For software developers, an end user license agreement (EULA) is a written contract that needs to be included as part of the distribution of your software.

Its job is to protect the license owner from misuse of their product, limit liability, and set out restrictions for the use of the software.

What is an end user license agreement? 

An EULA is essentially a contract between users and software developers. It sets out conditions, rules, rights, and responsibilities for all parties in the same way terms and conditions or terms of service do.

This contract gives the end user the right to use the software but makes it clear the developer still owns it—after all, if you’ve hired the best app developers to create your product, you want to protect it.

Users are typically asked to agree to the EULA before being able to download and install a software application. This ensures they’re bound in agreement with the terms set out in it before being granted access to the software license.

Who needs an end user license agreement? 

To put it plainly, if your software is made available for public use, you need an EULA.

We live in an increasingly digital world, and the tech industry is continually expanding and developing. Many businesses in all sectors provide software applications, and software such as client portal solutions are becoming more commonplace.

Most modern companies—and also those thinking of starting a business—must now consider the need for an end user license agreement.

Is an end user license agreement a legal requirement? 

An EULA is not required by law, but you’re likely to face some legal hurdles if you don’t have one.

Although it’s not a requirement, an EULA is legally binding—because it acts as a contract between the developer and the end user, contract law applies.

For businesses seeking software development, outsourcing to an offshore software development team is a common option. Understanding the need for an end-user license agreement and its benefits is essential in these cases. It is important to choose agile project management tools to ensure smooth collaboration between the development team and the business.

Free-to-use image sourced from Pixabay

Five reasons to have an end user license agreement

There are many reasons why having an EULA is advantageous for software developers. Good program management and strategic planning should include creating one that is effective in all situations.

Here, we look in more depth at five key reasons to include an EULA with your software app.

1. An EULA sets out the restricted use of your app

A clear advantage of having an EULA is that you can set out how your software should and should not be used. Even if your business offers digital storefront software, you need to get a EULA for your customer so they know how to use the software properly without breaking any laws/rules. For example, you’ll probably want to state that it can’t be used for illegal activity or activity that violates copyright law.

In this clause, you’d typically see statements saying the user can’t do the following:

  • Use the software in a way in which it’s not intended to be used

  • Copy or reproduce it in any way

  • Use it for illegal purposes

  • Distribute it to third parties

2. Protect your intellectual property

Software developers should ensure their work is used only in the way it was intended, so it’s important to set out restricted use in your EULA. You should also protect your intellectual property.

Software developers may find it helpful to use a standard NDA template to ensure employees and other stakeholders can’t copy, steal or recreate the software for their own use.

In your EULA, write a clause that protects your content and establishes it as yours. You should outline your ownership of this copyrighted property and explicitly state what’s yours and how users may or may not use it.

Your EULA should make clear that the end-user has access to a copy of your software (or a license to use it) but no rights to the software itself.

Below is an example of a copyright clause from Whatsapp that clearly states their ownership rights.

Image sourced from whatsapp.com

3. Limit your liability

When writing this clause in your EULA, it may be useful to refer to a liability waiver template. You want to protect your business by getting the user to agree that they can’t pursue a legal claim against you in the event of damages or loss.

For software developers, an example would be if a user downloads and installs your software, and this results in their device malfunctioning in some way. Having a clause in your EULA that limits your liability will prevent them from taking legal action against you.

Include a clause that ensures users accept any risk by agreeing to the EULA before downloading and installing your software.

4. Protect your right to terminate licenses

Your EULA should make it clear that you can terminate the agreement at any time without notice if the end user breaches your terms.

For example, if a user takes part in an activity that’s prohibited in the “restricted use” section of your EULA, you as the software provider have the right to terminate their license immediately.

This clause lets users know that they don’t have unlimited or unrestricted access to the license and that you can revoke it at any time given sufficient reason.

5. An EULA can assist in dispute resolution

Including information on dispute resolution in your EULA is also useful. Here, you want to include how disputes between you and your customers will be resolved and which laws/legal system the dispute will be governed by.

The terms stated in your EULA must be agreed to by your end user before they can use your software. Ensure they include comprehensive information that you can rely on to defend your product if a dispute arises.

Free-to-use image sourced from Pixabay

Displaying your EULA 

Ideally, your user should agree to your EULA before they purchase or download the software or app. Whether your business offers video recording software or other software solutions, you need to ensure the users have agreed to your EULA. This can be achieved by displaying it pre-download and ensuring you state that upon downloading it they’re agreeing to your terms.

Your EULA must be easy to find and not hidden in any way. Users should also be able to access it at a later date if they want to refer back to it.

The Importance of an End User License Agreement 

An EULA is an important—even essential—agreement for software developers. While they will differ depending on the product, they should include the following information as standard:

  • The licensor. Contact information for the software owner.

  • A warranty disclaimer/liability limitations. I.e. the software developer is not responsible for damages or losses resulting from downloading the software.

  • Copyright information. The EULA should clearly state ownership information.

  • A start date. It should make clear that the agreement is in place from the time the software is downloaded.

  • User restrictions. These should set out prohibited or restricted use of the software.

  • Termination. State that the licensor has the right to terminate the license if certain terms are breached.

With an effective EULA, you can confidently market your software to end users, knowing your ownership rights are protected, its intended use is clear, and your liability is limited.

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Organizational methods allow businesses to observe practices and activities from a granular level. Understanding where to prioritize the allocation of time and resources can help a business operate more efficiently and effectively.

Strong program management is vital to ensuring that your organization excels and meets its strategic goals. We’ve talked to top Yalantis program managers and created an article where you can find tips, best practices, and approaches to program management.

This expert material will be useful if you:

  • plan to prepare a large product in a certain time frame with a large number of people and unclear processes
  • need to develop and/or scale a product with a large number of components
  • have a project where are already more than two teams

What is program management?

Program management is a strategic management approach to executing and controlling multiple related projects. It aims to drive benefits to the entire program by sharing project resources, costs, and activities.

The key value of program management is in effectively managing resources among projects within a program and achieving your company’s overall strategic goals.

Program management involves the following focus areas:

  • Planning
  • Risk management
  • Stakeholder management
  • Performance management
  • Organizational change management
  • Communication management and governance

The program management framework does not exclude the project management framework but rather complements it. However, program management consolidates all components and has additional tools and mechanisms that allow you to keep and manage multiple projects as one entity.

What is a program in program management?

A program can develop in two ways. First, a large company can create a program from the very beginning of developing a product and fill it with small connected projects. The second way, which Yalantis often encounters in practice, is that a program grows out of a project, passing through certain stages which we will describe below. Either way, the golden rule is that a program is always much bigger than a project.

What a program is at Yalantis

It’s important to note that the definition of a program will differ between companies and program management offices (PgMOs).

At Yalantis, we distinguish two basic principles of a program in program management:

  • A program necessarily contains several subprojects, i.e. components united by a certain principle: a common code base, a common client, etc.
  • A program is never defined by the number of people.

It is easiest to demonstrate what a program is at Yalantis by comparing a program to a project. First, it is always more difficult to manage resources in a program, as a program always involves more teams than a project. Second, when managing a program at Yalantis, we are more directly managing business development. That means we ask ourselves what benefits the program brings to the client and the client’s company.

Using various stakeholder management techniques while working with stakeholder groups, we determine how to achieve the program’s benefits. At the project level, project management is only about the schedule, scope, and cost.

When working on a program at Yalantis, our experts give our clients the opportunity to develop the product faster due to our ability to distribute the work across large teams and work on fast-tracking and crashing methods, which involves fast scaling if needed.

All in all, Yalantis program managers understand how to make a big product with a large team in a relatively short time.

You may also be interested in our expert material on how to deal with strict project limitations.

Willing to see how we approach software development to drive performance, scalability, maintainability, and rich functionality?

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    What is the value of a program manager? 

    Program managers possess a flexible set of skills that can be adapted to different business environments over time. They usually offer firm strategic advice to ensure every project in a program can be successfully executed. With extensive knowledge banks, the practices they decide to execute determine the blueprint for program management and its overall success.

    Let’s demonstrate the program manager’s responsibilities by considering how they differ from the responsibilities of a project manager. A project manager generally thinks about current project goals, while a program manager thinks about the program strategy, the future, the number of program components, and how to allocate resources correctly if there are new components.

    The program manager synchronizes projects that are managed by individual project managers.

    Read also: What a project manager does at each stage of the software development process

    We can summarize a program manager’s responsibilities as follows:

    • Understand the big picture without going into details
    • Focus on future goals
    • Pay much attention to the integration of program components
    • Work with the program budget
    • Be responsible for daily management through the life cycle of the program
    • Plan the overall program and monitor progress to ensure that milestones are met across various projects and programs
    • Manage program risks and issues that might arise over the course of the program life cycle and takes measures to correct them when they occur
    • Coordinate projects and their interdependencies between various projects in the program

    At Yalantis, we exceed our clients’ expectations by taking into account business needs. We determine why the client desires to create particular functionality. Thus, we better serve the business development processes on the client’s side and efficiently cover the client’s needs.

    Program management at Yalantis

    Below, we describe our approach to building successful program management.

    Our approach involves using a hybrid of classical and agile management techniques. Namely, we keep the feedback loops and quick releases of agile while achieving the budget and schedule predictability of classical techniques. Let’s take a closer look at this approach:

    Creating a program approach

    #1. Defining goals and benefits is the very first step we start a program with. Stakeholders and executives come together to produce a program strategy (program charter) covering the vision, scope, minimum objectives, budget estimation, resource management, and benefits. The brief is passed to the program manager to identify program contributors, project dependencies, risk factors, scheduling, and technical requirements.

    #2. Collecting customer requirements is our next step towards successful management of the program, and this is what we focus on most. Collecting requirements allows us to understand the needs, expectations, and constraints of the client at the very beginning. This, in turn, allows us to form the program scope.

    Read also: What role a business analyst plays at our company

    #3. Choosing the framework and the actual approach to program management is the step we take after we collect all the client’s requirements. Yalantis chooses among several commonly used frameworks including the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) framework, Nexus framework, and Scrum@Scale framework.

    An experienced program manager selects a framework that meets the client’s needs, and the main task of the program manager is to adjust program processes to the framework.

    When Yalantis program managers see that no classical framework will work for a particular program, they are able to create their own custom approach based on existing frameworks and adapt knowledge to the specific needs of a particular client.

    Building the structure

    Once the program scope has been defined, a program manager, together with a business analyst and a solution architect, can efficiently distribute the entire scope of work across program streams.

    At Yalantis, there are always project teams and design teams. A project team does what is needed now, while a design team does what will be needed in the future.

    The program manager leads the design team, and together they figure out how to build processes so that all components and all stakeholders work as a united mechanism.

    In addition, a design team has its own specific workflow. For example, a project team has the following workflow: to do – in progress – in review – done. A design team is focused on working with requests and on interacting with stakeholders. Below, you can see an example of a workflow for a design team.

    By using a program board with all requests throughout the program, we can allocate requests to different projects in the program. What projects receive within the program is a well-established process, with a clear impact, which is predefined by the program manager.

    Work with dependencies, intersections, and limitations of projects is carried out at the stage of creating the program board. Yalantis managers always work to minimize project dependencies.

    Decision-making in program management

    The decision-making stage is one of the main stages of program management. In order to identify the main decision-maker in the program, we use the concept of a technical lead. After the design team has developed a backlog for the release, it should be reviewed by the frontend, backend, QA, and mobile technical leads.

    Below, we can see part of the internal SDLC of the design team:

    A tech lead’s responsibilities as a decision-maker at the stage when the backlog is still on the design team’s side are the following:

    • Make sure all backlog tasks are possible to execute
    • Simplify the solution as much as possible
    • Make sure that product backlog items (PBIs) will really bring the value the client needs
    • Check what can be reused to save resources (third-party products, libraries, company’s developments)

    After validating all the tasks with technical leads, a program manager makes a high-level release estimate, after which the estimate is approved by the client.

