What are the responsibilities of a Development Team in Scrum Development?

Recently, we posted a basic introduction to Agile development, particularly Scrum, and then followed up with a little detail on the Scrum Master, and the Product Owner. As a follow up and final post in our Agile-Scrum blog series, we’ll talk about the Team in Scrum Development.

As you are well aware by now, Scrum is a lightweight Agile project management methodology with broad applicability of managing and controlling all kinds of incremental and iterative projects. It is one of the most widely used methodologies due to its ability to deliver the best performance.

The development team in the scrum is designed to consist of approximately 10 people - give or take, depending on the project - who address complex problems creatively and productively. They are a team of professionals who are empowered by the organization to manage their own work. Team members are generally cross-functional and combine to bring to the table all skills necessary to create a product increment. A Scrum team consists of a variety of skills in the web industry ranging from JavaScript, Angular JS, HTML, CSS, web forms, MVC, and Telerik. Therefore, the team brings assurance to the client that they are dealing with your project efficiently to produce the desired results.

Responsibilities. The team can implement the final website and application from simple to complex highly integrated business web applications. The Scrum team, together and individually, is accountable for their actions and deliverables. It could be that each individual developer may have a specific skill but the whole team is accountable for web development.  There is a Scrum Master who is responsible for helping the scrum team understand the scope of the project and encourages everyone to maximize the value created by the team. The Scrum Master is responsible to the Product Owner and ensures that they understand how to arrange product backlogs to maximize the return on investment. The Master is responsible for facilitating the Team to implement events as expected. She or he also provides advice to those outside the scrum team on which interactions are valuable and those that can be less helpful. 

Sprint planning. The scrum team is responsible for creating a sprint plan in which they plan the events. Sprints usually consist of; daily scrums, sprint review, developed work, and sprint planning. The purpose of the sprint is to accomplish a particular task or deliverable. The lifespan of a sprint is usually one month and it allows for inspection, and adaptation of a process. They usually limit risks to complex matters that might arise when there is a long sprint. A sprint review or retrospective looks at the work accomplished and the work still on the table. A demonstration is sometimes presented and then next steps identified. Obviously, incomplete work cannot be presented to stakeholders.

Daily Scrum. The team is also responsible for the daily scrum. This is the time when scrum members ask the questions of ‘what did I complete yesterday?’ and ‘what do I plan today?’, and ‘is there any impediment that will prevent the team from accomplishing the sprint goal?’ The scrum master captures all the potential risks or issues that may delay the project and displays it to the team onboard. Only the development team is allowed to participate in the daily scrum. Each member is expected to be on time and participatory.

So, there you have it. This brings to a conclusion our series on Agile Development, in particular the role of Scrum management. And don’t forget that Extra Nerds is here for you should you need a team to manage and create your next IT project!

Posted on July 28, 2017 and filed under Agile Software Developmen.

What are the responsibilities of a Product Owner in Scrum Development?

So, we’ve talked about Agile Development, particularly Scrum  and last month we dissected the role of the Scrum Master. Now you know the duty of Scrum Master. The Product Owner then, plays a different role.

The Scrum Product Owner is basically the lynchpin of a given project.  This individual needs to have a clear understanding of what he or she needs or wants to build as well as the ability to accurately convey this end goal to the other members of the project. They do this by using a product backlog (a list of necessary features and priorities for the final product), which we will discuss in more detail below.

Of course, so far this sounds like it could be the owner of pretty much any software project. Ideally, the Scrum Product Owner needs to have a good understanding of the target users, the competition, the market, and the general dictions of the industry for which the product will be developed. These requirements vary slightly, depending on whether the product will be used commercially or for internal objectives, whether it will be software or hardware, and so on. The important take away here is that the person who takes the role of the Product Owner needs to have a vision for what is to be built and who are going to be the end users.

So, to make sure that all members of the Scrum project understand and share the Product Owner's vision, s/he typically creates a backlog: a list of important features of the product, generally prioritized. In the agile development process, the product backlog is written during the sprint planning meeting - a meeting consisting of Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the entire Agile Team. Although all members of the meeting can contribute to the backlog, it is the Product Owner job to clarify the details of the backlog items and to establish their acceptance criteria. In addition, it is their job to estimate how many sprints will be required to complete each of the backlog items.

