Yesterday I had the chance to pitch to two different clients who wanted our software development services, which got me thinking, what do they expect from me? And what do I expect from them?
If we get these two questions right we shall be able to build successful applications ensuring we are all happy and most importantly you the user are happy.
Let’s start with.
5 things a Ninja Software Developer expect from you.
- Written documentation of your idea and problem you are solving
This is important because if you tell me something I might forget or worse off, claim you did not say it. Writing your idea ensures what you envision is captured as you imagined it and you can review in case we need clarification.
This also ensures that there are no shifting goalposts one of the main causes of software projects delay.
2. Step by step flow of activities in the software (User Journey from start to finish)
Since software applications automate processes and are not solution by themselves, you should have a step by step guide on the process you are automating and how technology will be used to make the work easier.
For example: To post a photo on Instagram you Open IG, Click the + button at the center, Add a Photo or select multiple images, Click on Next at the Top Right, Filter your images to give them extra special IG look, Click Next Again, Write a Caption and finally Click on Share. 8 steps to post a photo on IG.
How many steps does it take your users to accomplish something in your app?
If you do not have a step by step flow the developer does not know where to start and where to finish hence the application has many loose ends and the customer is frustrated when using your solution.
3. Potential customer’s feedback on the problem you are solving for them.
I was taught that applications are used by people, hence to build a successful app you must find those people and get feedback from them i.e. if they are okay with how you are solving it.
Enter the world of design thinking, what we used to call user interface and user experience design and development, in my opinion the most important task in any software development process. Get this wrong and no marketing or money can fix it.
The biggest problem I’ve seen in our market is that people do not want to share their ideas, even with their potential customers so that it is not stolen. I cannot count the number of people who have tried to get me to sign NDA’s fearing that their ideas will be stolen.
I can assure you that nobody has time for your ideas. If you do not believe me do this. Take a pen think of any idea. I’ll even give you an example. An app that uses the CCTV cameras in almost all Matatus to monitor the number of people sited via facial recognition, and tells the Matatu owner how many people boarded the Matatu, and how much they should expect from the conductor at the end of the day. Go tell somebody this and just watch their facial expressions. Try spice it up with how you will make money e.g. If you got Embassava or Super Metro to sign up just 100 vehicles and pay you KES 2,500 per month per vehicle. That’s a total of KES 250,000 easy. 3 Million Per year even in Kenyan terms “ku develop ita jilipa in 5 months”
Is this an idea you can personally steal? Yes or No. In short my point is, people do not steal ideas they steal businesses, hence the reason why in our country if you open a Mtumba shop and people see that you are making money there will be 20 Mitumba shops around you in 6 months.
People do not steal ideas they steal businesses.
Ask customers what they think of your solution and how they actually want it solved. This ensures that you do not have useless features in your application. The Japanese call it “The just in time principle”.
4. Company profile
From your company profile the developer should be able to get your contacts, logo, corporate identity, social media handles and other relevant company details.
5. Picture to use in the application
Your application might require some pictures and I feel bad when a client tells me to go find random pictures on Google, not to mention that they should be primarily of black people. There are no good black people photos on Google!
If you want your application to stand out, try using a smartphone with a good camera like Oppo to take personalized photos. You could request college students to pose for you and buy them lunch or appreciate their efforts with a monetary token. We do this for clients all the time and they get good responses like, your app looks so authentic and cool. If you can afford a professional photographer the better.
There also so many young guys doing photography and creating an opportunity for them to try out their talent shall build their confidence and CV. Let’s stop reusing the same photos from google over and over and showcase our true African beauty, sceneries and authenticity.
Next time we shall tackle 5 thinks you should expect from a Ninja Software Developer.
Make sure you let us know how our little idea stealing experiment goes in the comments.