    Creating program documentation

    Program documentation differs from project documentation because the focus of the program is on strategy, communication with stakeholders, and the RAID log ((R)Risks, (A)Assumptions, (I) Issues, and (D) Dependencies). Also, the program is more focused on resource planning and road mapping. Accordingly, the must-have documentation is the following:

    • Program strategy (program charter)
    • Program RACI matrix
    • Communication plan
    • Program RAID log
    • Resource allocation and budget
    • Program roadmap

    Yalantis tips on documentation in program management:

    1. Keep checklists flexible. Unlike a project, there is a constant release cadence in a program. Accordingly, there is a constant need for checklists and constant checks.
      We use no strict and inflexible rules. All teams have templates and knowledge bases for introducing checklists for processes. We also reserve the right for teams to adjust the writing of documentation themselves in a way that is convenient and customized for a particular project.
    2. Master the roadmap. Our roadmap allows each team to see its workload as needed while allowing stakeholders and program managers to see the whole picture and all dependencies, and to catch problems within the program.
      It’s worth noting that we have a rather flexible format for the roadmap, not the classic orthodox format. This allows us to immediately make changes and new inputs if they arise in the process of program management.

    Yalantis’ key principles for successful program management

    Yalantis program managers create custom processes in the program workflow. At the same time, there are many best practices that managers are constantly implementing, adjusting, and improving. Some examples we can mention below without using the information from projects covered by NDAs:

    1. Decentralizing the program to eliminate vertical management in the team. Formally, the vertical exists, but in practice, each project manager within the program is isolated. In reality, this means that each project manager has their own context and priorities. They interact with other projects only when they go to release some feature, and only to the level that is critically necessary.

      We delegate everything that can be trusted to the discretion of the project team. Only when there is an intersection of teams or complex milestones do we enable program management tools. Due to this, each team is able to make its delivery without dependence on the central office, which would slow down processes.

    2. Improving release management includes:
      1. Separating the release manager role. This is a technical specialist who ensures the accuracy of the development team.
      2. Using release calendars. By doing this, we see all tasks that are already scheduled by releases, with dates and progress bars.
      3. Developing on cadence, releasing on demand. Our release calendars are based on the principle that a release should occur every two weeks. Thus, the team knows that in two weeks there will be a release in any case — and it is up to the team what they put in the release and what they do not.
    3. Implementing a core team into the workflow. The scope of work for every program includes work with innovations and a proof of concept (POC). We have the option to prioritize this scope as a backlog in existing teams or to separate teams that will focus solely on the abovementioned tasks.
      At Yalantis, we use the second approach. We have core teams that mostly consist of backend engineers, DevOps, and QA specialists. This allows us to guarantee the client regular releases and regular deliveries within a large, scalable program.
    4. Focusing on dependency management. In order not to have a situation where a manager is burdened with all the tasks, we build effective communication between project managers, leaving the program manager as a facilitator and a decision-maker in conflict situations.
    5. Establishing a program management office (PgMO). Due to the program’s complexity and scope, this requires the support of a centralized responsible entity: the program management office. The PgMO generally has several members. Normally, more than one program manager is needed to handle all the demands.

    Mature PgMO in Yalantis

    At Yalantis, our PMO (Project Management Office) is responsible for working with programs. The Yalantis PMO is a large structure that establishes organizational process assets (OPA) and shares with managers essential knowledge in the form of templates, best practices, and lessons learned.

    Each of the Yalantis program managers modernizes the processes in their program as needed. After that, audits on processes are conducted to improve skills. There is also a peer review at the level allowed by the NDA, enabling managers to adopt new best practices.

     

    The strategic role of the PgMO is vital, as adjusted sustained processes allow us to solve the needs of the client rapidly and efficiently.

    Program management is about focusing on delivering strategic benefits to your company. Hiring a program manager ultimately means taking care of your product’s success.

    Seeking a reliable management team or an experienced program manager?

    We can help you with improving the management of project interdependencies and the impact of the program on business goals.

    Contact us

    FAQ

    What frameworks do we use to manage a program?

    It depends on the specific program and client. We might use the SAFe framework, the Nexus framework, the Scrum@Scale framework, or some other framework. We do not focus heavily on a specific framework, but rather on how to properly adapt it to the client’s needs.

    What is unique about our approach to program management?

    Our approach is based on a hybrid of agile and classical techniques. We keep the feedback loops and quick releases of agile and deliver a predictable budget and schedule with the help of classical methodologies.

    What is the crucial difference between a project manager and a program manager?

    In short, a project manager is focused on current tasks, while a program manager sees the big picture and takes into account strategic goals and objectives.

    When you’re looking for a reliable team to perform an architectural assessment, you should make sure their approach is right for you and covers your business needs. There are different assessment approaches, including The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) and the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM), each of which has its own use cases and architecture checklists.

    In this article, we will share how we conduct the architecture assessment process at Yalantis with the TOGAF approach and draw your attention to important aspects of each stage.

    But before we move to a step-by-step assessment, let’s look at what issues might lead you to decide that your business needs an architecture assessment.

    When to assess your solution architecture 

    Each of the scenarios below indicates that you’re missing something important in your business because of architectural issues. An architecture assessment can help you see all the weaknesses of your system and identify the main problem and suggest a unique solution that perfectly fits your business processes. 

    1. You can’t grow your business effectively because of poor integration or architectural capabilities. Let’s say you can’t scale the number of orders, as there are bugs because of some integration and the quality of orders is being compromised. Eventually, this slows down your business processes, and you can’t grow your business because as the number of orders increases, the number of problems does as well. You may also see the need to design and implement a high-capacity and defect-tolerant architecture for your software ecosystem.
    2. You want to achieve a competitive advantage. You’re probably thinking about becoming better than your competitors in terms of the variety of products or services, payment methods, website speed, delivery speed, or delivery channels you offer.
    3. There are performance issues that have gone unfixed for a long time. You may have performance issues with your website or applications. Waiting five to six seconds for a site to load is likely to make your customers leave. This means the quality of service will eventually decrease, and so will your revenue.
    4. An expected sale or investment round is coming. In these cases, a company usually performs an architecture assessment of the technological aspect of the company.
    5. The engineering team is frustrated and you have a high resignation rate. This is often the result of problems with the architecture of processes. For example, employees may leave because of complicated and inefficient bureaucratic processes.
    6. There are problems with the operational activity and personnel. A lot of manual processes or slow processes around some employees can slow down all business operations.
    7. You need to increase the velocity of your development team. When a company achieves a certain level of success, it’s necessary to upgrade its systems to achieve further progress. To make such changes effectively, the company needs a team of engineers, and to make such changes quickly, it needs a large number of them. You may plan to expand your team from four to 20 developers. In this case, it’s important to conduct an architecture assessment to determine how these people will effectively cooperate. If your architect correctly splits the work into teams and teams into the system, then a large number of people can work together efficiently. If teams are not decomposed correctly, there will be unnecessary dependencies between systems and teams, leading to low velocity.

    Now that there’s an understanding of when to pay attention to your application architecture, let’s take a step-by-step approach to architecture assessment.

    What does our general approach to architecture assessment look like?  

    There’s no universal software architecture assessment template that fits all cases. The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) can be a good choice if you need to perform an assessment for a large company, while the Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method (ATAM) is better for smaller companies.

    We want to take a closer look at TOGAF, as we use this architecture assessment framework at Yalantis. In addition to its great usability, TOGAF provides an integrated approach to the design, planning, transition, execution, and management of an enterprise information technology architecture. Below is a comprehensive diagram of what the complete TOGAF cycle looks like.

    If Yalantis experts perform an architecture assessment for a client, the Yalantis architect covers steps A through D/F. But if Yalantis experts also conduct product implementation, then we cover the rest of the steps as well.

    According to the TOGAF, software architecture can be represented as three main layers:

    • Business architecture, which defines the enterprise strategy, management structure, and key business processes
    • Information systems architecture (data architecture and application architecture), which describes the business processes and rules, system structure, technical framework, and product technologies for a business or organizational information system 
    • Technology architecture, which defines the structure and logic of the software and hardware environment required for business applications and access to necessary data; includes all supporting infrastructure: networks, servers, processing, etc.

    At Yalantis, we believe the best practice within this architecture assessment example, TOGAF, is to run three core stages according to the image above — business, application, and technology layers. By doing this, we can see the whole picture of the architecture assessment process. Thus, we can update phases inside each layer during our work. If we don’t run the layers in parallel, some of the major processes become invisible, thus affecting the result of your company.

    Read this article if you’re interested in learning about the core app development stages we follow at Yalantis, implementing development best practices, and ensuring development continuity and stability. Or try to explore more about microservices architecture in banking.

    Let’s look at stages A to F of TOGAF, which Yalantis covers.

    Stage A. Architecture vision

    The architecture vision stage is where we start with the TOGAF approach. The goal of this stage is to understand stakeholders’ main requests and get the necessary information for your future architecture vision. Key stakeholders are key players, who the architecture assessment starts with, and who the process always refers to.

    During the architecture vision stage, Yalantis experts need to define key objectives, stakeholders, and the strategy for interacting with them from the very beginning of the working process. To do this, we take the following steps:

    Step 1. Identify key players who are influential and of interest

    Key players might be the CEO, COO, product owner, technical manager, and CTO. It’s best to involve as many stakeholders as possible at the early stages to find out the main things they want to achieve. That’s when we use Mendelow’s matrix. 

    Step 2. Determine a strategy for managing stakeholders

    After identifying the key players, we determine how to interact with the main stakeholders in the client’s company using stakeholder management and stakeholder engagement approaches. At this step, we consider and plan how to schedule meetings or other interactions with key stakeholders. 

    3Analyze how the business operates

    Having identified the core objective, we gather additional information, which may include the following:  

    • How the business works (what to create and sell, where to get this product or service)
    • Who customers are (who the target audience is)
    • How and why to serve customers (through which channels, applications, or personal connections)
    • What competitive advantages your company has (better website UX, better support, more convenient payment methods, availability of an expensive domain name, etc.)
    • What business processes are (external processes are tied to how you interact with your customers and suppliers; internal processes are tied to how you evaluate the effectiveness of your business)
    • Where manual operations exist
    • What software systems are within the company (purchased or built)
    • Who the company depends on (external vendors)
    • Which external vendors there is a hard dependency on (hosting, CRM, service providers, etc.)
    • Which legal requirements must be followed in your business (financial regulations, GDPR, user data requirements, regulation and licensure in engineering, etc.)

    After we’ve gathered all the necessary information at this stage, we can move on to the next stage of TOGAF.

    Stage B. Business architecture

    At the second stage of TOGAF, our goal is to craft baseline and target business architectures. 

    The baseline architecture (commonly referred to as an “as-is” architecture) is a set of products that describe the existing software, the key business processes and systems, technical infrastructure, and actors that interact with each other. 

    The target business architecture is almost the same as the baseline architecture, the only difference being that the target architecture is what you want to achieve in one or two years.

    From baseline to target business architecture with domain-driven design (DDD) decomposition

    DDD decomposition is a method for understanding which entities are responsible for which modules in the architecture and properly allocating them. 

    • The purpose of DDD decomposition is to redistribute entities between available systems and redistribute system responsibilities and possibly reassign them. 
    • Eventually, DDD decomposition ensures that each business subdomain corresponds to a different part of the business.  As an example, let’s imagine we have a back end, an admin panel, a website, and marketing pages in our baseline architecture. The goal for the business is to make a mobile app and collect analytics.

    If some of your services are similar to an existing generic service, then think about replacing them with ready-made software. This allows you to remove the distribution of logic between services and avoid unnecessary dependencies between services (the fewer dependencies, the more reliably your services will work). Potentially, this will save developers’ time and your company’s budget.

    At this point, it’s also worth keeping in mind that we’re breaking down architectural systems so we are able to buy and not build those systems for which a particular company does not have a competitive advantage. 

    Eventually, the example above turns into a target architecture where we have divided the main API into three pieces: a back end for the app, a back end for the front end, and background cron jobs that have started to connect through the message bus. The message bus also makes it possible to connect the data platform for analytics to the ML solution for recommendations. Also, for the landing pages, we have moved away from a custom solution to a SaaS solution to save developers time. Finally, we have introduced A/B testing for the website and mobile app. 

    Our example demonstrates what the raw baseline architecture is and what the completed target architecture looks like with the DDD decomposition approach.

    Stage C. Information systems architecture 

    This stage covers both data architecture and application architecture assessments. Let’s take a closer look at these concepts.

    Data architecture

    The baseline data architecture is what we currently have in the architecture. At this phase of Stage C, we check the following: 

    • how data is exchanged 
    • in which systems data is stored
    • how data (i.e. user data) gets from one system to another
    • how securely data is stored and transmitted

    The target data architecture helps us solve issues connected with security during transit and at rest, data duplication, and unnecessary synchronization issues. The first and one of the most important rules is to minimize data duplication, which can eventually lead to data inconsistency. 

