Software services firm DevFactory outlines this all-too-common scenario in the IT services world: a deadline is put in place early for a project that is extremely important to a company’s continued success and industry performance. Many of the typical avenues are pursued to achieve this goal: placing unrelated staff on the project to hasten its completion and ensure quality, working extended hours to meet the time deadline and feature requests without proper planning, and coding the software without continuous testing and debugging.
When the client receives the software, they are disappointed with the results. They simply didn’t receive the high level of quality they were assured from the start. Why does this scenario happen so often, and what can be done to combat it?
The answer, remarkably, is to take a lesson from the manufacturing industry when it comes to your IT services and software production.
Think about any large-scale manufacturing procedure you see operating today. There’s a very simple principle at work: quality enforced every step of the way, and efficiency through lean manufacturing. The goal is to produce the greatest number of products – at high quality – with the lowest operating costs possible. This principle is achieved through a few well-developed systems at work, such as continuous testing and improvement, quality assurance, automation and process efficiency.
The question firms like DevFactory want prospective clients to answer is, why don’t software services follow these design principles? This holds particularly true when it comes to producing, maintaining or testing quality software. Software that does not adhere to rigorous and well-defined production standards with a focus on cutting client costs and producing the highest quality end product is simply not properly aligned with the customer.
Why would any customer choose an IT services firm that doesn’t place the top focus on his or her success and budget?
Shifting the Paradigm of Software Development
Companies like DevFactory are changing the way clients perceive software services in the market today. Their answer is to turn to this aforementioned style within the manufacturing industry and apply it to software development, testing and maintenance. The manufacturing industry has mastered the art of providing clients with the greatest value at the highest possible level of quality. When this design focus is applied to software services, clients can rest assured that their rigorous and specific demands for quality are met.
Take a look at how the design principles of industrial engineering and manufacturing, when applied to IT services, directly contribute to client satisfaction:
Simply stated, lean manufacturing refers to a production method that primarily focuses on the greatest value for the client. The concept here is that any methods or resources that do not directly increase the level of value for the client are wasteful. Therefore, these non-customer resource overflows can be eliminated to better align production costs to client value. The bottom line is that lean manufacturing works to maximize client value with less work along the way.
When it comes to software development, testing or maintenance, lean manufacturing is an extremely logical design choice. Clients contact software services firms like DevFactory because they have an end-goal in mind for the type of IT service they require. Why wouldn’t a software services firm focus all their efforts on maximizing client value while reducing costs in the process? To be frank, it’s surprising that the software services industry does not consistently adhere to this standard.
In a manufacturing environment, another important concept is to ensure that all processes used to create a product are as efficient and value-driven as possible. That means that equipment, designs, and processes are all thoroughly tested at all times. That way, when a more efficient method to maximize quality is discovered, changes can be implemented immediately.
This notion of continuous testing is also fundamental in the software services field. At all times, software must be tested to ensure that it maintains a stringent level of quality from start to finish. Testing should not come as a design aspect that occurs after initial development. By continuously testing software, a continually high level of quality is preserved throughout development.
Directly related to continuous testing, continuous improvement is critical within the manufacturing industry. Understanding how manufacturing processes can be improved is only one piece of the puzzle. Making the improvements that contribute to greater value for clients is the second, and more important, consideration.
Within software development, software maintenance and testing, continuous improvement must also be employed to ensure maximum client value. Customers should rightly receive the greatest value with the lowest extraneous costs. By focusing on continuous improvement in software, this goal is much more attainable.
Shifting Into Quality
All of these principles within the manufacturing industry mark an important shift in the software services field. Quality is the name of the game for the finished product. And by making this design shift to follow the manufacturing industry, firms like DevFactory are directly contributing to a marked improvement in software quality and value.