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Will this feature fit in the budget?

A question we often get. Is it possible to do this or that within the budget?

Well it depends on one simple precondition, is your budget fixed or not. Sometimes we struggle to know whether the client is asking whether something is technically possible or whether it can be done within the budget. What is usually being asked is whether it is possible to build a feature into the budget that has been discussed only after the budget has been decided. The issue here is that the meaning of the budget has not been correctly interpreted and needs clarifying to the client.

Let’s discuss an analogy that will help us to understand what budget means. You decide to go to a desert island and decide to put a playlist together on Spotify to keep you amused while you’re there. Importantly, you have limitations on storage and you’re only allowed 100 minutes of songs. You’ve added over a thousand minutes to a shortlist and even that was difficult because there are endless amounts of music that you like but you need to get to 100 minutes to fit the storage you have available.

Step 1 – You split the music on your shortlist into your top 5 genres.

Step 2 – You decide to allocate 20 minutes to each of the five genres.

Step 3 – You begin adding songs to each genre one by one until you have almost 100 minutes.

Now that you have your playlist you are aware that if you think of a song that you hadn’t thought of originally, you will need to either swap it for one that is already on the list or you will have to buy more storage. Most people want to know what the cost is before the features are defined, so the only solution is to provide a suggested budget which is the suggested storage for your music. You physically can’t squeeze more songs into a fixed amount of storage and the same is true for software.

The only way to increase the number of minutes available to play is to reduce the quality of the files. This is why it is important to define quality up front. So how do we define quality? One thing to remember is that quality is not the same as functionality. If a feature lacks detail it can still be made with good quality. The following four metrics should be used when defining the quality of a product. This should be done before the start of a project.

  1. Code Quality – Ensuring code is peer reviewed is essential to ensure it is semantically correct and bug-free.
  2. Performance – Do pages in the web and app load quickly and can they be scaled when more users are obtained? Using good hosting infrastructure, best code practices, and performance tools will help to ensure your software performs when it needs to.
  3. Security – Protecting yourself as well as your users should be a top priority and considerations to authentication should be made during the scoping phase of your product.
  4. Usability – Designing a user interface and user experience is essential. This stage could not be underestimated. A good design and user experience team will be the difference between an investment that sees a return versus an investment that is wasted.

Hopefully, we have helped provide an understanding of how you should think of a budget when going into a software development project. Don’t forget it is not a bad thing to have requirements that are not 100% important. Don’t consider everything a “Must Have” because you will be left with no contingency. New ideas come up all the time so factor that into your paradigm so that your framework embraces change. We’d love to discuss any mobile app projects you are considering at the minute. Please get in touch and we will be more than happy to setup an initial free consultation.

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