    A target data architecture assessment is conducted to understand where data is copied to eliminate extra data transfers. Excessive data transfers create unnecessary possibilities for errors. If data is stored in multiple locations, there’s the possibility of potential data inconsistencies. 

    When working with open source enterprise data management systems, it’s common to use multiple storage and processing layers in the data architecture, which often means storing data in multiple formats to optimize access. This can even mean duplicating data, which in the past might have been viewed as an antipattern because of the expense and complexity. However, with newer systems and cheap storage, this becomes much more practical.

    What doesn’t change is the need to ensure the integrity of data as it moves through the system from data sources to final storage. When we talk about data integrity, we mean being able to ensure that data is accurate and consistent throughout our data pipelines. To ensure data integrity, we must know the lineage of all data as it moves through the system.

    At this point, your expert team also eliminates any delays. For example, say there are a lot of problems with delays in the data warehouse, namely when reporting is done daily, which is a long process for most companies. Modern log streaming systems allow reports to be updated in real-time, in a matter of seconds. 

    You also may consider detecting cloud security risks and empowering security in your application development due to the predicted number of threats in 2022. Our experts can help you out here due to our extensive cybersecurity expertise. 

    In the next section, we describe the application architecture as part of the information systems architecture and answer a constant question: To buy or to build?

     

    Application architecture

    During the application architecture assessment phase, we clarify what systems our app consists of and try to optimize it with the buy or build method. According to this method, we should rationally examine what’s worthwhile for a company to build on its own and where it’s more profitable to buy existing software.

    When to buy

    As we mentioned above, our advice is to initially try to buy all software that is not for competitive features. Why spend countless hours having your best people architect a solution that already exists and is proven in the market — or even hire new people to do so? 

    If you’re looking for even more concrete evidence as to why you should buy a ready solution, then estimate the initial internal development costs as well as the ongoing maintenance required. The burden of product development, quality assurance, maintenance, platform migration, and patch fixes are owned by the solution provider, while in-house development might require years of continued work beyond the initial project scope.

    Pro tip: If you want to buy a system, you can easily compare SaaS solutions on G2, the world’s largest marketplace where companies can discover and review technology. Another option that’s actually free is to use an open-source solution. In this case, we only need to host the solution ourselves, but the code itself is maintained by the open-source community. 

    When to build

    First and foremost, we build a system when it brings the client’s business a competitive advantage. Also, when applying unique intellectual property or creating genuinely novel capabilities for end customers, custom development may be ideal. Another time when you may choose to build your own solution is if there is no existing software that fits.

    Often, technical specialists want to build all the necessary software themselves. But such a desire should be a red flag. Typically, it means that the DDD decomposition phase has been done incorrectly — namely, that the business architecture has been broken incorrectly into other systems. In that case, the architecture should be reconsidered.

    Let’s cover how it looks in the technology layer of TOGAF and how to make efficient technology choices.

    Stage D. Technology architecture

    The technology architecture baseline allows you to see what we have in the architecture eventually. Then, based on the target architecture, we can decide whether existing technology choices are sufficient or whether we need to change them. After making a decision at stage C between buying ready-made systems or making your own, now we can decide on the technology architecture for systems we’ve decided to build on our own. 

    If you decide to build your own system, you have to choose languages, databases and hosting. Of course, your team of experts can find the best solution based on your business needs and the job market (for example, which engineers are easier to acquire). But it’s also useful to take advantage of additional resources when choosing a technology.

    ThoughtWorks consultants have a blog to guide you in choosing technologies that are currently working on the market. Once or twice a year, updates to their technology radar help experts decide what’s worth using and what technologies or tools should be ignored. 

    • The adopt circle contains technologies that are recommended for implementation in all organizations, both large and small. 
    • The trial circle gives you technologies that main business processes shouldn’t rely on. Technologies that have been popular on the market for only one or two years are usually high-risk and should be avoided for important business processes like those on which your sales depend. 
    • The assess circle is about technologies that have not passed the test of time, as they are brand-new. These are not worth using for mature and established businesses. 
    • The hold circle contains technologies that should not be used by any business for any processes.

    We also advise being guided by the amount of time technology has been around. If technology has been actively used in the market for more than five years, it’s most likely established and will be popular in the next five years as well, making it safe to use. 

    Read also: Choosing a tech stack for full-cycle web application development

    Stage E. Opportunities and solutions

    At this stage, we need to break down the scope of work into several solutions. To do that, first, it’s necessary to understand the entire scope of work. For this, we compare baseline and target architectures and identify the differences between them at all levels: business, data and application, and technology. 

    After that, we need to make a separate solution for each difference that we have identified previously. Usually, the solution consists of a user story map, infrastructure diagram, and tasks for developers.

    After stage E, where we turn all our previous work into a visual scope, we move to the final stage of the TOGAF approach.

    Stage F. Migration planning

    The goal of the last stage is to create a comprehensible roadmap. To do this, we need to go through an architecture checklist to understand who exactly is going to perform the scope of work and how many teams are needed. The solutions created in stage E should already be estimated and arranged in the right order in the roadmap. If there are any dependencies between solutions, this should be taken into account and mapped.

    Crafting a roadmap is often the responsibility of business owners. If Yalantis performs the architectural assessment, we suggest our version of the roadmap so there’s an understanding of when everything will be implemented. But even then, the final decision is always up to the business owners.

    As a result of going through our full architecture development cycle, we have:

    • completed the entire architectural part of the project
    • clearly understood change requests
    • analyzed the architecture
    • offered solutions
    • attained a delivery roadmap

    After the architecture development cycle at Yalantis, you just have to make sure that your roadmap is executed and that the solutions we offered are implemented by your developers (Stage G according to TOGAF). After that, you can evaluate the results of the work (Stage H) and start the next cycle of architecture assessment. 

    Usually, in product companies, such an assessment cycle is carried out once or twice a year. For fast-growing companies, there is a need to conduct architecture assessments once every quarter. 

    Yalantis experts can offer IT consulting services in case you have any questions left about TOGAF. But we would also like to mention what you should pay attention to when choosing the team to perform your architecture assessment.

    Who should perform an architecture assessment?

    When it comes to choosing who should perform your company’s architecture assessment, there are three options.

    #1 Perform an assessment with your internal team

    Typically, you can do such an assessment with the help of your solution architect, CTO, or even lead developer.

    The benefit of this approach is that it can be done rapidly and at no extra cost. The drawback, however, is that it usually requires more skills for solution architecture evaluation than it does for implementation. If you’re interested in lowering development costs, you can find an external partner for the assessment and then use a relatively less skilled in-house team for the actual implementation.

    #2 Work with a consulting agency

    You can choose between consulting agencies such as McKinseyBain & Company, and PwC. The peculiarity here is that they only perform an architecture assessment but don’t do the architecture implementation. In this case, you will have to use your internal team or another vendor for implementation. 

    In general, this approach works well when you want to evaluate your business strategy first and then adapt the architecture to the new strategy. If your goal is to evaluate your internal team and their choices, then this option is perfect as well. The disadvantage is that working with a consulting agency is more costly than other approaches, and it only makes sense for companies who can easily afford it.

    #3 Work with a software engineering company

    You can also get help from an independent software engineering company. A software engineering company can cover both assessing your architecture and implementing the scope of work. 

    This is the best approach when you want to achieve results as quickly as possible, involving external development resources. Working with a software engineering company is the fastest way to get your business idea to the market. Why? First, the company can start development immediately after the assessment. Second, the company will provide you with a development team, and you will not have to spend time on hiring and onboarding.

    Yalantis can both cover your solution architecture assessment with the TOGAF or ATAM approach and implement your solution. We also offer infrastructure assessment as part of our site reliability engineering services. We provide multiple services, including development team augmentationcustom software development, and IT consulting.

    Want to work with us?

    We can help you perform an architecture assessment and implement effective solutions for your business needs.

    See Yalantis’ expertise

    Over the last decade, the outsourcing market has changed dramatically. Some historically common cons and pros of outsourcing are already largely irrelevant, though they may still be persuasive enough for many organizations to hire an in-house team. However, in 2021, companies started opting for outsourcing more frequently than before the COVID-19 pandemic, and this tendency continues even in 2023.

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    IT outsourcing gaining momentum

    Among the keen supporters of outsourcing are such giants as Nike, Google, IBM, American Express, HSBC, KPMG, and Toyota Tsusho. The last two companies, by the way, are Yalantis clients with whom we have long-term partnerships.

    The UK financial services company HSBC currently outsources IT operations to service providers in up to 14 countries, including their home country of the UK and even the USA. A 154 percent increase in the number of customers using the HSBC mobile app between July and September 2020 inspired HSBC’s management team to continue their digital journey. 

    Among many outsourcing projects, HSBC is now working on advanced analytics initiatives and robotic process automation (RPA) solutions, and they are planning to enhance the latter with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities.

    Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) can also benefit from software outsourcing, as 2021 proved to them the importance of rapid digitalization. A 2021 survey by Harris Poll on behalf of Salesforce of 2,534 SMB leaders worldwide revealed that more than half of SMBs accelerated their investments in new technologies in 2021. 

    Read further if you aren’t sure whether outsourcing is worth it and want to make the right choice. In this blog post, we’ll show you the real and unbiased side of in-house development vs outsourcing. First, let’s have a look at the challenges you may face if you opt for hiring a software development team in-house.

    Four challenges of in-house software development vs outsourcing

    In-house development obviously has its bright sides, like deep team involvement in the development process and possibly better culture and communication fit as compared to outsourcing. However, recent events have changed the picture, and now hiring an in-house development team may be more challenging than in pre-pandemic times. Below are four of the most impactful challenges that complicate the process of hiring in-house IT teams.

    Challenge #1. High costs of in-house vs outsourcing development 

    The high cost of in-house developers is an obvious challenge, but it’s also one of the most impactful. According to the 2022 Global Software Outsourcing Trends and Rates Guide by Accelerance, the total cost of working with the average internal team is almost two times higher than the cost for an average outsourcing team. Apart from salaries, the total cost of working with in-house employees includes:

    • Personnel maintenance (sick leaves, vacations)
    • Workspace maintenance
    • Additional support from the HR department, recruiters, managers, etc.

    According to Indeed, software developers in the US earn an average of $116,182 per year (the average across entry-level to senior-level positions). And only 63 percent of 3,140 respondents to Indeed’s survey on salary satisfaction rate were satisfied with their salaries. Therefore, it might be not only difficult to hire skilled software engineers in the US but also to ensure they’re satisfied with the salaries you can offer.

    When signing a contract with a mature outsourcing software agency, you can save money and still get quality services. Learn how to staff your software project in conditions of the overheated IT outsourcing market.

    Challenge #2. Adopting a new tech stack or shifting to a different one may require rapid team scaling

    According to Gartner’s 2021 CIO Survey, 69 percent of respondents (1,877 CIOs across different industries) are accelerating digital business as a result of COVID-19. Another global survey by McKinsey reveals that 64 percent of respondents (1,140 C-level executives across diverse industries) are planning to develop a completely new digital business model by 2023 to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving technology world. In keeping up with the pace of digital transformation, organizations may bump up against their inability to scale in-house IT teams.

    Another case when a team may need to rapidly scale is when a company needs to quickly shift a project from one tech stack to another. In such a situation, firing or retraining existing employees can be just as expensive and time-consuming as recruiting new ones. Plus, product companies often lack a clear recruitment strategy to scale quickly.

    The limited technical expertise of in-house teams may also hinder timely digital acceleration. That’s when outsourcing teams can come to the rescue, as rapid team scaling is one of the benefits of outsourcing.

    Read also: Digital transformation roadmap of your supply chain business: preparation tips

    Challenge #3. Increasing talent shortage

    The gap between the demand and supply of IT specialists is only going to increase in the years to come. According to CNBC’s Technology Executive Council 2021 survey, the labor shortage has become the biggest concern for technology executives worldwide in beating cybersecurity threats. A 2021 survey by Gartner reveals that a talent shortage is also the biggest barrier for businesses on the way to adopting emerging technologies. A rapidly evolving outsourcing market with a wide talent pool can save the day for the global IT community and bridge the gap between IT talent supply and demand.

