Software has eaten the world and your business too. We are addressing three major constraints and challenges to software delivery for your business in our blog series, continuing today with…
Budget constraints should be treated respectfully
Every project initiative has a budget. Most times the budget is much lesser than what you need done. Budget becomes your biggest constraint. Constraints are interesting. They foster creativity. You could use them to your benefit. In fact the budget constraint should be the starting point of your project.
Our first answer to a constrained budget is to cut scope. Simple as it sounds, it does not help. You cannot cut the scope from the business goal. That should ideally be kept immovable, unless it is truly unreal.
The general approach today is to find out – how much would it take to build this piece of software? The mindset should be – how can I accomplish the same effect with this much budget? Now this changes the way you approach building software.
Budget constraint does not mean less software or low quality work. It means you have to find an alternative way of accomplishing the business goal. It starts by being open. Open to think unconventional.
On a side note, budget constraints come with time constraints in most cases. If the budget is less, you can develop software for less time with limited people on it. However, the reverse is not true. You could have less time but budget might not be the constraint at all and you can afford to have a few extra and expensive hands on the project.
How do you work with budget constraints?
Scope it right
You need to meet with your engineering team and scope it such that the purpose is not affected. As mentioned earlier, engineers are problem solvers. It comes naturally to them. When you give them a problem, they can find a solution.
Offshoring is your best bet always
Even after scoping if the budget is not fitting in, think offshoring. Outsourcing locally is always expensive than doing it inhouse as most agencies will charge you a premium. So offshoring is your best bet. Whatever bad things you have heard about it, it is hands down the most cost effective way of building software. How to pick the right offshoring team is the subject of a different discussion.
But understand, a solid team of 6-8 developers is a million dollar burn annually. For a mid sized offshore firm, this is good revenue and you are their premium customer. If they have the right skills you need and a solid team, you will only end up saving more than 30% of what you would incur otherwise. More so, it is a pay-as-you-go model so you do not end up keeping them after you need them.
Use what already exists
What else could you do? Think about what is already available in the market out there. If you can integrate a few SAAS service and accomplish what you need for much lesser, go for it, until it is time that you need to build your own piece.
These are just a few ways to start thinking about it. You will get several ideas once you become open and start thinking about the question – how can I get the same effect for this much budget?
Founder CEO, Idyllic.
Follow me on Twitter