Stage 1: Document your needs
Our development cycle begins with you. You need to decide and document what you want to achieve at this point in time, in broad terms. You should be able to sit down with potential software developers and discuss these ideas in key point form.
We know a bit about software development, and using software for business purposes, but we might not know a lot about your particular business, or industry so if you have unique needs or requirements this is where we can learn about them.
The ultimate outcome of this stage is for Comformark to know if we are capable of meeting your needs, and we’ll let you know if we think we are, and for you to know if you are confident that Comformark has an understanding of your needs and the capability to meet them.
If you’re based anywhere in Sydney, we’ll come to you for a no obligation, free initial consultation, in which we can advise you of your best options to meet your objectives.
When you discuss these ideas with Comformark, we’ll ask dumb questions about your business processes and expect you to ask us dumb questions about the way we develop software!
Stage 2: Goal setting
By now, we should have determined the scope of the first stage of your software development. For a project that can be completed within a month to 6 weeks, for instance, this might be the complete project. For larger projects we’ll break the project into a series of milestones. Typically these milestones should be achievable within a period of 4 to 6 weeks.
Comformark is very flexible with development processes. In some cases you might like to develop detailed documentation before any coding begins, in other cases you might like to create a checklist of key requirements and turn the development over to us. In our experience detailed documentation is expensive to prepare, subject to constant change, and more often hinders the development process. It’s much more important to agree on the key concepts.
We understand that making changes to existing processes can cause disruption, so we ensure your staff are fully informed of the schedule for change.
Stage 3: Collate sources of data
The systems we develop usually involve data and databases. Your data might exist in multiple systems and forms including paper based systems. We’ve had experience with data sources from all business functions so don’t be concerned if your current data is paper based, we can help you manage it more efficiently. Similarly, we’ve had experience with most forms of electronic data management and can usually interface with existing external systems if necessary.
This stage of the coding process, for us, is to develop the necessary databases for your new software, and to do whatever is necessary with your existing data. The database is the foundation of a good software application and we’ll spend a substantial part of the development process to ensure your database is designed efficiently, and able to meet the future needs of the entire application.
When moving from old systems there is almost always a need to convert data. We have converted data from systems that were obsolete, and in some cases up to 20 years old! The tools we use allow us to access most types of data. Modern databases might not need to be updated, or converted. We will let you know.
Stage 4: Programming
Comformark will choose the most appropriate programming tool for your application. We use modern software development tools that actually write about 80% of the code needed for your application. This means faster development, fewer bugs, and easier maintenance by any developer familiar with these tools.
We’ll work closely with you during the development of the code to ensure that the user interface allows you to work efficiently. We’ll work next to your users so we can see what they need to do, and so they can see how the new applications will help them work better!
Programming for us is a stepwise process involving two-way communication with you as the application evolves. In this way there are no surprises, and the development process progresses much more rapidly towards the completed project.
Stage 5: Testing and Revision
During development and programming we’ll set up test data and test your systems as we develop and at various stages turn the software over to you for user testing.
We’ll run a trial conversion of your existing data, if necessary, and have the new system available for on-site training and usage by your staff. By this stage your users will actually be fairly familiar with the new application, because they have been a core part of the development process.
Testing should ensure that key functionality requirements have been met and that the data is being recorded correctly.
Onsite testing is an opportunity to ensure the systems are working correctly and to provide initial training to key users of the software.
Stage 6: Implementation & Training
The final stage for development is to roll out the new system, which is essentially the same as the testing stage, but with live data. We’ll choose an appropriate time for the rollover and be there to make sure everything goes smoothly.
We provide on-site training and data testing during the implementation stage.