    Korn Ferry suggests that the issue with the talent gap is only going to intensify in 2022, requiring organizations to come up with more elaborate employee hiring and retention strategies. And even if you aren’t seeing any signs of a tech talent shortage within your particular organization, it could still be an issue for you in the years to come.

    Challenge #4. Lasting tendency to work from home

    Working from home became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though many companies are now coming back to the office, many employees have gotten used to working from home and don’t want to change their new way of life. According to GoodHire, 85 percent of Americans are more likely to apply to jobs that offer remote or hybrid work opportunities. Telework destroys one of the main pros of hiring insourcing, which is the possibility to monitor employees and have more control over them. 

    The global tendency to work remotely blurs the line between in-house and outsourcing, as you can now hire a remote software outsourcing team and spend less money than on maintaining a remote in-house team. Logically, many organizations are now more driven to outsource than before.

    With the tech world expanding so quickly, we believe that currently, it’s much more beneficial to work with outsourcing partners rather than hire IT specialists in-house. While spending much time on the bureaucracy of hiring in-house, you limit yourself to a narrow pool of specialists who are not necessarily qualified for the salaries they request.

    Now, let’s consider concerns that might keep you from looking for a reliable IT service partner.

    Tackling common misconceptions about ITO services

    Let’s have a look at commonly accepted disadvantages of outsourcing software development that are no longer relevant. We realize that outsourcing companies differ in their size and the quality of delivered services, and for some IT providers these disadvantages may actually exist. However, we are concentrating in this post on mature and trustworthy software partners, for whom the following concerns no longer apply.

    #1. Lack of product mindset

    Often, clients perceive outsourcing as a way of allocating software projects to a team of developers not expecting from them anything but simple execution. Some outsourcing companies work this way, but the overall tendency in the outsourcing industry is to provide clients with all-around technology and business solutions.

    This means a shift from a project to a product mindset. Progressive outsourcing companies are now offering dedicated teams who proactively collaborate with clients and provide constant feedback on improving their products.

    Technology specialists in the top-performing outsourcing companies are becoming business-savvy and industry-focused to also serve as business consultants. For instance, Yalantis software architects offer our clients architecture design according to their needs. And even in situations when tech-savvy clients come with a solid belief that they need, for example, a monolithic architecture, our architects may not agree and may offer a more fitting design like a microservices architecture.

    You can explore more of Yalantis’ expertise, by reading our article about digital banking architecture.

    This shift from technical to product ownership can make collaboration with an outsourcing website development or app development teams feel like collaboration with an in-house team. Such a shift lends itself to allocating teams to distinct features of the product rather than separate technologies or platforms.

    #2. Limited control and lack of proper reporting

    Today, with a growing number of remote teams, you may not even see the difference between an in-house IT department and an outsourced one. If you prioritize control and reporting, you can engage in your project to the greatest possible extent. But such a high level of control is necessary only at the first stages of your cooperation with a new outsourcing partner. As your trust builds over time, you can allow yourself to loosen the grip and even rely on your IT service partner for tasks that require much more responsibility.

    Most outsourcing companies provide their clients with a whole team to work on the project, including a project manager (PM). You may request your PM to create a presentation outlining the whole development process so you can decide to what extent you want to be involved in the project. A company that wants to become your dedicated and long-term software partner will take all your requests into consideration.

    Read also: What a project manager does at each stage of the software development process

    #3. Security concerns

    Some IT service companies fail to provide clients with convincing evidence of their security practices and thus create a lack of trust in the whole outsourcing industry. Reliable outsourcing companies acknowledge the necessity of providing clients with a detailed explanation of their security measures.

    A reputable outsourcing service provider must have a clear security policy that ensures all employees are on the same page. Given each project’s specifics regarding compliance requirements, a security policy helps technical specialists make sure they comply with all security requirements during project execution.

    The presence of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and a security department in an IT service company can also be a good sign of a trustworthy software partner with whom it’s safe to sign a contract. In one more of our blog articles, you can find out about technologies we use at Yalantis to ensure a high level of security on our projects.

    #4. Lack of proper quality management

    Another common misconception regarding outsourcing software development is that your project will lack proper quality management. However, mature software development partners establish a solid approach to managing quality. You can look for outsourcing partners with Centers of Excellence and a Software Development Office, as such entities are responsible for spreading and accumulating unified approaches to software development and quality management within a software company.

    Plus, a modern approach to project management suggests a shift from focusing merely on budget and time constraints to focusing more on the quality and visibility of the development process.

    #5. Difficulty collaborating across time zones

    This issue you can handle by deciding to work with a nearshore rather than an offshore partner. However, even with an offshore partner you will probably still have a few overlapping hours to discuss important matters. Both nearshore and offshore outsourcing partners may ensure round-the-clock project development. While you focus on your core business during the day, your outsourced IT department can back you up when you’re sleeping.

    Time zone differences shouldn’t be a significant roadblock on your way towards building a close partnership with an overseas partner. But in case you have doubts, you can contact an IT company’s previous clients to hear firsthand how the company handled time zone differences.

    #6. Communication and culture gap 

    Some countries may have significant communication and cultural differences compared to others. At Yalantis, our European and US clients commonly tell us that we share lots of common values with them and have strong English skills. In fact, Ukraine took 40th place out of 112 countries in English proficiency in 2021, compared to 49th place in 2019.

    The outsourcing market is constantly changing, improving, and adjusting to current business needs. That’s why when beginning your search for an outsourcing partner, you shouldn’t start by thinking “I want a cost-effective solution, which is why I’ll go for outsourcing and agree on lots of tradeoffs.” Start with an open and unbiased mind. Even if you can’t have it all with outsourcing, you still can find a qualified partner to meet most needs that you thought only an in-house IT team could meet.

    Tips on how to build a trusting and productive partnership with your outsourcing team

    Once you find a suitable software outsourcing partner, you can work on building a trusting, long-term relationship with your ITO team. A long-term relationship, by the way, doesn’t mean that once your project is over, you continue paying your development team. It means that you can always return to your trusted software partner with a new project or simply for support with your already developed product.

    We’ve compiled a shortlist of actions you can take to ensure a trusting and fruitful relationship with IT service partners:

    • Facilitate deep team involvement in the project. Consider preparing presentations and town hall meetings about your company and the product’s role in achieving your company’s goals and mission. Such meetings help the team develop a stronger bond with your product and reach project goals on time.
    • Show initiative and learn about your team. If you pay enough attention to your team, their level of involvement will increase. Remember to express your genuine appreciation for team members’ jobs and regularly provide fair feedback.
    • Participate in daily meetings and other project-related events. You decide to what extent to be involved in your project. However, if a client often misses essential meetings, they may lose track of the project’s evolution and miss the opportunity to make timely changes.

    To reduce the level of anxiety when investing in a partnership with a new IT partner, you can start with developing an MVP or a pilot project. When doing so, you can check your partner’s credibility without huge risks. 

    And remember that not only your outsourcing partner takes responsibility for the quality of the delivered project; you also do, as the business owner. Proactive two-sided collaboration between a client and their outsourcing team is the cornerstone of a quality end product.

    What makes Yalantis a reliable software partner?

    Yalantis has been in the IT outsourcing market for 14 years and has evolved tremendously over this time. In this section, we aren’t going to brag about our achievements but rather share a few facts:

    • Most of our clients stay with us for more than five years.
    • On average, our employees stay with us for more than three years.
    • We work on approximately 45 projects annually.
    • Our team also provides IT consulting services to help on your digital transformation journey.
    • At Yalantis, we don’t overwhelm you with technical terms but rather clearly explain how we can solve your challenges using which technologies and why.
    • Your security is our priority. That’s why we have established a bullet-proof cybersecurity department and deeply investigate each project with regard to all compliance requirements.
    • We’re constantly adopting cutting-edge technology innovations and trends to ensure you won’t get a solution that would have been relevant three or five years ago.
    • Our domain-focused teams dive deep into your needs to deliver industry-specific solutions that increase your competitiveness and help you perform better than your rivals.

    Explore our Expertise, Services, and Works pages to see for yourself. We’re always open to discussing your specific business case, as providing cookie-cutter solutions and services isn’t our way of working. Let’s get to know each other to find a solution that can satisfy you and surpass your expectations.

    Need an IT partner with a product mindset?

    Consider Yalantis.

    Contact us

    Project success is all about meeting customer expectations. A well-established development process entails much more than conducting management evaluations and meeting constraints. But once experts identify every project constraint, it is possible to meet a client’s expectations.

    In our article, we introduce an approach to meeting strict project constraints by identifying bottlenecks at the early project stages, and gaining better software.

    Let’s start with the basics of constraints management.

    What are project constraints? 

    Project constraints are limitations that restrict the management of a project. In other words, constraints can affect the quality, delivery, and overall result of the project. As constraints are usually interdependent, if you change one constraint, others might be affected.

    Сonstraints arise when you have a set of project requirements, a completion date, and other factors that limit how you can approach a project. You may also be constrained by the technology available to you or by a lack of allocated material resources and specialists.

    Why consider project constraints?

    According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the triple constraint says that if we want to reduce the schedule while not changing the scope, we must raise the budget. And if we want to increase the scope, we must increase the budget or extend the schedule. Thus, if project stakeholders extend the project scope after the timeline is agreed and financial planning is done, the project manager may not have the time or resources to maintain the agreed quality standard.

    You must manage each constraint while balancing the others to achieve high project performance. If you fail to manage your constraints, the result can be low project quality and low customer satisfaction.

    By using project management techniques, detailed planning, and effective communication, the development team can greatly improve efficiency and thus product quality.

    Now, let’s clarify the main management constraints that we talk about in this article.

    Willing to see how we approach software development to drive performance, scalability, maintainability, and rich functionality?

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      Major management constraints affecting project quality

      When we talk about constraints in IT projects, we mean the basic triangle of constraints: schedule, budget, and scope.

      The main requirement for project managers in setting up the development process is to find a balance between the constraints in this triangle.

      Next, we’ll show you how to manage constraints through a detailed overview of each constraint.

      Scope

      A project’s scope is the set of deliverables the project manager guarantees to project stakeholders. The scope refers to specific deliverables that project stakeholders agree on. In most cases, there are no ranges of acceptability for the scope: specific items have been specified, and the stakeholder expects to receive them all — no more, no less.

      Yalantis experts define a project’s scope at the beginning of the development process. Further in the project, we use an Agile approach for avoiding misunderstandings among the team and being flexible in the whole management process. The scope of a project depends on its timeline and financial budget. Tight timelines and small budgets tend to limit the scope.

      The Yalantis approach to scope management consists of three steps. The first two are creating a scope management plan and requirements management plan. The last step is creating a work breakdown structure (WBS). Based on already collected project requirements, we make a WBS —a summary of the whole scope management plan — for dividing project deliverables and work into small components that are easier to manage.

      Using a WBS brings the following benefits for all project stakeholders:

      • Increases efficiency of project execution
      • Optimizes project scheduling
      • Facilitates communication
      • Helps the team, client, and stakeholders get their minds around the project
      • Helps to prevent work from slipping through the cracks
      • Provides a basis for estimating resources, costs, and schedules

      Schedule

      There are always several tasks in a project, each of which has its specific time frame that project managers must strictly adhere to. Delivering a project on time is usually a critical indicator of its success since any delay usually results in increased costs. The project manager must use their experience and precise estimates to evaluate how long the project will take to complete, which includes anticipating possible delays, setbacks, risks, and other unforeseen events.

      The Yalantis team manages time via schedule management. We can precisely estimate a project at the early stages before we have complete project details due to several high-level and in-depth estimates. 

      For example, we use a Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) estimate as a high-level estimate. ROM estimates the effort and cost required to complete a project. To calculate it, we estimate the scope three times.

      First, we estimate the scope at the level of requirements only, then with a UX estimate, and lastly with a UI estimate. We also apply a certain level of uncertainty for each round of estimates — 50 percent for the SRS (simple random sampling) estimate, 25 percent for the UX estimate, and 10 percent for the UI estimate.

      Using the ROM estimate, we can quickly know whether we can cover the entire scope desired by the customer. The main advantage of this kind of estimate is that it allows us to work with customer expectations as early as a week after the discovery phase. Being informed of how much work we can do in a given time frame is a huge time-saver for the client.

      Let’s take crashing as one of the in-depth estimates. There is a trade-off between cost and schedule when using this estimate. If the scope of work has not changed and the project is behind schedule, another option to reduce the schedule is to allocate additional resources to the remaining work on the project.

