Over a hundred. How many exactly? I’m not sure, but at least that many projects Gorrion did so far for our customers. Some were fun to create, some not so much, most of them were a success, but we’ve had some inglorious moments too. Right now we are announcing what is called a Gorrion’s Standard. A well defined way to prevent from what can go wrong in a software creation process.
A bit of history
Gorrion started over eight years ago, but what happened five years back from now was a definitive change of direction. From a company creating own product, we shifted to one that offers it’s software services to others. What we were was a group of a really talented and ambitious developers. Developers having no idea on what outsourcing market is. We were like a newborn child, who just came to this world and tries to figure out what the heck is going on.
Slowly we put our fist steps by leasing our bodies (cause that body leasing is, right?) to other software companies. We’ve exchanged our engagement and skills for something far more important – experience and knowledge about software market.
With experience come better projects and bigger responsibility. We were not only the ones to code the app, but also to analyze client requirements, estimate costs and what’s most difficult – oversee the whole process from first line of code to successful deployment on client’s server.
What can go wrong?
Learning from own mistakes we identified a lot of threats that software creation process tends to be full of. Some of them are minor, but still worth avoiding and some, well… some of them could be lethal for the project.
Let’s start with what can go wrong at the very beginning of the project. New client sends an email to company like ours. He’d like his project to be made. He’s got a vision for something that he believes will be a success. But the vision is part of him. You can’t fully understand the project without getting to know client’s business, his background, without getting to know his story. Vice versa, client cannot trust a software company, cannot feel comfortable, cannot freely share thoughts without knowing who they are.
Trust is a key to good communication. Key to creative and stress free exchange of ideas. Our experience shows that we are most likely to build a solid relationship with clients that we’ve met in person before the first project. You can’t expect to get the same level of communication, when all you’ve got is exchange of few email or no direct contact with project owner at all (which might happen when there are intermediaries in the process).
Even having a good flow with the client it is extremely hard for analysts to get on the same page and accurately understand client requirements and project vision. What we’ve found in this matter was that visualization is a key to good communication. Even hand drawn screens of the app bring analyst and client visions together. Potential differences in understatement of how the final product should look like stays at the level of unimportant details.
We are not out of the woods yet
Good start is forecasts a good and stable collaboration? That’s true, but it can be a curse too. Project starts small, contract is just for MVP app. Some might say, let’s do it and get it over with. But it was a good project, good vision, good client. It becomes a success and he is happy with what we do so far. He wants to continue the development process.
Developers that are not ready for their client’s project success might forget that the app have to be maintained longer then for initial development period. I won’t lie, we were sometimes very surprised with how even the small prototype project can become a huge software platform. We have that in mind now.
So what’s our offer?
To improve the communication, better understand our new clients and let them get to know us we offer free Intro Day. We invite clients to our office for a whole-day workshop featuring their project ideas. We present our company and the team, we speak about required functionality, developers suggest the best approach and designers prepare first wireframes. I guarantee you that sending thousand emails can never be as effective as extensive meeting in person.
For creation process we decided to always assume the project will become a huge success and will require further development. Therefore things like Continuous Integration and Unit Testing are part of every app we create. They help to reduce a lot of problems related to project growth and constant need for proper regression testing.
We also care for the deployment and application life problems. All our apps communicates with it’s administrators throughout extensive and configurable logs. There are no runtime problems hard to detect and fix within minutes. Having all of this we also were able to put into our agreements warranties assuring our clients they won’t be left alone when the development ends.
What does Gorrion’s Standard give you?
Gorrion’s Standard is a set of rules, procedures and technical solutions that we enforce to avoid problems we get to know during our rich history. Most of them are things we do for some time now, but having them written down gives two advantages. On one hand we set the level of service we want to provide in every project, on the other hand our clients know what they can expect and how our offer stands out from the competition.
We’d like our clients to feel taken care of, to be a living witnesses of how awesome Gorrion is. We don’t want to fail, we want to succeed, because at the end of the day all that matters is weather we are satisfied with what we do or are we not, and what can be more satisfying than a well done job?