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OmegaLab: How preparing for the festive period is similar to an outsourcing development project

Now that the year is coming to a close, preparations are well underway for the festive season.

As you know well, it is no easy task to prepare for the celebrations that come around every Christmas and New Year, as it’s a time when your house is filled with people. There is always plenty of food, drink, gifts, decorations and activities to prepare.

You might not have thought before that preparing for the festive period is similar to outsourcing a development project. But you’d be surprised to find out that there are a number of similarities between the two!

By breaking down the development process into different stages, you will see that each has similar characteristics to getting ready for the festive period.

Let’s take a closer look…

Preparatory stage

The first stage of the development process is all about preparing – when you lay the foundations of a successful partnership. The same can be said of preparing for Christmas. You need to work out who is going to be at your house for the festive period, so that you can plan an amazing day for them. You might decide to invite lots of friends and family and have a big party, or you might just want a quiet one with your close family members.

In the development process, you need to scale up the size of the project, and start to form some initial ideas about how you will approach the task at hand. You need to establish clear communication channels between new team members and stakeholders, and begin to learn what the skills and competencies are that you have at your disposal. Most importantly, you have to always remember to keep the customer’s needs at the heart of everything.

In both your Christmas preparation and software development, the end result will be judged on the satisfaction of the customer – or the people coming to your house to celebrate Christmas!

Analytics

Before you embark on any project – whether this is a development project or simply organising a Christmas or New Year’s party – you need to know what people want. You can then make sure that you meet their expectations with the quality of your product.

At this stage in the development process, the customer and the outsourcing team will need to determine the goals to be achieved during development. This is done by addressing the customer’s business objectives and user requirements. The data and insights can be gathered through a number of methods, including dialogue with customers, data collection and focus groups. The more insights that the development team can gather, the more accurate and effective the final product will turn out to be.

And if you are planning the festive period, make sure you ask everyone what they want as a gift, and what food and drink they are getting excited about! You can then add them to your shopping list.

Project evaluation

Now it’s time to help everyone visualize and understand the project in its entirety.

When you’re planning Christmas, this is based around creating a budget and schedule. Of course, the festive period is one of the most expensive of the year to plan for, and so you need to make sure you work within your budget. You also need to work out when people will be coming and going, what you’ll be doing throughout the day, and at what time.

From a software development point of view, this takes the form of a detailed presentation that describes an assessment of the project and any possible risks. You will also decide on which personnel will be working on the project, and choosing from various options for implementing tasks, conditions, stages, and other details.

A product model will need to be created, based on data that you have previously collected. You can then calculate your time and labor costs. You will then have everyone on the same page, and you can get started with creating your vision.

Design

The design stage is where you begin to put your ideas down, and work out how everything will fit together. For a software development project, the project has been evaluated and approved at this stage, and you can start the development of the UX-design of the user interface, as well as the UI-rendering of interface elements. Your project will be coming to life now, and your hard preparation work is really paying off!

If you are preparing for Christmas, this stage is where you create the vision of your perfect festive period that everyone will enjoy! Plus, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got everything ready for the big day.

However, you have to remember that not everything is about ‘on the surface’ presentation. If you are preparing a meal, it’s all about the secret ingredients you’ve got up your sleeve, or if you’re decorating the house, you need that extra bit of sparkle to make things feel cosy and festive.

This is true for development as well – not everything is about what the customer sees. Instead, you should carry on focusing on the customer’s experience when you’re developing the user flow. You should be asking yourself: Are you developing the blocks, buttons and icons to make it easy for the user to navigate and perform the target action?

Development

For many people, this stage is probably the most stressful when you are celebrating the festive season. At this point, you will be making sure that everything is ready for the big day. This means ensuring the presents are wrapped, the decorations are up and the house is looking lovely. Plus, this stage covers the start of the big day, when excitement levels will be at their highest and people will have arrived for the celebrations!

For an outsourced project, this stage involves implementing the customer’s ideas, and turning the plans into a product. The development team will work according to the blueprint they have of the design of the product, and use their expertise to put their plans into action. If the preparation has been thorough and constructive, the development team will be able to follow the practical steps that have been laid out for them during preparation.

Although the development is a crucial stage, the best software teams will find it simple enough, because they have put in the hard work beforehand. It’s the same with Christmas – if you’ve prepared everything well in advance, you won’t be rushing around at the last minute to find an extra present or vital ingredient!

Testing

If you’re a parent who has given presents to kids before, you will know the frustration (and tears!) when the present ends up not working. This is why it’s always best to test out the presents to make sure they are fully functional before giving them to the children. The same goes for the Christmas food – you should always have a taster of your Christmas feast before you serve it up to make sure it tastes good!

The same goes for the development process. Testing a software product is one of the most important stages in the life cycle of the product, because a company has to be 100% sure of the product’s performance before presenting it to consumers. It is essential to conduct thorough testing in order to identify critical bugs before release, check the functionality of the product, identify issues, and fix them before the product is in front of customers’ eyes.

Launch

The day is finally here – and there’s no going back now! If you’ve carefully followed all of the previous steps, this should be a time to enjoy, when you see your customers (or friends and family at Christmas) enjoy what’s on offer, and fall in love with what you’ve created.

If you are working with a software development team, you may have pre-released the product as an MVP to gather insights and make improvements, but now you will be showing the final product off to your entire customer base. At this stage, you should set up monitoring tools to help you learn more about your users’ behavior and refine the product if necessary.

Transfer of rights

Christmas day is underway, and everyone is having a good time so far! If you are hosting a celebration at your house, you’ve now given out all of the presents and served up the meal, and you can watch everyone having an amazing time.

From a software development perspective, this stage can be compared to the transfer of rights. The launch has been completed, and the developers have completed their part of the work. They are now able to pass the finished product to the owner – it’s now their baby to manage. At this stage, control over the software and documentation is completely transferred to the customer.

For both our Christmas hosts and software developers, you can now see your creation in the hands of the people that it’s meant for. Your work is now done!

Technical support

Now that the Christmas party is winding down, as the host it’s time to put your feet up and relax. You’ve put in the hard work to create a wonderful day for everyone, and it is now their turn to repay you by doing the washing up for you, and make you a nice drink to say thank you!

However, if we’re talking about the corresponding stage in the software development process, a good team won’t stop there. Instead, they will go the extra mile to provide further technical support to help out the client after the initial work is completed.

The temporary or permanent maintenance offered will help to reduce the risk of failures after the new system is launched, and ensure a quick recovery just in case an issue does arise. This support will make sure that the product works seamlessly for customers after its launch.

If you are looking to outsource your development project in the New Year and you want a team with industry-leading skills, experience and creativity, get in touch with a member of the OmegaLab team today!

Find out more about OmegaLab here.

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