It is important to keep in mind that the Product Owner does not specifically define when each of the backlog features will be implemented. Rather, the owner's job is to motivate the team with well-defined and achievable goals. Team members know best their abilities and can, themselves, decide during which sprints – or releasable increments - they will be able to focus on in the particular parts of the backlog.

Yet another requirement for a successful Product Owner is flexibility or adaptability. During a development process, several project aspects can change due to unexpected complexities, such as a team member’s illness, insufficient funding, or any number of external problems. For this reason, one should not treat a backlog as a fixed document and must be willing to be dynamic as the project evolves.

The only thing one should keep in mind is that any changes should preferably be implemented outside of sprints. After the team starts a sprint, the backlog really needs to stay fixed so that the team can be allowed to be focused only on the sprint goals. If the project circumstances change dramatically during the sprint, the Project Owner can end a sprint prematurely and take a different course of action.

Finally, the Product Owner has to act as an interface between the client and the Scrum Team. This means he is responsible for both communications between the client with the product developers, similar to a Project Manager, as well as having the ability to relay any Team message to the client. To achieve this successfully, the Product Owner needs to make sure he spends an appropriate amount of time with both sides of the project.

We're going to post one more blog about Scrum next month when we go into more detail about the Development Team. Join us, won't you?

Posted on June 30, 2017 and filed under Agile Software Developmen.

What is the role of Scrum Master in Scrum Development?

Delving a bit more deeply into the world of Scrum after last month’s post about the core concepts of Agile Development, particularly Scrum, let’s talk about the Scrum Master! First, a quick review…

Most people would be familiar with the general term “scrum” as the term for a rugby huddle in which teams discuss their strategy for the next phase of the game, while wiping the blood out of their eyes. But, Scrum has taken on a new meaning to us nerds and relates to software development in case of Agile and other types of project management.

Agile software development provides a platform and a step-by-step process by which the client reviews various deliverables or features of the product being created.  Scrum comes as a helping hand in case of software development and usually refers to a protocol followed by developers where all the members working on a particular project meet up to discuss the project. Usually with less blood, however.

The team members discuss any feedback from clients and changes suggested or approved by the project manager or boss type person. Developers discuss their respective piece of the project and that which they intend to work on next.  They may also discuss any roadblocks or issues which might need attention.  This process helps in keeping the project in a live and malleable form throughout development.  The person who facilitates and in a way moderates this process is the Scrum Master.

This master need not be a team lead or anyone in managerial position, but it definitely has to be someone from the team who is technically sound and well aware of the status of the project. S/he will follow up the work status of each of the member, request updates on what has been done and that which is still pending, determine the details of any issues that require workarounds or any other issues that have arisen during the initial stages. Usually the Scrum Master will ask questions like “what did you accomplish yesterday?”, “what are you going to do today?”, and “are there any potential impediments to your continued progress?”.

The Scrum Master’s role is not rigid or even necessarily formally defined. In fact, if the paradigm allows for it, different members of the team can take turns as the Scrum Master, allowing each member to be responsible for the proceedings of the project. This can create a level of ownership unparalleled in other methodologies and makes each and every member of the team to be responsible for the final product, for better or worse.

Scrum in software is an innovative concept and has been very effective. Many software enterprises – large and small - now follow this model even for software development models other than agile development.

Stop back next week when we talk about the Product Owner in Scrum development! And feel free to peruse our website to check out our services or see what our clients have to say about our work. We can do the same for you.

 

 

Posted on May 26, 2017 and filed under Agile Software Developmen, Agile.

The Core Concepts of Agile Software Development, Particularly Scrum

In last month’s blog, we discussed Agile software development and why we think that it’s superior to the Waterfall.  Now we want to break down the core concepts, and delve into one of them in particular – Scrum. (And no, Aussies, we’re not talking about rugby).

The Dynamic Systems Development Method, or DSDM, mostly used in the UK, is probably the original agile development method. It existed before the term ‘agile’ had even come to pass, but is based on all the same principles we’ve come to know as agile.  

Extreme Programming (XP) is a more radical agile methodology, concentrating more on the software engineering process and addressing the analysis, development, and test phases with unique approaches that have a significant impact on the quality of the final product.

Scrum, a subset of Agile, concentrates on how to manage tasks within a team-based development structure.  Scrum is the most popular and widely adopted agile method, which is why we’re going to focus on it for the sake of this blog.  It’s relatively simple to implement and addresses many of the management issues that have plagued IT development teams for decades

Scrum is a lightweight Agile project management methodology with broad applicability of managing and controlling all kinds of incremental and iterative projects. It is one of the most widely used methodologies due to its ability to deliver the best performance. Over the last decade, Scrum has been revolutionized with significant investments of time and expertise.  It has garnered increasing popularity among software developers due to its proven productivity, its capability to act as a wrapper for a number of engineering practices that are promoted by alternative agile methodologies, and for its simplicity.

This methodology requires the use of development cycles known as Sprints. In software development, a sprint is a set duration of time during which specific work is to be completed and available for review. With Scrum, the owner of the product can work closely with the development team in order to identify and make a priority of the system functionality; this occurs in the form of a product backlog. This product backlog outlines non-functional requirements and bug fixes among other features, all of which are needed to deliver successfully a working software system. Priorities are driven exclusively by the client, or product owner, and cross-functional teams will estimate and sign on to come up with increments of the software created during successive Sprints. This process typically takes about 30 days, but all projects are different so take that statement with a grain of salt.

As soon as a Sprints backlog has been committed, no additional functionality can be included in the Sprint except by the team. Once it is completed and delivered, the product backlog is then analyzed and re-prioritized, if necessary, after which the next set of functionality is employed for another Sprint. This makes it easier to manage your product backlog. The overhead of the entire process is kept as minimal as possible in order to maximize the span of productive time available to get useful work done.

Scrum methodology has, for a number of reasons, been proven to scale up multiple teams across considerably large organizations with even more than 800 people. Its processes have enabled organizations to adjust fully and smoothly to the rapidly changing market requirements and produce products that meet the evolving goals in business. An agile Scrum process could benefit the organization in a number of ways:

•             Coping better with changes and expected evolutions in the field of business
•             Increasing the quality of available deliverables
•             Providing the project owner with more control on the schedule and its state
•             Providing better estimates while investing lesser time in coming up with them

That which distinguishes Scrum from other subsets of agile software development methodologies are the unique concepts and practices which are split into three categories: Artefacts, Time Boxes, and Roles.  Often Scrum is used in managing software and product development complexities. It increases productivity considerably and similarly reduces time to benefits relative to classic waterfall processes. (By the way, we'll be getting more specific about Artefacts, Time Boxes, and Roles in subsequent blogs).

Aside from the aforementioned benefits of the Scrum framework, there are other additional, more inherent advantages. Most importantly, Scrum provides a solid structure for the facilitation and promotion of team work. It can help the project manager to analyze the workmanship of the team or colleagues and potentially determining who is the most effective. The precise definition of roles allows managers to equitably distribute duties based on the skills of the developers without discrimination. And, this, ladies and gentlemen, makes Scrum a great option for any business that cares about output and performance.

Stop by next month when we delve more into the Roles aspect of Scrum - Agile software development. And, in the meantime, check out the services to see what our Nerdy teams can do for you!

Posted on April 21, 2017 and filed under Agile Movement, Agile Software Developmen.

What Makes Agile Software Development Better Than Waterfall?

http://mediashift.org/2014/01/the-j-school-scrum-bringing-agile-development-into-the-classroom/

http://mediashift.org/2014/01/the-j-school-scrum-bringing-agile-development-into-the-classroom/

One of the first decisions for every development project team is the ideal methodology to be employed in order to provide the desired result for the particular situation. This can often lead to debate.

Let’s back up for a second though to clarify what we mean by development methodology. It is essentially the process of organizing the work for a software development project. It does not necessarily involve the style of project management or a particular technical approach, but often these are interconnected.

So, back to our debate. Waterfall and Agile are the two popular frameworks often part of these discussions. Both are mature, usable methodologies, but Waterfall can best be termed a traditional approach, whereas Agile is a more specific type of Rapid Application Development (RAD), often implemented using Scrum. Scrum itself is a simple framework for team collaboration, providing an effective management and control structure for complex projects and reducing complexity, allowing the focus to be on building the software to meet client needs. And, actually, Agilists don’t call it a methodology, but more of a movement.

The Waterfall methodology uses a sequential design process and its workflow is much like manufacturing and construction processes. It has eight stages, each of which has to be satisfactorily completed before moving to the next.  This means that once the developers have completed one stage, there is no going back!  If problems arise, the only escape is ditching the entire project and starting anew. So, there really isn’t room for errors or change meaning that the project plan must be detailed, extensive, and carefully followed from the start in order to reach the desired outcome. There is stress on meticulous record keeping which does allow for the ability to make improvements in future if done properly.

In response to such a rigid framework and the perceived failure of the dominant software development project management paradigms like Waterfall, the so-called Agile Manifesto placed the emphasis more on collaboration and communication, team organization, and the flexibility to adapt. Agile software development relies on an iterative and incremental and adaptive approach. The methodology is open to the changing and encourages feedback from the end users of the product so that it also encourages accountability and consistent communication. Cross-functional teams will be able to work on iterations of a product within a specific range of time, ensuring that the end product is organized and prioritized on the basis of the customers or the business in general. Ultimately, with Agile methodologies, developers and clients work together in order to align the product with the goals and requirements.

So what makes Agile software development superior to Waterfall in our humble opinion? The concept of teamwork is often considered a powerful tool in the achievement of the goals for almost any organization. Extra Nerds, for example, works within a team paradigm and it is extremely effective. The team will vary, based on the project. The Agile movement creates a better platform on which decisions can be made by all parties at the table. It sources the efforts of both the developers and the stakeholders and combines them to form a unit that works for the greater good. Man is to err, and Waterfall methodologies make it really difficult to mend any broken bridges in software development. In contrast, Agile frameworks allow a window for changes, making it much easier to roll with the punches so to speak in the makeup of the system and to reduce redundancy.  Still, we are very flexible and some folks still prefer the rigidity of Waterfall et al. Regardless, the choice or recommendation of the software development methodology will be heavily weighted on the nature of the project. Once everyone has a clear analysis of the project, choosing the ideal framework shouldn’t be difficult.

Of course, this is just a basic overview, but there are many resources out there to learn more about Agile. You can also check out Extra Nerds to see what we can do for you and how we can manage your next project using any methodology - or movement -  you want!

Check back next month when we go more in depth about the core concepts of Agile, including Scrum.

Posted on March 24, 2017 and filed under Development Methodologies, Agile Movement.

What is a scope document and why is it important for software development?

A scope document, or a statement of scope, is one of the most critical aspects of any project as it provides a fundamental understanding of the magnitude of the project for all involved. Especially critical in software development, it explains the boundaries of a project, establishes the responsibility of each team member, and sets up the procedures for how completed pieces will be validated and approved. Essentially, it defines goals, deliverables, tasks, deadlines, andcost. It is a way for the client and the development team to come to consensus on the vision and what it will take to get there.  Its relevance lies in managing the client’s expectations and coming to an agreement about what will define the project’s success.

Without a detailed requirements agreement, a developer might end up confined to an unrealistic fixed cost and possibly unreasonable time limits. Or the client may end up feeling frustrated with constraints. It is in these cases that defining the scope of a project is most important. Gathering the functionality requirements in the outset of the project can be difficult. Using a basic outline can help with that.

The scope document should generally start with a justification for the project or, in other words, the need it is to fulfill. Next, you might want to include some of the proposed characteristics of the project or, at the very least, an overall description of the desired result. Objectives and criteria for deliverable acceptance would be included as well as any exclusions, or unwanted bi-products. It’s important to try to identify any potential constraints or restrictions upfront so that everyone knows to expect and can also agree that they don’t actively know of any other restrictions which may impede progress.

In some situations, you might want to include what industry types call assumptions. These address how uncertain information is managed as the project moves forward. As you can imagine, this aspect is critical in software development.  Once all parties agree on the scope outlined in the statement, it becomes somewhat of a binding agreement and will define the client-developer relationship as well as the likelihood of continued success.

A scope document allows for a thorough analysis of the software development process, but, of course, having this document in place does not guarantee that issues will not arise. While the document provides the project manager with guidelines for decision-making as the project moves forward, unforeseen roadblocks can become an issue, as is true more often than not. When this happens, the scope may have to be revised. A client will likely accept the proposed changes once the project is underway, recognizing that change is often inevitable in software development, but it can also be decided not to continue the project if the depth of the unanticipated problem is for some reason too daunting or somehow renders the project obsolete.

So, the purpose of creating a scope document is to develop a common understanding as to what needs to be included in or excluded from a project. With a well-outlined document, the software developer will be much more able to complete the project within the agreed upon time and within the anticipated cost expectancy making it paramount to success from all sides.

Extra Nerds offers a dedicated project manager to each client, helping to keep both the developers and clients clear on the scope of the project as well as in the loop on progress or issues as work moves forward. Contact us if you have an idea for a project that we can manage for you!

Posted on February 24, 2017 and filed under Other, 5 Qualities of a Good PM, Development Methodologies.

.NET Core: What is it?

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ASP.NET Core is one of the subsets of the .NET Framework that was earlier started with the Compact Framework Edition. Its major components include a small runtime from the code base of the .NET Framework CLR, although features like Application domains and Code Access Security are not included. With its unique features, .NET Core is likely to form the foundation of future .NET verticals as it is not specific to ASP.NET 5 or .NET native. It is designed such that the runtimes and Base Class Library (BCL) are general purpose and the format is modular. I know, that sounds so technical, right? We'll explain further...

The deployment is delivered as a set of NuGet packages as most of the library ecosystems are already established through the platform. It incorporates a number of technologies different from Native .NET since they run using the CoreCLR runtime that is compatible with several Windows platforms. It is also open source - incorporating Apache 2 and MIT licenses - and portable, but it is optimized to only use modules from its core library unless it is required by the application. However, the class libraries have been factored to remove dependencies which enables a user a much smaller set of libraries which run independently as a system.

The ASP.NET 5 workload, which is incorporated in the framework, has one special element in that it can run on multiple versions of .NET Core 5 such that two websites can effectively run on the same machine while on different - or similar - multiple versions of the .NET Core framework. This makes it suitable for quick downloads and for use even on devices with minimal storage capabilities. It is also easy to use on several software types such as Linux, and Windows, as well as Silverlight as its design is focused on keeping the deployment considerably smaller. It is easy to use on even non-Windows platforms meaning that the user does not have to worry about the software of their device.

This framework version uses a discrete group of reference assemblies that shows only that which is supported by the runtime. It is much easier to recognize this version as it has a limited number of features which makes it much more effective and easier to cruise. It is also friendly and allows a user to comfortably create and operate full-fledged websites on several operating systems; and is accessible on Windows Phone. With time it will be incorporated in more operating systems for access through additional platforms for a much better experience available for use on all kinds of devices.

At the moment, .NET Core is a framework for Linux and Mac, but some of the key features and libraries are missing. Before, it was impossible to create websites and RESTful application programming interfaces on Linux and Mac, but now it is easier with Visual Studio Code plus .NET Core and can also be made available for set up on Ubuntu.

.NET Core has proven to be the ultimate weapon for web developers to save on time and providing the best possible results and a more fun experience.

Our Nerds know .NET Core and can help you along the way if you need it. In fact, check out our services to see what else we can do for you! And feel free to contact us anytime. We love hearing from you.

Posted on January 20, 2017 and filed under Microsoft .NET, Other.

Creating a Custom Web Application: What You Need to Know

In as much as some expertise is required to develop and bring the application to life and afterwards maintain or improve it so that it generates profits enough to cover the expenses you used to invest in it, custom applications are not always difficult to create.

Basically, knowledge in programming languages, which can be accessed from several research resources and the internet through tutorials, will come in handy in ensuring that the application is functional and also help generate traffic so that it reaches a significant number of users.

Having a good idea puts you on the map and provides a foundation on which to begin the process. First, you need to know what kind of application you want to create and what impact it is going to have on its users. To design the best application, research a number of related web-based and custom applications and select one that appears most desirable and attractive to a greater number of users. For this to be a successful procedure, you will need to do fairly extensive research from as many platforms as you can access: books, the internet, and manuals or tutorials will direct you on how to proceed.

Now that you have narrowed down and identified the application you want to create, the second step is to work on database architecture as well as development for storage, data management, and information where users will fill in their credentials and use them to access the application. There are cloud-based software products that can be employed to provide the tools for organizing the graphics and texts. Additionally, they can be accessed easily from their websites at affordable prices.

Throughout the process, you are bound to make mistakes, but rather than looking at it as a failure, consider it a chance to learn new tactics that you could employ in future projects. Commitment is one quality you will have to embrace while working on creating the application and you will need to dedicate a lot of time and energy to the project. But it won't be long until you establish a process that works for you and begin to enjoy the benefits that will accompany a successful app.

With a few days to dedicate to your computer and keeping your research and reference materials nearby, you should be good to go. It is possible that at some point, however, depending on your knowledge and confidence levels, a developer may be necessary to enlist for help. A professional can guide you through the programming languages in case you are not as conversant with the framework and how they operate as may be required.

Even if you you are keen on flying solo and follow your plan to the letter, you may need some expertise if you want to come up with a custom application without compromise and the exact functionality and design that you desire.  Only you know the level of functionality and general purpose of the application, as well as your abilities. There’s no shame in bringing in an expert who does this for a living rather than compromise quality or functionality.

Whether you are building your own app or would rather just hire a professional to do it, Extra Nerds would be happy to help guide you through the most challenging pieces or the entire process. Our Nerds are experienced, knowledgeable, creative, and accessible. Check our our available services, portfolio, or credentials and contact us to see what we can do for you.

Posted on December 16, 2016 and filed under Other.

Why Are Companies Increasingly Outsourcing Web and Application Development?

Application development, both for the web and for smart technology, has become a major source of revenue for companies around the world. Although completed applications can provide high revenue, they require quite a bit of time and money to develop and to properly test. Since companies are always researching methods to reduce operational burdens, outsourcing web development has become a common practice.  Not only is the original product time-consuming to create, but most web app development continues long after it has launched. Constant updates are needed to keep the application running and up to date and occasional bugs are common threats to any type of software. Consumers want updated and feature-laden applications, so skimping on development and maintenance really isn’t something that can be avoided by companies using applications as part of their business model.

The problem, then, becomes finding people who can work full time on app development and to maintain control over any ongoing issues in an affordable, timely, and efficient manner. Businesses don’t always have the resources to retain an entire staff for this purpose and that’s where outsourcing becomes a valuable alternative. Certainly, some research should go into selecting possible contractors or contract companies to hire so that the right people are put on the project. Checking reviews or testimonials is a recommendation. 

Oftentimes, it is easier and smarter to pay contract developers who have their own hardware and software than to purchase your own and then hire someone or have someone trained on how to use it. It can also be daunting to manage in-house development projects and might be better to just leave it in the hands of someone whose sole job it is to keep up with the industry and who knows the right questions to ask to give you what you want. You still maintain control over the product, but have a field expert doing the technical work. If you have the opportunity, it is always beneficial to have a project manager as the liaison between you and the developers. This ensures accurate and consistent communication, the establishment of a timeline and deliverables, and a clear mutual understanding of expectations. To read in more detail about the benefits of having a project manager, check out our blog series on the topic.

Generally speaking, outsourced labor can be more cost effective in addition to yielding better results, and is ideal for companies that need to quickly launch their applications in order to generate a profit to cover operating costs. Not only do contractors have their own equipment and programs, but they don’t need you to pay for ongoing training, nor do they require benefits or paid leave. Not that we’re against employee benefits in general, but technology moves so fast these days, it can be really beneficial to outsource that piece of your workforce.

In short, outsourcing is a viable choice for companies looking to decrease costs and increase the value of their applications. As the world becomes more connected, it’s only natural to want to tap into the global market. Application development is certainly one way to do that and hiring a reliable and professional team to do that for you could prove invaluable. And of course, Extra Nerds can offer you a project manager and highly skilled developers to see your software, website, or application development project from fledgling idea to fruition and even provide ongoing maintenance.  (C’mon, you knew we were going to close with a shameless plug, didn’t you? But we wouldn’t do it if we weren’t sure that we were right. Let us help you and your business attain awesomeness; you won’t regret it!)

Posted on October 7, 2016 and filed under Domestic IT Outsourcing, Other.

When do I build my own web app versus hiring a freelancer?

When do I build my own web application versus hiring a freelancer? That is a common and important question for many business owners who want to integrate a digital presence into their marketing or operations. Ironically, the mere fact that you are presenting the question, probably gives you the answer. But, let’s talk about it in more detail. It really comes down to three issues – time, cost, and expertise.

Many persons instinctively like the idea of building their own app because, of course, why wouldn’t they.  We all think about owning our resources and controlling costs as much as possible.  Logical, right? The problem is that there are many hurdles one must overcome in order to build a web app. First, you would have to learn the process if you do not already have that knowledge. When you are considering an app design, several questions arise: ‘Will the app be simpler to use than a web page?”, ‘Will the app feel like a complete product?’, ‘How does the web app make my operations more proficient?’ and so on. Several key elements will stand out in response to these questions - namely efficiency, speed, and simplicity.  Any professional software specialist will tell you that it takes a certain level of experience to design an app that can meet all these necessary criteria. Acquiring that level of skill can take time, not to mention the time it takes to properly build the software. This is time which you may not have to dedicate if you are a business owner or manager.

Another common consideration is cost. Is it worth it to spend a bit to get the quality and expertise of a professional? While it is understood that folks need to watch their budgets, it would be wise to include an allocation for technological marketing; this is not an area in which you want to skimp, especially in this day and age. First, if done well, a web app will pay for itself pretty quickly – called a return on investment (ROI) – in increased exposure and sales in addition to presenting a professional image. A poorly designed app can be detrimental these days.

In order for any app to be successful, it is essential that it be coded well. An obvious statement, yes, and yet sometimes people downplay this fact in favor of saving on cost or because they just don’t realize the intricacies involved. This can lead to disastrous consequences and can end up costing more in the long run when you lose business and have to pay a professional to fix the mistakes. Let’s say that you have some basic knowledge in coding and you want to design your own app. The web app that you are creating might contain redundant lines of code as can happen when folks are less experienced; it could also include coding errors or other unforeseen issues, all of which will make the app slow and ineffective and may even causing it to crash on its intended users. 

Now let us say that you’re decent at coding and manage to avoid potential pitfalls. Then you encounter the Graphical User Interface (GUI, pronounced “gooey”), which is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with devices through graphical icons and visual indicators rather than text-based interface or text navigation and is an important part of application programming. Basically, it deals with how the elements are set up on the app page. This is a major factor as to why people prefer some apps over others – an app cluttered with elements or an app which his too sparse can be a deterrent for potential users. While coding makes the app efficient, GUI makes the app simple to use and gives it a sense of completion and a final product.

A good software developer will make you feel comfortable during the design and development process, communicating often, so that you can share your vision and they can bring it to fruition. These folks do this for a living and they understand the fundamentals of design and performance optimization; they have the time, the flexibility, the training, the experience, and the expertise to do it well. And, in many cases, they can even advise on the launch and post-launch marketing utilization strategy as well as offering ongoing maintenance and support.


Many people take it upon themselves to design and maintain their own web app and then wonder why they don’t acquire the traffic or usage they anticipated. One cannot successfully market a poorly performing web app because user reviews will deflate any attempts to do so and negate any cost savings there may have been.  Simply put, it is far better to utilize a freelance programmer’s comparative advantage and expertise to create a valuable product and save yourself some much needed time, effort and, in the long run, money.

Speaking of hiring expert freelancers, Extra Nerds would be happy to discuss with you any needs you have for building a website application. This is what we do and we do it well. We’d love to help you to turn your vision into a reality! Contact us anytime for a quote or to discuss our variety of services.

Posted on July 1, 2016 and filed under Domestic IT Outsourcing.