Have you spent any time this month planning or just daydreaming about an idea you have?
As a software development company, we speak to dozens of people each month at every stage of the idea process, from those who are unsure how realistic their idea is, to those ready to build a program, app, or website.
We understand that taking your product from concept to launch is a big deal.
Not only are there logistical considerations to be made, like deadlines and budgets, but there are emotional considerations to be made, too. Naturally, bringing your vision to life will feel very personal. At Endertech, we’re sensitive to this reality, which is why we take a systematic approach to helping you bring your idea from concept to launch.
Planning → Design → Development → Launch → Support
To give you an insight to our systematic approach, we”ll walk you through a project we completed with a recent client.
Recently, a client approached us with a product idea for software that would improve how companies manage their Standard Operating Procedures. Here’s how Endertech is helping Catherine Haight, founder of Lista, build it, the Endertech way.
Success starts with a clear vision.
When Cathy approached our founder Gabe, she had a big idea. She could envision the result she wanted but needed help creating a clear path to get there.
She knew that it was going to take time to find the clarity required to successfully translate her vision into a product. And she understood that she needed to work with a group of experts guided by ethics who’d prioritize listening, understanding, and looking for solutions for the best possible outcome. Which is why she chose to partner with Endertech.
We believe starting with a clear vision is the right thing to do AND the best approach to successful software development. We invest a lot of time and resources on the front-end of projects to develop a deep understanding of you, your vision, and your goals. We take time to work through potential roadblocks and address concerns head-on before they can jeopardize the building phase of a project.
Instead of giving you a financial estimate on day one, our software development process begins with consultation and planning, then moves into brainstorming and wire-framing, and ends with a clearly documented plan and a comprehensive project estimate.
We’ve learned that by following this system, and developing a set of documentation that gives our developers and designers the clarity they need to build your vision, everyone involved wins.
Just as you’d hire an architect to draft blueprints if you were building a new home, our team of experts work with you to draft a plan for your project to succeed. This planning usually accounts for only 5-10% of the overall project budget, yet delivers an estimate, barring change orders, that allows you to be confident about your total costs and timeline.
But it’s important to note, we don’t expect to create perfect plans. We understand that there will be discovery and new information to consider as the building occurs. So it’s important to maintain flexibility. In fact, we guide our clients to start as simply as possible, with an MVP – minimally viable product. In our experience, keeping a new project lean allows for the most agile and impactful adjustments and growth once the product launches and user-feedback starts coming in.
The most important consideration in the planning phase is that we don’t want to get into a situation where major changes to the code are required because that can be expensive and time-consuming. Just imagine building a home with a kitchen on the wrong side of the house. How upsetting would it be to have to tear that down, revise, and rebuild? We take the time to build out a clear vision to avoid big mistakes.
How did we create a blueprint of Cathy’s vision?
We kicked off the blueprint phase with an in-person meeting in our Los Angeles office.
A group of Endertech designers and developers met with Cathy and listened to her ideas, asked her questions, and covered several whiteboards in notes – detailing how the user would experience her program, choices she had relating to functions, and enough to allow our team to analyze how they’d need to approach building Lista.
Cathy returned to our office one week later to meet with the team again.
She was able to review the wireframes we’d developed, translating the breakdown of how her idea for Lista would come to life as an app. We discussed the big picture and small details from a development perspective and from a design angle to ensure that we’d understood what she wanted.
We continued meeting every week to review the progress of the wireframes and the gradual development of Cathy’s idea into a tangible, functional plan.
These initial wireframes were very low-fi to help everyone, including Cathy, solidify what the concept would look like. Beginning with low-fi wireframes allowed Cathy to quickly see a vision of what she said she wanted and allowed her to start considering factors and decisions that hadn’t occurred to her yet.
We began to work into a deeper level of detail, asking things like what functions should exist, where buttons should go, what things should be named, what security rules should exist, and much more… all factors that are critical for the person building and coding the site to understand.
Once Cathy’s vision for her product was sufficiently captured and detailed in wire-frame format, we used those wire-frames to produce the project backlog.
Founder & CEO
Founder & CEO
& master your craft.
Computers are amazing.
Strong families are needed.
I enjoy music, aquaria, and being green!
LEAD Backend Developer
LEAD Backend Developer
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Joined Endertech in June 2014
I believe design is form in the service of function. I’m passionate about making the Internet more usable and accessible through good design.
simple pleasures: cooking & coding
The project backlog is the written set of instructions for the software developers. It’s the actual blueprint for your concept – a set of tasks, each broken down to no more than a few days of estimated effort. It covers technical details like database structure, workflow and validation rules, security, and the other non-visual aspects of any complex software project.
This outline provides the level of detail needed to create both an accurate estimate and clear instructions that the developers need to make good on that estimate.
Finally, Cathy and her team got to try out Lista!
After building out an MVP, we invited Cathy to test the earliest Lista prototypes.
As we approach the official launch of Lista, we rely on feedback from non-technical users. This testing process allows us to gauge what “normal” users think and experience that us techies might take for granted. Taking the real-life user experience into consideration during the building process allows Endertech to produce a product with a high degree of polish for our clients.
During testing, users have been impressed with the high level of functionality combined with intuitive ease when creating procedure lists.
It’s great to see our planning paying off, as we knew that this could only be possible with a more structured system underlying the development end.
Thankfully, because of the intense planning stage, we were able to take the time to find the best solution, in this case, it was ReactJS.
We also knew that in the future, Lista would evolve into a native app version with potential 3rd party integrations, so we set up an API based backend from the beginning to set Cathy up for her future growth and success.
Seeing how well ReactJS and the API platform perform in testing proves that planning is a key to success. But by taking the time to understand where Cathy’s vision for her products and for her future, we were able to find the best solutions to help her succeed.
Idea to launch – the short version.
The nature of building a software product, plucked from the imagination, requires regular communication, testing, and adjusting. It can be an intimidating, frustrating, and confusing process. But at Endertech, we prefer to make is an approachable, exciting, and engaging one instead.
We believe in investing time up-front to really understand our clients and to document a clear path to success while allowing flexibility for the natural evolution of the creative process. We like to be honest, transparent, and clear.
Thanks to good communication, openness, and a fluid approach to building, we developed something powerful that our client loves. She felt the value each step of the way, with our regular face to face meetings as we tailored Lista to mirror her dream.
Quality takes time, commitment, communication and we’re here for it. We’re here for you. We’re here for your success.
And with our simple, sincere desire to make software development exciting for you, we’d love the opportunity to honestly advise you on what we think the wisest approach to developing your new product is.