      This will help the team complete the project faster. However, since these additional resources were not part of the original plan, there will be additional costs if crashing is used for schedule compression.

      Crashing and other estimates that Yalantis experts use to allow the team to understand if we’re fitting within the client’s constraints from the very beginning. Once we have a detailed estimate, we use schedule compression — a technique to shorten an already developed schedule. The goal of schedule compression is to accelerate the speed of the project without sacrificing its quality.

      Read also: How we adjusted the development process to the time limits for one of our projects

      Budget

      The total project budget is another major constraint for the project manager because they need to find ways to complete the project without exceeding the allocated software development budget. Cost management is an ongoing task during the project completion phase because the project manager needs to identify any potential problems that could increase the cost of completing the project on time.

      A project budget indicates the maximum amount a team can spend on a particular project.The most important metric we use within budget planning is estimate at completion (EAC). We use EAC as a project cost estimate immediately after the first sprint and then regularly update it. If unpredictable risks are possible, we always warn the client about them. Scope reprioritization is one more helpful step we take to predict the total cost of the project at the very beginning.

      At Yalantis, our project managers work in tandem with business analysts to balance these three constraints to deliver the best results. For example, in our recent Healthfully project, we provided our client with a powerful, cost-efficient software solution under strict deadlines.

      Read also: What a project manager does at each stage of the software development process

      The next step for establishing the probability of project success is determining the other project constraints.

      What are the project constraints beyond the basic triangle?

      It’s possible to achieve project success using only the triple constraints. However, to implement effective project management strategies, it’s worth paying attention to other project constraints, namely quality, customer satisfaction, risk, and resources.

      Let’s consider them in more detail.

      Quality 

      Project quality is a measure of whether a project’s results meet initial expectations. At the same time, project quality is also a constraint, as there are aspects such as lack of communication, poor design or development skills, or too many changes to the project.

      If the schedule and budget come up against constraints, the development team in your project still provides the expected results for a client, because the team cannot compromise processes that relate directly to quality.

      Read also: Best practices for testing and quality assurance

      Customer satisfaction

      Customer satisfaction is another constraint to keep in mind because project managers understand that it’s not enough to get everything done on time and within the budget for the customer to be satisfied. Our managers always aim for a project to achieve our client’s overarching business goal. Accordingly, the more focus we keep on what can help achieve that result, the better the product will be at meeting the client’s needs.

      Risk

      No project is without risks, and it’s crucial to work with them throughout the project. Project managers have tools and techniques that help in choosing the right risk strategy and assessing the impact of risks on project constraints. So-called risk tolerance should be monitored by project managers too. Experts at Yalantis assess risks, examine the probabilities of significant ones, and estimate their potential impact on the project if they occur.

      Resources

      When managing resource constraints, the project manager also considers the availability of resources, both material and labor. While this constraint is related to the budget, there are also additional resource constraints related to availability and affordability.

      Let’s take a look at who monitors compliance with certain limitations and what roles you should be aware of in the process of constraints management.

      Read also: How we met strict project deadlines building a real-time election data processing solution

      Who manages constraints in the software development process? 

      To identify the primary limits of the project and save resources like time and financial budget, the Yalantis approach starts with creating a solution group. Each solution group consists of team members including a business analyst, solution architect, and delivery manager. They are in charge of figuring out the project’s high-level requirements as early as possible. They also comply with all constraints during the solution creation.

      The business analyst sets up the process of working with requirements (recording them in the requirements management plan) to avoid additional risks, deadline shifts, etc. They also create a vision for the scope in the form of a story map and clarify the product requirements, while the delivery manager is in charge of meeting the project requirements.

      In turn, the delivery manager must ensure the reliability of every team member involved in the development process. Teammates should have a clear understanding of their constraints, beyond their tasks and responsibilities. The delivery manager also organizes the development team and collaboration between developers, describing the developers’ tasks in detail. This allows us to streamline processes and coordinate efficiently without wasting the client’s time.

      At Yalantis, we consider constraints management not only as part of project management but as a set of discrete actions in the development process. Executing them, Yalantis ensures quality project management and guarantees project success. Let’s find out more about the actions we take.

      Read also: What role a business analyst plays at Yalantis

      Best practices to effectively deal with constraints

      Failure to complete the project within the constraints can harm its overall success. However, there are steps Yalantis experts take to avoid or minimize the impact of these constraints on the project. Here are some best practices:

      Create a risk management strategy. A well-planned risk management strategy helps to identify, assess, and prepare for any potential risks. It enables you to deal with uncertainties and challenges head-on and empowers you to build more high-quality project results. With a strategy in place, you can proactively resolve internally identified risks. Besides, a risk management strategy empowers your decision-making by assessing threats well in advance.

      Develop a strategy at every stage of the project. A proper plan helps you avoid typical constraints. The scope of the project can be understood with a work breakdown structure where each phase is broken down into tasks. A detailed listing and schedule of team member assignments will also be necessary. In this way, we can track the duration and control the costs of each phase. What’s more, we can take the necessary steps if something doesn’t go as planned.

      Smartly leverage resources. Balancing human resources is necessary, first of all to prevent stress and burnout due to overstretched resources. On the other hand, managers should leverage human and non-human resources to avoid underutilization of the talent base so as not to reduce productivity. In addition, inefficient use of resources can lead to project delays and budget overruns. Therefore, the optimal involvement of project participants is key to the business’s profitability and sustainability.

      Ensure transparent communication. Transparent communication is a critical factor for successfully managing project constraints. With transparency, all stakeholders know the project’s priorities and objectives. Let’s check the transparency-trust matrix:

       

      At the beginning of the project, we are always at point A. The new client does not yet know us, and thus we do not have a credit of trust. Our main goal is to increase project transparency and get to point C.

      We work in such a way that the client always understands what the team is doing and when to expect the result. Tools that help to increase transparency are:

      • First meeting. At the beginning of the project, we hold an introductory meeting with the client, introducing not only the people with whom we will work but also the methodologies by which the project will be conducted and documented.
      • Communication plan. We create a communication plan together with the client, stating when and with what tools our meetings will take place.
      • Recurring meetings and reports. We discuss with the client how often and in what form we will provide them with reports on the team’s progress. At the beginning of a project, our experts additionally give small updates on progress to the client once or twice a week.

      Conclusion

      Constraints management consists of many factors, and sometimes applying a few techniques will not be enough to achieve success. Managing all existing constraints is key because the efficiency and productivity of development directly depend on the quality of constraints management. If you need to manage constraints in your project, contact us.

      Need to manage constraints for your next project?

      We have the expertise you need to manage all your constraints.

      Contact us

      Businesses often spend much time looking for software partners with a specific technology or domain expertise. But as a project evolves, the necessity for additional expertise may arise. When that happens, if your current software development company can’t provide extra support and additional technical expertise, your project may get stuck. To ensure an uninterrupted project development process, mature and trusted IT service companies establish Centers of Excellence (CoEs) and a Software Development Office (SDO).

      Role of CoEs and an SDO in a software development company

      The existence of CoEs and an SDO means that a technology company has reached a high level of maturity and can guarantee that its clients get top-quality services.

      A CoE is a group of experts in a certain technology, domain, or skill within a software development company. An SDO is an organizational division in the company that primarily takes charge of software developers’ performance and improvement and provides support to developers. There can be many CoEs but only one SDO in a software organization.

      In this article, we’ll probe the services and solutions CoEs and SDOs provide in the outsourcing software development industry. Centers of Excellence and a Software Development Office guard your project’s success by:

      • ensuring that only competent and skilled professionals work on your projects
      • dealing with unexpected issues and disruptions in project delivery
      • providing for ongoing development of specific technical expertise

      Why do businesses choose IT partners with CoEs and an SDO?

      High technical competence of software vendors is essential, as the technology market is expanding and the business need for disruptive technologies is rapidly growing. SWZD expects that 50 percent of business workflows will run in the cloud by 2023, up from 40 percent in 2021. In line with that, cloud investments are projected to increase by a statistically critical four percent of their current volumes, from 22 percent in 2020 to 26 percent in 2022.

      Even though there are many ready-made software solutions on the market, they mostly cover common issues and needs. Clients who need to solve business-specific and non-typical challenges seek out companies with deep technical expertise.

      Plus, proficient software vendors not only hone existing skills on their current projects but also invest time, money, and effort into the constant development of their employees. CoEs and the SDO aim to establish and support a well-organized process of employee evolution within the software company.

      Thus, to smoothly shift from on-premises to the cloud, undergo a successful digital transformation, or implement any advanced technologies (e.g. big data analytics), you should cooperate with a mature software development vendor. Take a look at our extensive expertise at Yalantis as well as a center of excellence we’ve established for cloud and DevOps to provide you with expert and up-to-date services.

      Let’s get a closer look at a CoE and an SDO to figure out how your business can benefit from cooperation with a software vendor that has these entities.

      Read also: How to Prepare for Building a Supply Chain Digital Transformation Roadmap

      Key reasons to hire a company that has Centers of Excellence and a Software Development Office

      In this section, we highlight a few arguments in favor of working with a software company that has CoEs and an SDO. From the get-go, we want to say that choosing a mature technology partner may require higher investments than, for instance, working with an emerging technology company. However, the quality of work you get will reflect this, so remember to choose a software partner wisely and in accordance with your business priorities.

      Reason #1. Better chance to meet your business goals

      CoEs and the SDO support delivery teams in meeting your major project requirements and expectations by setting clear frameworks and approaches for successful project delivery. These frameworks and approaches get tested on multiple company projects and prove themselves reliable, allowing CoEs and an SDO to keep the company’s projects within set constraints.

      At Yalantis, we’ve established our custom approach to dealing with project constraints (see the illustration below) and provide you with value-driven project development along with many more offshore opportunities. During the software development process, we put the highest priority on your project goals and values, quality standards, and complete process visibility, whether you want to build a minimum viable product (MVP) or a full-fledged software system. With the support of CoEs and our SDO, you can be sure that you’ll get a product aligned to your business values and with the expected quality.

      Reason #2. Relevant technology knowledge

      CoEs usually share the most innovative practices with the rest of the organization and, in particular, with the SDO. CoEs are your point of access to broad technical expertise.

      CoEs and SDOs are mostly comprised of T-shaped specialists. The term T-shaped was coined by McKinsey & Company and later supported by Tim Brown, the CEO of global design company IDEO. T-shaped employees have broad cross-discipline knowledge and deep expertise in their primary field of study. Such specialists are versatile and drive the company’s progress.

      Thus, when working with a company that provides the services of CoEs and an SDO, you get a chance to cooperate with all-around professionals who have a vision of how to efficiently build your product from A to Z.

      Read also: How to Implement the Most Suitable Software Architecture for Your Business

      Reason #3. Established and consistent project and product quality control

      One of the crucial aims of CoEs and the SDO is to come up with a company-wide set of standards for project delivery and software development as well as to monitor that teams meet those standards. With standardized processes, a software development company can ensure that all delivery teams are on the same page and are striving for the same level of performance and quality. This way, software vendors gain the trust of their clients and build a reputation that proves their maturity.

      Reason #4. Project safety, knowing there are experts who can support the team in case of an emergency

      The fact that CoEs and the SDO consist primarily of T-shaped experts gives clients confidence that a software partner can support the project in case any bottlenecks occur. Apart from that, even at the initial presale and discovery stages, CoEs and the SDO can help assign the most appropriate team for the project. And if only the right people are assigned to the project, the need for extra support is reduced.

      These are four of the most common reasons to choose a mature software partner with CoEs and an SDO in place. Continue reading to learn more about the essence of these entities.

      Centers of Excellence: types, structure, and services

      In this section, we’ll elaborate on what CoEs are.

      Types of Centers of Excellence

      СoEs are classified by their focus area. We can differentiate two major categories of CoEs, particularly in the software development industry:

      • Technology-focused CoEs choose as their field of study any technology. It can be a programming language (JavaScript, .NET, Java, Ruby) or an advanced technology like artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML).
      • Domain-focused CoEs are built around particular domains depending on the industry in which an IT services company operates. For instance, technology vendors can build supply chain, healthcare, real estate, or FinTech CoEs to gather and spread domain-based knowledge.

      Typical structure of Centers of Excellence

      Each software company has a unique CoE structure. At Yalantis, we have a global CoE which consists of separate thematic CoEs that support delivery teams. The global CoE shares policies, best practices, and quality centers with all organizational offices including the SDO, Business Analytics Office (BAO), Architecture Design Office (ADO), and Project Management Office (PMO).

      Depending on the project specifics, delivery CoEs may consist of expert delivery managers, business analysts, quality assurance specialists, security professionals, DevOps specialists, and other technical specialists.
      However, being part of the CoE isn’t the primary responsibility of its members. Thus, a business analyst in a CoE can also be the head of the BAO. Plus, each CoE has a motivated and enthusiastic coordinator or leader who manages the CoE’s performance.

      Common services provided by Centers of Excellence

      The main services that CoEs provide include:

      Knowledge sharing and centralization. One of the key responsibilities of CoEs is to form a knowledge-sharing community in the software company. After researching their areas of focus, CoEs share insights with teams interested in these topics. Thus, every new hire gets access to a wide knowledge pool. Plus, employees always have access to relevant information in their areas of specialization.

      • Research and discovery (R&D). CoEs also conduct ongoing research on the technologies, domains, or skills on which they focus. Thanks to such extensive research, CoEs can always serve as a source of reliable information in a technology company.
      • Consulting. Consultations during the presale and discovery stages are another service CoEs provide. For instance, a client may want to ensure that their software partner is aware of the specifics of digital healthcare or supply chain businesses. In this case, domain-specific CoEs can prove the company’s competency to the client.
      • Policy making. Each CoE develops a detailed framework for work in its specific focus area. This framework may include roles and responsibilities for developers or domain-focused specialists. CoEs also develop strategies for technical reviews, interviewing processes, and employee promotion.
      • Troubleshooting. Delivery CoEs promptly tackle issues that arise on projects to ensure a streamlined delivery flow and avoid interruptions.
      • Problem framing. CoEs can also organize problem-framing sessions with a team to understand and define a certain problem to prepare a suitable action plan to successfully resolve the issue. Apart from problem framing, CoEs may also conduct brainstorming sessions with delivery teams to come up with all possible problem solutions and choose the most appropriate one.
      • Ad-hoc expert involvement. Some projects may require the involvement of global CoE experts, like the company’s CTO, for consultation on ambiguous matters.

      Centers of Excellence fuelling continuous improvement

      Continuous improvement is a crucial characteristic of a next-gen technology company. According to the project management institute (PMI), the continuous improvement includes the following practices:

      CoEs are facilitators of improvement in the software development sphere, and that’s even partially conveyed in the word “excellence” in the term itself. We can even rename CoEs into centers for excellence in software development.

      CoEs aim to constantly re-evaluate the company’s work approach and update it if it stops the company from evolving. However, CoEs not only spread best practices across the company but also serve as hubs for gathering valuable insights from all the company’s employees. 

      In this way, a software company builds two essential communication approaches — top-down and bottom-up — allowing the whole company to improve at all levels. Top-down communication means clear guidance for everyone in the company, while bottom-up communication gives room for creativity and creates a playground for experiments. 

      We can outline the following CoE benefits:

      • Template delivery practices allow technology companies to achieve more with less effort and better quality
      • A knowledge sharing culture helps employees speak the same business language with clients
      • Top-down and bottom-up communication frameworks facilitate constant improvement and help the software company keep up with digital innovations
      • Formation of a trustworthy centralized entity within the software company helps clients ensure successful digital transformation for their businesses

      Scope of the Software Development Office

      The Software Development Office is a core department of a technology company that serves as a unified hub for spreading software development practices and standards as well as for managing software engineers’ competencies. While CoEs have more of an advisory and supportive nature, the SDO is a full-time regulatory entity that manages the entire flow of the software development process within the company.

      An SDO may have the following responsibilities:

      • Competency development. The SDO is in charge of the constant growth and development of software developers in the technology company. For that reason, the SDO composes and standardizes the competency matrix for all developers to make sure they improve to deliver better services to the company’s clients.
      • Competency management. Apart from developing the competency matrix, the SDO also has a broader scope of work for managing competencies by collecting all competency materials in one place, conducting unified retrospective analysis, and evaluating the competency of software developers in a timely manner. At Yalantis, we also have a competency evaluation platform (CEP), which allows SDO managers to check the current status of each developer’s professional growth.
      • Interviewing. The SDO standardizes the technical interview process, developing guidelines for hiring qualified people. All technical interview results are collected for further analysis. In such a manner, the company establishes a consistent and reliable hiring process.
      • Policy making. The SDO composes software development policies, which help software engineers make accurate and prompt decisions during product development. Plus, such policies educate engineers and keep them on the same page, increasing the chances of timely product releases.
      • Mentoring. The SDO assigns a mentor to each developer to help them during onboarding (for new hires) or to give feedback and track progress (for Junior and Middle software developers). 
      • Certifications management. As a result of competency evaluations, engineers get certifications that prove their knowledge and skills in a certain programming language or technology.
      • Community development and maintenance. Similar to CoEs, the SDO creates a knowledge sharing community, allowing for the exchange of experience and expertise among developers. Aside from the internal community, the SDO can build a wide external development community by organizing meetups and knowledge sharing conferences for other experts in the IT sphere.

      The fact that your software partner has an SDO proves that they care a lot about the proficiency of their developers. Of course, the mere presence of the SDO isn’t enough to be sure you’ll have a successful partnership with a technology company. You’ll need to check if this company’s SDO can deliver tangible value to your business, so ask for real evidence of the SDO’s achievements.

      What if a technology company doesn’t have Centers of Excellence or a Software Development Office?

      You may still think that the presence of CoEs or an SDO in a technology company isn’t that crucial for a project’s success. However, let’s look at the consequences of hiring a software company without these entities.

      • Non-evolving software development company
        The absence of CoEs and an SDO may mean that a technology company isn’t progressive enough and lacks some of the technical expertise you may need. A software company can have brilliant experience in a certain tech stack. But with the technology world advancing rapidly, software companies without CoEs and SDOs in place can easily lose track of global technological growth, devoting all of their time and resources to their current projects. Plus, the cost of development services from these companies isn’t necessarily lower. In fact, it may even be higher than for more mature and progressive technology companies.
      • Siloed delivery teams
        Delivery units in technology companies that lack such entities as CoEs and an SDO remain siloed and don’t have a streamlined flow for exchanging valuable information like product quality standards. Each delivery unit follows its own practices. The absence of unified and company-wide software development efficiency strategy leads to inconsistent quality of delivered products.
      • Increased risk of project failure
        Chaotic work organization is risky, as it can disrupt the whole delivery flow, lead to scope creep (unexpected deviations in the initial scope of work), as well as increase the project’s time and cost. Besides, a lack of unified and company-wide knowledge and standards increases instances of mistakes and bugs. Consequently, there’s an increasing need for reviewing the quality of work with increasing frequency and to redo or fix already finished work. It’s a rather common practice for businesses to first use relatively cost-friendly services of non-evolving software development vendors only to see that the quality of the final product isn’t as expected. Then such businesses search for more mature software partners to simply improve or even completely redo their product, which leads to high expenses. 

        For instance, suppose a healthcare business needs an application with high load capabilities to support millions of simultaneous users. The business executives choose to work with a software company without established CoEs, without an SDO, and without a proven track record in building software architectures that can cope with such a high load. On the software company’s part, they manage to convince the business executives that their team can cope with the task.

        The outcome is a software system that works properly for up to 10,000 simultaneous users. When the number of users exceeds 10,000, the system fails. The hypothetical healthcare company then comes to a mature IT service company to get help with the issue and fill all the software architecture gaps to fulfill the business’s initial goal.

        If your company is a mature business itself, make sure to choose an equally mature software partner to preserve and even strengthen your business’s reputation.

      • Inability to check software engineers’ true competencies
        If a technology company doesn’t have an employee evaluation strategy, you may not be sure of your delivery team’s true competence. Promises and words of praise are good, but in the business world, certifications, expertise, and actual work or code examples speak much louder. You shouldn’t trust a company that can’t prove to you the actual experience and skills of the delivery team assigned to your project.

        A technology company with centered knowledge and competency hubs such as CoEs and an SDO can prove a trustworthy partner with a streamlined delivery flow, timely product releases, and software developers with proven expertise.

      Final considerations

      You expect your software development partner to introduce digital innovations for your business, so it’s critical for your technology partner to be innovative from the inside out. Thus, the internal structure of the software development company you choose should also concern you if you truly care about your project’s success. 

      The most obvious and critical characteristic of a mature software development company is that it’s not technology-driven only. This is something you can determine about a company already at the discovery stage. Mature software development companies speak the language of your business and provide you with business-specific solutions by means of technologies. That’s exactly what we do at Yalantis. We work with you to learn your business through and through, identify troublesome areas, and offer prompt digital solutions.

      Expect smooth and on-time project delivery?

      Our CoEs and SDO have you covered.

      Contact us

      Finding a competent technical vendor who can solve your business challenges is only half the battle. The other half is making sure your partner employs healthy development practices that we talk about in this article.

      When you contact a potential technical partner, you should make sure they have a streamlined process and guarantee the continuity and stability of development.

      In this article, we introduce our approach to developing technical solutions for your business challenges. 

      What does our app development process look like?

      We’ve combined thirteen years of experience in app development with time-tested development methodologies to create a new Agile approach. In addition to offering visibility, this approach makes development predictable and easy to manage. 

      According to our approach, we first select one of three software development lifecycle (SDLC) frameworks we’ll talk about later and then adjust it to the project based on the type of company and your business needs. SDLC is a term used in the software development industry for a framework that defines tasks performed at each step of the software development process.

      Negotiation phase

      This is the initial phase that precedes the start of the project. 

      We care about the intellectual property of our clients, so we’ll send you an NDA right after you contact us and will sign it before we start negotiations. 

      During this phase, we hold several calls with you and gather the information that will help us choose the right technology stack, team structure, and technology solution for your specific business challenge. We also define possible risks that can slow down development or cause issues and search for ways to eliminate them.

      On the basis of this information, we create a personalized offer. This offer contains all information about your project, including the tech stack and team structure. Upon your request, we’ll also make a rough estimate of the project. These deliverables will help you understand how we’ll solve your specific business challenges and how much time and money you’ll need to build your product. After that, we sign a contract. Our SDLC starts after signing all required documents.

       Read also: How can you find and hire the best app developers

      Discovery phase

      The first phase of the SDLC is discovery. This phase consists of several stages:

      • Analysis

      Our business analyst conducts a detailed analysis of your company and business niche. They gather business requirements, conduct market and competitor analysis, and define end users.

      After that, the business analyst creates a value stream: a selection of actions that create additional value for the client beyond the initial request. The business analyst also creates a Business Objective Model (BOM) to document the project’s value. These deliverables are the grounds for further research by our solution architect and UI/UX designer. 

      On the basis of this information, our solution architect analyzes the project architecture and searches for the best technical solutions to solve your business problem. As a result, they come up with an architectural vision for the product.

      At the same time, our UI/UX designer creates the first drafts of the product’s design. Having discussed the look and feel of the product with you, the designer conducts UI and UX research, creates UI concepts, and picks a color palette.

      Read also: What Role a Business Analyst Plays in Yalantis

      • Design

      Our business analyst prepares a design backlog, functional requirements (what the product must do), nonfunctional requirements (reliability, usability, performance, etc.), and a document called the product roadmap outlining the direction and progress of product development. After getting the design backlog, our designers start to turn your expectations into a beautiful user-friendly design. They create wireframes that show how different elements (buttons, menus, etc.) are placed on the screen. When wireframes are ready, it’s time to breathe life into them by designing the product.

      Meanwhile, our solution architect creates a Software Design Document (SDD). This document contains API documentation, database architecture, technical requirements, nonfunctional requirements (platform restrictions, technology stack, infrastructure architecture, etc.), and quality metrics. After all the requirements are gathered, our security team conducts an acceptance test to make sure they satisfy the project’s general security requirements.

      • Requirements for the development team

      At this stage, we present the scope of work to our team members. A business analyst creates a product development backlog based on functional and non-functional requirements and business needs. This formalizes the product vision into the project scope for the development team. 

      Meanwhile, our development team prepares for the actual development. This includes transferring technical knowledge from the solution architect to the development team, creating a testing strategy, reviewing technical documentation, and performing initial project setup of all required environments.

      Development phase

      Each feature passes through two stages of development:

      • Implementation

      At this stage, the design is turned into code. We keep an eye on the quality of our products. So in addition to implementing the UI design, our developers conduct regular technical audits and test developed functionality. 

      • Testing

      When developers implement a feature, we test it, validate it, and register defects. For complex systems, we also activate automatic testing. After getting QA and Automation Testing Quality Control (ATQC) reports describing all defects, our developers fix them until the product meets the requirements and works smoothly.

      As a rule of thumb, we apply the Scrum methodology to our development process, which divides the whole scope of work into sprints. Sprints at Yalantis last two weeks, during which time we develop the particular part of the application defined in the sprint backlog. So instead of deploying the whole application at once, we work iteratively. At the end of each sprint, we deploy features developed during the sprint. 

      Thanks to this approach, you can see the results of our work every two weeks instead of waiting till the end of development. This helps us get feedback on developed functionality and correct the project plan to be sure the app meets your expectations.  

      Read also: Testing and Quality Assurance at Yalantis

      Release

      To be sure everything will work smoothly after deployment, we move to stabilization. At this point, we make a backup so we won’t lose data in case of an emergency. Then we conduct verification testing. 

      An integrated software development methodology and testing environment, as well as a production server, are crucial for successful stabilization and deployment. Our DevOps engineers set up this environment. After that, developed and accepted functionality is sent to the integrated development and testing environment.

      Finally, the moment has come – your app is ready to meet its end users. Sometimes, a product may first be released to a limited audience for beta testing and be tested in a real business environment. This is called user acceptance testing, or UAT.

      Post-release support phase

      We offer post-release product support services that enable you to enhance and upgrade your web or mobile app after its official release. With this service, you’ll be sure you can quickly make changes to your product if you suddenly come up with a great new feature or start receiving feedback from users on how to improve your app.

      Development lifecycle adjusted to your needs

      There are three SDLC frameworks at Yalantis:

      Adaptive SDLC

      This is the most widely used model and is ideal if you want to release your product as fast as possible. 

      Adaptive approaches focus on rapid delivery of business value in short iterations in return for a higher degree of uncertainty regarding the overall delivery. This SDLC framework is useful when taking an exploratory approach to finding the best solution or for incremental improvement of an existing solution.

      With an adaptive SDLC, the software development framework can start before the end of the discovery phase and be implemented in parallel with it. All functionality is estimated in small portions and taken for work after your approval.

      For this framework, completing the project within the budget and timeline is crucial, so we take responsibility for delivering the project on time and fitting into the budget.

      This approach allows us to make changes to the project in case your requirements change or you want to alter existing functionality. But if there are significant changes to the product, we determine which functionality can be replaced to fit the budget.

      The project manager is responsible for keeping the project within the budget constraints. Nevertheless, the budget needed to implement complete product requirements rises incrementally. When a new portion of requirements are created and mockups are attached to the project and approved by the client, the development team goes through grooming sessions and gives an estimate for fulfilling those requirements, based on which the whole project budget is then estimated.

      When an adaptive SDLC isn’t applicable

      It’s worth mentioning that an adaptive SDLC framework should not be chosen when:

      • The project cost must be fixed before the development phase begins
      • The client does not have the opportunity to be involved in the project on a daily basis

      Incremental SDLC

      This type of SDLC is used in several cases:

      1. You have strict budget constraints for the project.
      2. You already know the requirements for the increment and do not plan any changes.
      3. The product already exists and your main goal is to make changes, add new functionality, or improve existing features. In this case, additional technical research will be included in the discovery phase. 

      With this model, you’ll know the exact cost of development for the immediate increment. There are several things you should be aware of:

      • This framework freezes the backlog of tasks for the current increment before the start of the development phase. If you want to make changes after that point, we’ll negotiate an additional budget with you. However, we do not apply the strict change management approach to the following increment’s discovery phase. Until the discovery phase is finished, the increment’s scope can be adjusted to fit your needs. However, as soon as the increment enters the development stage, no changes in requirements are allowed. All changes and clarifications (which are not set out in the documentation) are taken into work only after an additional agreement is signed and appropriate funding is provided.
      • The development phase starts only after the discovery phase. Our developers wait for an accurate estimate of the current increment and get started after that.
      • The budget is formed for each individual functionality and may be revised in case of changes to requirements. With this model, changes will be added to the scope of work for the next sprint.

      When an incremental SDLC isn’t applicable

      The incremental model isn’t applicable when there are a lot of changes in the scope (all changes will go through the change management system, which means additional agreements and a budget approval process).

      Augmented team model

      This is a common model that’s used when you already have a streamlined development process and want to extend your existing development team with a few of our professionals. In this case, we fully integrate into your SDLC and implement the technical solution proposed by you. This gives you flexibility to work out the requirements for your product. 

      We also use the augmented team model for post-release support. In this case, the whole scope is unknown and will be formed on demand.

      Some important points when considering this approach:

      • The project is managed on the client’s side
      • The client just needs a team extension
      • The Yalantis team is fully integrated into the client’s team

      With the augmented team model, work is carried out according to the principle that the changelog is equivalent to the backlog. This gives the team the flexibility to work out and change the requirements for the product being developed. Responsibility for change management and budget management in this context rests entirely with the client.

      Who manages the process?

      We provide a project manager whose responsibility it is to make you feel as if we’re next door. The project manager organizes development teams and collaboration between developers and describes developers’ tasks in detail. This allows us to streamline the development process and coordinate it efficiently without your having to spend time on that.

      During development, the project management team ensures successful implementation of the project in each of its phases, follows the plan developed in terms of timelines, deliverables, budget, and risks, and manages communications and day-to-day operations.

      Your project manager is your single point of contact. You have no need to get into the details of the development process and worry about how the project runs.

      Let’s talk about other roles besides the project manager that are involved in development.

      Read also: Project Manager in the App Development Process

      Team roles

      The multi-layered development process requires a diverse team of specialists to ensure the quality of the final product. 

      Development team

      The development team is the core of the product creation process. It consists of full-time and part-time employees and creates the product that was designed by the solution architect, business analyst, and UI/UX designer. The development team is managed by DevOps engineers, who are responsible for bringing together the team’s work.

      Roles different specialists play in the project:

      Delivery manager

      The delivery manager establishes development processes to make sure the result meets the client’s expectations and requests. Their responsibilities include: 

      • selecting and setting up the most effective delivery method and lifecycle model
      • ensuring the effectiveness of the project team structure
      • facilitating the successful integration of the company’s consulting and solution development services to meet the client’s business goals

      Engagement manager

      The engagement manager is responsible for engaging new leads and converting them into contracts. Their responsibilities include: 

      • eliciting high-level requirements and providing briefs to technical teams
      • providing clients with preliminary estimates and clarifying scopes and expected budgets
      • participating in client/team interviews and discussions

      Solution architect

      The solution architect’s duties mainly consist of: 

      • designing the product’s architectural vision
      • creating and defending technical solutions for the assigned business task
      • resolving technical problems

      Business analyst

      The business analyst is responsible for: 

      • gathering business requirements
      • designing the product vision
      • creating the product roadmap   
      • managing a plethora of documentation-related duties

      Other specialists include: 

      • Customer success manager — guides business relationships with customers and resolves potential communication issues
      • User interface/user experience (UI/UX) designer — determines the structure of the interface and its functionality and creates its look and feel
      • Quality assurance engineer — responsible for ensuring that the solution meets business requirements and is free of errors and defects
      • Release manager — accountable for planning release windows and cycles across portfolios and components as well as for managing, planning, and negotiating all release activities
      • Security team — ensures the secure architectural vision of the created product and detects vulnerabilities
      • Automated testing engineer — responsible for running repetitive and regression tests that require constant iterations due to frequent code changes in order to optimize testing that otherwise would consume a large percentage of test resources

      How we ensure app development visibility

      There are three pillars of visibility at Yalantis:

      • Communication. We provide our clients with deliverables to ensure constant communication during the development process. One of them is a kick-off meeting where a sales representative introduces team members and their roles. During this meeting, we also discuss project tasks, expectations, and aims. In addition to regular calls, you can request a call whenever you have a question about the project or want to make minor changes. 
      • Progress tracking. Your project manager will document our progress in detail in a project plan document. Thanks to this document, you can always know what possible risks may stall development, how to eliminate these risks, what part of the project has already been developed, and what features are still waiting to be developed. Typically, we send a project plan at the end of each sprint, but you can request it at any time. 
      • Full access. We give you access to the tools we use, such as Jira, Confluence, and Google Drive as well as any other specific tools required by the project. You can always talk to our developers via several communication channels.

      The goal of our app development models is to create a great product by providing quality services to our clients. Thanks to our SDLCs, we can provide visibility over development, predictable delivery, and highly organized processes. All these are essential parts of a high-quality technical solution.

      Ready to work with us?

      We have what it takes to create an effective solution for your business needs.

      Contact us

      There’s a popular misconception that effective software development focuses on writing code. But any software provider’s main goal should be offering a technical solution to a problem. To come up with a competitive product, a development team should start with a thorough study of the market and existing solutions.

      Based on the results of this research, the client’s limitations (budget, timing), and the problem the product is intended to solve, the software development provider can offer the most effective technology stack.

      But the client can speed up and simplify negotiations with the service provider by studying the problem, providing recommendations, and knowing the particularities of their industry. 

      If you’re planning to start communication with a software development company in a written format to request a consultation, read this guide. You’ll learn best practices in how to write a structured request for proposal (RFP) that will provide your potential development partner with the most essential information. We’ll show you the logic of developing a request for proposal and decompose a hypothetical RFP into its component parts by providing successful templates.

      Tell about yourself and your market

      By describing your business in a nutshell, you help a potential development partner narrow the scope of possible techniques and define your business problem more precisely. Begin with stating general information on your business. 

      What problem do you want to solve?

      This is the most essential part of creating an effective RFP, where you tell about the market demand. Satisfying this demand is likely to attract users, leading to revenue. Alternatively, you can share the operational issues you would like to resolve.

      What is the solution to the problem?

      You certainly have an idea for how to solve the problem, so share this idea with your service provider. 

      What features do you think your solution requires?

      Features are actually of secondary importance. A common mistake is assuming features take precedence and describing them in detail in the request for proposal. 

      At the stage of research and analysis, a software development provider often discovers that some features that previously seemed essential aren’t necessary at all. At the same time, other really essential features may have been initially missed. 

      That said, stating features you consider crucial will show your potential development team how you see the logic of your solution.

      Are there any constraints the provider should know about?

      Don’t hesitate to provide any budget, time, legal, and technological constraints. This will help the service provider come up with corresponding types of solutions and offer them during the first call.

      Share specific requirements (if you have any)

      In the first message, clients sometimes miss mentioning their needs and requirements. This is because they suppose it isn’t the right time or they’re too obvious to mention. But we suggest stating any definite requirements, like receiving the provider’s portfolio or information on the technology stack, right away in order to receive high-quality responses and avoid misunderstandings. 

      Let’s take a look at the final request for proposal:

      We’re a California-based medical trauma center with 250 employees.
      We need to solve the following operational issues:

      – We have too much internal and external documentation.
      – Our therapists have difficulty promptly handling patients’ records for the past period.
      – We lack control of the overall workflow.

      To overcome these challenges, we suggest doing the following:

      – Using web and mobile apps to automate the flow of documentation so staff don’t need to handle paper forms;
      – Keeping all patient data in one place so that staff can easily access it;
      – Tracking all phases of the workflow through the web and mobile apps.

      The most important functionality for us is 

      1) access to patients’ EHR/EMR; 
      2) scheduling, changing, and canceling appointments; 
      3) processing prescription refills; 
      4) doctor profiles; 
      5) dealing with reporting documentation.

      Our budget is allocated for this year only, so we need to spend it till the end of the year. 

      Our staff is not accustomed to using an electronic document management system. They might require additional training to learn how to use the system. 

      Talk soon, Jason 

      Note that this helpful RFP has little to do with the technicalities. But it helps the software solution provider by describing the problem and the idea for how to solve it.

      Additional things to add to your request

      Defining metrics to measure, the scope of the intended project, and indicators of successful cooperation is challenging. It requires a deep understanding of software development processes. Moreover, it’s sometimes difficult to estimate the scope of a software project. Your service provider might change it after a preliminary analysis by consulting and offering more effective alternatives. 

      Optionally, you can share with the provider:

      An explanation of the intended scope

      Explain the work you expect the team to do so your potential partner understands the scope of the project and can draft their first rough project development roadmap.

       

      Metrics you’ll measure

      If you share what metrics matter most to you, your service provider can design an application with those specific metrics in mind. For example, if you’re building a table booking app, you might want to focus on: 1) the number of tables booked, 2) customer reviews, or 3) the specific restaurants you partner with.

      End goal of the collaboration

      Tell the team about your end goal. What will satisfy you as a client?

      You’ve sent an RFP. What happens next? 

      Talking about our company practice, after you proofread and send a request for proposal to Yalantis, a business analyst will collect your requirements, a solution architect will analyze the scope of your project, and an engagement manager will make sure your needs are met. 

      This will be followed by several calls devoted to clarifying requirements and providing you with rough and detailed estimates. If you decide to work with us, you’ll then sign a service agreement. A customer success manager will support you and answer your questions all the way from signing the agreement till the end of the project and its handover. 

      If you’d like to dive into the details of the preparatory and development processes organization, check out our articles on the roles of a business analyst and a project manager

      Keep in mind that a software solution provider will mainly focus on the problem your product is intended to solve rather than on the product’s features. The features will depend on how the problem is going to be solved. 

      No matter how basic or comprehensive your request is, a competent software development provider will ask questions and collect all the information needed to provide an effective solution. Still, you can save time by writing effective request letters.  

      Have an idea to implement?

      Now you know how to write an RFP

      Ping us

      We’re past the point when tangible assets held most of a company’s value. Most of a company’s value these days is found in its intellectual property (IP). If we look at the S&P 500 companies, 90 percent of their total value consisted of intellectual property and just 10 percent consisted of tangible assets in 2020 according to the study by Ocean Tomo.

      Losing rights to intellectual property can mean the end of an early-stage technology startup. Tech companies often acquire legal protections such as patents and trademarks before they release a product to market, but developers have access to their software before the product itself is released.

      How to protect intellectual property

      Intellectual property protection for IT companies can take various forms:

      – Copyrights

      – Trademarks

      – Trade secrets

      – Patents

      Depending on the nature of the software product, what’s considered intellectual property can be found in databases or embedded in code. To plan the most efficient strategy for protecting your project’s intellectual property, you should answer two main questions:

      1. What does my IP consist of?
      2. How is my IP protected legally?

      In the world of software development, we mostly talk about three types of intellectual property protections: copyrights, trade secrets, and patents.

      Copyrights, patents, and trade secrets

      Let’s figure out the difference between copyrights, patents, and trade secrets and how these types of IP protection apply to IT products.

      Copyrights

      A copyright is what you need to protect the way your software solves a certain problem. A copyright doesn’t protect the idea behind your product but rather the way this idea is implemented in software. Copyright protection applies best to source code, object code, and user interfaces.

      Patents

      A patent protects the idea behind a particular product but not the execution of the idea in the form of code. Patents often protect software architectures and proprietary algorithms. Another factor that companies should consider before settling on their IP protection strategy is cost. Applying for a patent is a complex and often costly process, which means that it might be prohibitive for smaller tech companies with limited budgets. Companies that deem it worth the effort tend to hire law firms that specialize in patent law to navigate all the complexities of patent acquisition.

      Trade secrets

      Trade secrets have to do with proprietary information that a software development company discovers and works with; trade secrets do not require publication and can be maintained indefinitely until they’re discovered by another company. For example, a tech startup develops a business architecture that’s optimal for its product. This business architecture will be the company’s trade secret until somebody else discovers (on their own) the same exact way to do the same exact thing.

      Protecting source code and making sure that information about business ideas – together with all proprietary algorithms – aren’t disclosed to third parties are the two biggest concerns most clients voice when they come to Yalantis.

      In this article, we want to focus on two types of intellectual property – copyrights and trade secrets – since they’re most applicable to our clients’ needs in terms of IP protection.

      How copyrights apply to source code and how to protect your source code

      There are two major aspects of protecting source code:

      – Product owners have to make sure that source code is their intellectual property and not the developer’s.

      – Product owners have to make sure that all details about the technical side of their product are considered confidential.

      How does copyright protection apply to source code? Creating source code is a creative process, which means that the result of such work can be protected by copyright law, as code can be seen as an original work of authorship. At the same time, nobody would argue that creating code involves hundreds of smaller tasks that are repetitive and cannot be classified as unique, and thus are not protected by copyright.

      This seeming contradiction is often resolved by the so-called “merger doctrine”: whenever it’s understood that there are a limited number of ways a task can be completed, developers or product owners are prohibited from using copyright to prevent others from using the same methods in their work.

      Read also: Choosing the Right Database: Factors That Will Help You Make a Wise Decision

      How can you acquire copyright protection for your source code?

      A copyright is the only type of intellectual property protection that is acquired automatically whenever source code is written or a program is compiled.

      It’s possible, however, to protect your code from other companies’ making unauthorized copies. To do so, you need to register your copyrightable work with the United States Copyright Office (or any other copyright office in a country where you intend to use the work). 

      The duration of a particular copyright may vary. It’s important to remember that though an application for copyright may be completed online, the processing of this application will take about four months.

      Sometimes, a company decides to release parts of a product’s source code as open-source code; other times, they maintain all of it as a trade secret. Either way, copyright protection can be applied to all code. As part of the copyright application process, you as the owner of the product are able to designate certain parts of source code as your company’s trade secrets, whereas other parts you can make available within open-source libraries.

      If you want to find out how you can file a copyright registration for your source code, check out these guidelines from the United States Copyright Office on copyright registration for computer programs.

      Read also: Secure Application Development: From Planning to Production

      Nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements as ways of protecting trade secrets

      On top of protecting their source code, many clients we work with focus on protecting the business logic of their projects. When they come to us to implement their idea, they ask questions about how we’ll protect their trade secrets.

      A trade secret is a very wide notion that encompasses anything from a new, more efficient way to run your business to a unique app architecture.

      The easiest way to protect your trade secrets (as well as ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries) is to sign a non-disclosure agreement with your software development partner. A well-drafted NDA or confidentiality agreement means that you don’t have to worry about entrusting information about your project to a team of developers. Trade secrets are cheaper than utility patents and do not have expiration dates.

      The non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that we typically sign at a client’s request contains a provision stating that the Disclosing Party (the client) owns the rights to all objects we receive in the framework of cooperation (i.e. to all code, ideas, and other information they share with us). 

      How does Yalantis protect your intellectual property?

      Yalantis follows legal best practices defined by Estonian laws and by European Union laws on IP protection – in particular, Directive 2009/24/EC on the legal protection of computer programs.

      We will sign an NDA at the request of our clients. We either provide a customizable NDA template or work with your lawyer to amend the agreement that is perfectly tailored to your business needs.

      An NDA can be signed at the very initial stage of cooperation. This means you don’t have to worry about disclosing any technical details and commercial information as we’re legally bound to keep all this information strictly confidential.

      Want to know us better?

      Great idea!

      Check out our expertise

      A project needs a business analyst like a person needs air to breathe. Does that sound too pompous? It’s true nevertheless. Let us explain why. 

      One of the main challenges during negotiations and up to the product release is to avoid sinking in unnecessary details and blindly copying others. If these things happen, the software developed won’t serve its purpose and the business will suffer.

      Say a client asks us to build a solution for speeding up employee onboarding and suggests specific features. Getting to the root of the problem first – instead of hastily implementing possibly unnecessary features – is the more effective approach. And this is when comprehensive business analysis services are a good idea. In this article, we are going to talk about the role of a business analyst in an IT company. 

      Business analysis in a nutshell

      Instead of building the app a client wants, we aspire to build an app that serves our client’s business needs by providing strategic planning. To discover those needs, our client’s contribution is vital, as they know their business better than anybody. We ask a client to share with us the particularities of their field of activity, target audience, and competitors.
       
      It’s difficult to overestimate the role of an IT business analyst who clarifies business requirements and unspoken nuances as well as validates the client’s specifications. Such an approach helps us build software with an eye on the end user.

      [Four key aspects of business analysis]

      Requirements elicitation at Yalantis

      A software requirement is a description of a software system’s functionality. Requirements elicitation isn’t about transcribing what a client says. It’s a collaborative and analytical process that includes collecting, discovering, extracting, and defining business, user, functional, and nonfunctional requirements.

      Requirements are gathered from uncategorized product-related information including product descriptions, features, types of users, sketches of screens, design references, links to competitors’ apps, and other documents that have been piling up on your desk for the past few months. All this information needs to be worked out by a software business analyst. In the next section, we’ll explain this process. 

      Discover more details on how we approach requirement elicitation and what deliverables you get to speed up and reduce costs for software development.

      DOWNLOAD YALANTIS BA APPROACH

        Business analyst’s contribution to the project

        A business analyst is dedicated to making sure that your app serves your business needs. That’s why a business analyst joins your team at the very beginning – at the negotiation stage – to help prepare an offer. During the discovery stage (preparation for development), the business analyst’s work gathers pace.

        Check out the app development stages at Yalantis in our article on the role of a project manager in the app development process

        Discovery

        All project deployment processes at Yalantis are templated and documented. This helps our business analysts elicit requirements faster and more clearly. Here’s the list of documents and actions our business analysts focus on during the discovery stage. 

        Business model canvas. This visual template organizes elements of our client’s business model. We use it as a supplement to other materials needed for the project.

        Value stream. This artifact helps to understand the scope of work within and beyond the system. It also allows us to figure out the roles and elements of the app, the sequence of development, and who’s responsible for what. The value stream is regularly updated and elaborated. 

        Competitor analysis. This analysis is conducted to understand what similar solutions are already on the market and what we can suggest to our client so they can successfully occupy their niche.

        Business objective model. This model helps us outline all the problems with a business at different levels and come up with suitable solutions to each. For instance, top management tends to see major issues while middle management tends to look inward, seeing issues in processes and resources. The business objective model is intended to embrace all issues.

        [Business objective model used at Yalantis]

        Feature map (user story map). The feature map aims to outline the work to do in order to build the most delightful user experience. The feature map enables us to picture the product as a series of tasks performed by a user.

        Development product backlog. This is a prioritized list of work for the development team. The business analyst creates a product backlog along with a solution architect, who suggests what technologies to use for development. Then a project manager validates these suggestions.

        Product vision board. A product vision board is the result of all the above-mentioned steps. It outlines the product, its users, their problems and how the product solves them, the client’s business objectives, and success criteria (for example, number of users and functionality).

        [Product vision board at Yalantis]

        We acquaint a client with each of the artifacts mentioned above to explain our findings. We also demonstrate the proposed solutions to a client. At the end of the discovery stage, we have an estimated feature map, which enables us to proceed to development. But the business analyst’s work continues during the development stage.

        Development 

        At the beginning of the development process, the business analyst clarifies and details requirements by communicating with the team and client. Then the business analyst generates requirements-based solutions and approves them with the client. 

        The business analyst also monitors designers’ progress to make sure the app design meets requirements. The app design is periodically sent to the client for approval and changes are made at the client’s request. 

        Read also: How Do We Deal with the App Development Process at Yalantis?

        Demo session

        During a demo session, a business analyst demonstrates the results of the development team’s work. As a result of a demo session, the business analyst fills in a demo repository, which includes notes related to the demo session and demo agenda. Thereby, every piece of information is stored in one place and is easy to find. After the demo session, the business analyst updates the product specification, which is also templated.

        Product specification

        The business analyst is responsible for updating the product specification. This document describes the status of a product under development and simplifies project transfer within our company, to another vendor, and to the client (when the product is fully developed).

        Product release

        At the product release stage, the client receives an updated product specification. We also conduct a final demo session to clarify all details related to the developed product and its use. It’s also common practice for Yalantis to offer the scope of work for the second product version. 

        The business analyst does their best to minimize the number of changes that developers might have to make during development. By doing this, the business analyst helps to save time and money along with helping the client gain a clear vision of the product. As a result, the client receives a product that’s even better than they expected. 

        Now that you know how proper business analysis should be performed and understand the role of a business analyst in software development, make sure your software provider offers a quality business analysis outsourcing. If you need to improve your business processes, we’ll be glad to build an efficient software solution.

        Seeking for a software development partner?

        Yalantis will gladly consult you

        Let’s discuss your idea