Alagad makes custom web and mobile applications using a process we like to call Custom Software Done Right. Our process is a combination of industry best practices and lessons learned from Alagad’s own experience working on hundreds of custom software projects.
At the heart of Alagad’s process are the core principals of communication and quality. We firmly believe that by focusing on communication we can better understand the needs of our clients and craft better solutions. Our focus on quality allows Alagad to offer our signature 100% cash back quality guarantee.
Alagad’s process is composed of two main phases, Discovery and Production, detailed below:
Discovery – Eureka!
Every great invention starts from one thing, a problem. This problem spawns a spark of inspiration. How you tend to that spark determines how large your flame will grow. The difference between a great idea and a great product is execution. Alagad adds fuel to your fire in our Discovery phase.
During our Discovery phase we will we will have many meetings with you to learn about the problem you’re trying to solve and your ideal solution. We will use this information to produce documentation that outlines your solution and details exactly what will be built for you.
The documents we create may include any of the following:
We will create low-fidelity clickable drawings to communicate how your software will look and function. Mockups are cheap and can be changed more easily and cost effectively than software code.
We will create a set of documents that describe your mockups, use cases, business logic, data validation rules, platform support requirements, specific technologies that will be used, and more.
Risk Analysis and Mitigation
We work with you to identify risks in every part of your application and define our plan on how to mitigate these risks.
Proofs of Concepts
Sometimes it’s unknown how – or if – particular problems can be solved. In these cases Alagad will create proofs of concepts that demonstrate that a particular problem can be solved and how.
Alagad is the first to admit that we don’t know everything. When we need help from outside experts we will identify them and bring them on board.
We will talk with your end users to better understand what they need and expect out of your system.
We will work with you to create visual design concepts for your application. Where the mockups visually describe how an application will function, design concepts describe how the application will look.
Software Architectural Plan
We will create a set of drawings that are essentially the blueprint of your system. These drawings include system diagrams, software architecture schematics, processes flow charts, and more.
For every detail we learn about your software, we will define a set of detailed, binary, yes-or-no, tests that we can use to confirm the feature works as required. These tests will be automated to the greatest extent possible and are the foundation of Alagad’s 100% cash back guarantee.
Project Schedule and Alagad’s Fixed Bid
Finally, using all of the information we collect during the Discovery phase, Alagad will produce a project schedule that details project milestones and projected dates of completion. Along with this, Alagad will provide a fixed bid for the project using the billing rate you specify.
The Discovery phase occurs in one-week increments and is completed when Alagad feels it has enough information to provide a fixed bid and that we can guarantee the success of your project. You can, of course, cancel at any time.
Throughout the process, draft documentation is shared with you for your review and feedback. You can use this documentation however you see fit. For example, you can use it to collect competitive bids or to have an independent third party review Alagad’s work.
Once the discovery phase is complete, we can move into the Production phase.
Production – Where the Magic Happens
The Production phase is where Alagad turns all of the details collected and documented in the Discovery phase into an actual application. As with the Design phase, Alagad will keep in close contact with you. We will provide a way for you to keep tabs of what has been completed and the overall status of your project.
To help insure our success, Alagad employs a number of tools, techniques, and approaches. Some of these are:
Test Driven Development
In the Discovery phase Alagad defines a large set of yes-or-no tests that we will use to insure your software works correctly. In the Development phase one of our first tasks is to create a framework for all of these tests. Initially they will all fail, but as the project progresses tests will begin to pass. We call this “greening up” the tests. When all the tests pass successfully the project is ready for production and its quality is assured.
There’s no point in having a robust suite of tests if we don’t run them frequently. The earlier a problem is discovered the easier it is to fix. Every time Alagad makes a change to your source code we automatically create a build of your application and run all of the tests. This process produces a report that you can easily see online to keep track of progress and problems in your project.
Alagad builds software across several iterations, sometimes called sprints or milestones. The length of each iteration may vary, but each completed iteration produces an application that performs a function and is essentially usable. Each iteration builds on the success of previous iteration.
As development progresses, Alagad’s design team will create and update the visual design for each section of your application based on the design produced in the Discovery phase. You can make two revisions to each design before a change order is necessitated.
Alagad will remain in close contact with you and your appointed stakeholders throughout the Production phase. We will provide iterative builds of your application for testing and feedback and keep you appraised of our progress.
One of the leading reasons software projects fail is shifting requirements. It’s unavoidable that you will need to change and update your project plan as we progress. Because of this, Alagad has a change management process built on change orders which we use to amend the original project plan, bid, estimate, and testing plan.
The Summary (TL;DR)
Alagad knows what goes into making software projects succeed. Our process starts in a Discovery phase where we learn everything we can about your project. Based on our discoveries we will provide you with a firm fixed bid and a lot of supporting documentation. When you are ready to move forward we begin our Production phase and build your application as defined. We insure quality, manage change, and do everything we can to make the process as pain free for our clients as we can.
We encourage our clients to research why software projects fail so that you can see how our approach attacks the core causes head on. We suggest the following article:
- Major Causes of Software Project Failures by Lorin J. May, Crosstalk, and The Software Technology Support Center
It is also useful to Google for phrases such as: