The idea of custom software development is more than just writing many lines of code. An effective IT outsourcing company needs to deeply analyze IT projects before they start. This understanding is based on the following components. First, the customer’s idea of what is needed. Second, the IT vendor’s perspectives based on its experience, capabilities, and the limits of the possible. Third, a creative mixture of the aforementioned angles. In this piece, we would like to describe how we handle this analytical process. The best first step is to talk about impact mapping.
Impact Mapping: Definition
Basically speaking, Impact Mapping is a planning technique enabling your team to set goals as well as to visualize how they will be attained. In our practice, we understand it as an algorithm to ask a sequence of simple questions: why, who, how, and what. With these questions answered, we can build a clear and promising picture in a diagram form.
– Why: the IT project goal
– Who: roles and responsibilities involved in the IT project
– How: how these roles and responsibilities can be applied and improved to implement the IT project
– What: the features to be implemented
NB: If you want to learn more about this theoretical approach, we recommend this website. Below, we are going to focus on the practical aspects.
Preparing for the meeting with our customer
Even though we realize a joint brainstorming session is the best way to define the project scope and success criteria, we start a thorough preparation process in advance, before the first face-to-face engagement.
At this stage, we see our main goal as proposing our answers to the question “why” on our own. That is, to determine the purpose of the project based on preliminary information available to us.
That is the crucial stage. We need only to identify the goal of the IT project. One also needs to propose a way to measure it, i.e. the final goal needs to encompass an exact figure with which one will compare before and after.
At this phase, we offer our fresh perspective and try to engage the customer in a dialogue. The key to success here is to provide enough space for a discussion: our future customers need to come to a conclusion. And it is Evercode Lab’s job to help them.
Such a brainstorming session may take a considerable amount of time, but it is worth this. IT vendors are expected to show patience in clarifying, correcting, and directing the line of thinking when needed. However, it is always the customer who has the final word on the project. It is also necessary to set an exact date for measuring the project goals. These deadlines are of great value to the customer to evaluate the actual deliverables.
Who, How, and What
Once the answers are answered successfully, every “why” generates “who”, “how”, and “what”. This tree may look like this.
– Who is in the right position to attain the desired result on our end and the customer’s side? Who are the impediments?
– Who are the users of the future product?
– Who is the target audience for the future product?
– Whose behavior should be altered via the future product?
– Whose life must be changed to achieve the goal?
As a result, at this stage, we generate a list of business roles involved in our IT project.
– Our business ideas and proposal: how can they help achieve the goal?
– How will the desired changes take place?
As a result, at this stage, we generate a list of functional requirements.
– What can Evercode Lab do, as an organization and custom software development team, to create the required impacts?
As a result, at this stage, we generate a list of product features.
Impact Mapping is the first of the set of tools Evercode Lab applies to “tune” our future development activities to develop a truly customized product.