. This price may increase if we need to bring in additional resources for your project. Our Production phase is done completely fixed price and will not change unless the scope of the project changes.
If you do fixed fee work, what does it mean that I can choose my own rate?
- No mater what, Alagad has to estimate how long it will take to create your application. The rate you specify becomes a multipler for our estimate and sets the actual price of our services.
I have a rush project that I need done as quickly as possible. Can you help me?
- Alagad will only do projects where there is sufficient time to do the project the right way. We can not and will not take shortcuts in our process. Doing so would impact our ability to live up to our quality guarantee and places the project in jeopardy.
How long does the Discovery phase of a project last? How much will it cost me?
- It depends. Alagad will not move into the Production phase of a project until we feel both the client and Alagad truly understand what will be built. For simple projects this may only take a week or two. For more complex projects it can lsat quite a while. We really can’t say for sure, which is exactly why we do our Discovery phase. It’s a lot cheaper to throw out a Word document than it is to rewrite code.
I already know exactly what I need, can we skip the Discovery phase?
- While we wish we could skip this process, we can’t. We can’t see the picture you have in you mind. And the documentation you provide is up for interpretation – that’s the nature of communication after all. What we encourage you to keep in mind is the more you know about your project the faster this phase will go.
What do I get out of the Discovery Phase?
- Alagad produces a wide range of documentation in the Discovery phase. The specifics of what is produced changes from project to project but typically includes the following:
- Clickable Mockups
- Functional Requirements
- Risk Analysis and Mitigation
- Proofs of Concepts
- Customer Interviews
- Design Concepts
- Software Architectural Plan
- Testing Plan
I’m very busy and don’t have time to work on this project. Can you just do it and let me know when it’s done?
- Alagad absolutely needs involvement from all of your projects stake holders. If you’re the one reaching out to us about this project then chances are we will need your involvement. We recommend that you wait until such a point that you can make your project a priority before moving forward.
I need a programmer or a team of programmers I can direct as I want and need. Can you do this?
- No. It’s been our experience that the majority of clients benefit from our experience building software, often in ways they did not expect. This saves time and protects against cost overruns that strain business relationships. Alagad knows how to run successful software projects. Let us take care of this for you.
I don’t think I need everything you offer. Can we cut out any portion of your services?
- No. Alagad’s offers a complete package of everything needed to successfully complete software development projects. Our approach is what allows us to provide our 100% cash back guarantee.
What are your billing and payment policies?
- All payments must be made to Alagad in advance before any work is done. During the Discovery phase this means that you are responsible for paying us before each week of work. Please be sure to allow sufficient time for payments to be processed by our financial institutions. For the production phase we require a 50% payment when the project begins and the final 50% at the project’s scheduled half way point. Late payments may result in Alagad switching to the next project in our queue.
What is your cancelation policy?
- You can cancel your project at anytime and without warning. You will not incur any additional fees, but Alagad will not refund any payments you have already made. Please note that if you cancel the project you forfeit your claim to our money back guarantee.
Project Management Questions
How can I keep tabs on project progress?
- We endeavor to keep our clients aware of progress on their projects. This is done through a combination of frequent project meetings, reports generated by our automated build and test systems, access to our testing environment, and our issue tracking system. The combination of these shine a bright light on your project and it’s progress.
How do you handle change?
- Change is inevitable in software development and is also one of the leading causes of project failure. This is one of the primary reasons that we employ our Discovery phase: to minimize change in our Production phase. However, if change becomes necessary we will pause Production and switch back to the Discovery phase where we will work out all the details of the change and its associated cost. You as the client can then choose to add this to your project or not. We find that this helps control change and helps our clients understand the impact that change has on their project.
How do you define project success?
- When in the Discovery phase of a project we create a categorical check list of testable – yes-or-no – items that must all pass for us to consider your project completed successfully. If we are unable to show that each one of these test pass then you get your money back.
What is covered by your 100% cash back guarantee?
- Only the work completed in our Production phase and specified in our predefined testing plan is covered. We encourage our clients to be very particular about the testing plan we produce for them.
Can I see a copy of your services contract?
- Yes, we have posted it here.
Can we negotiate changes to your contract?
- We are always open to suggestions, but the changes must meet with our legal team’s approval.
Will you sign a nondisclosure (NDA) or a non-compete agreement with my company?
- Yes, we frequently sign these agreements. However, one of the clauses of our services contract deals with publicity. We require the right to announce your company name as a new client when you sign our contract. We also require rights to publicize the success of your project after it is completed. These requirements are clearly defined in our services contract.