Having worked on digital projects for more than a decade, we’ve learned from our successes what it takes to build a successful partnership with our clients.
When it comes to the dynamic and often unpredictable world of software development and digital transformation, it’s essential to start relationships with aligned expectations. Having worked on digital projects for over 11 years, we’ve taken what we’ve learned from our successes and failures and those of our clients to create our own spinoff from the Agile Manifesto – the Singular Design Manifesto. Here’s a look at our core beliefs and what they mean to our current and future clients:
There’s no such thing as general experts in software
One of the most common reasons for companies to partner with a software development and design agency is to develop something truly unique that aligns with their specific brand goals. A generalist approach simply cannot achieve the necessary degree of alignment. That’s why we focus specifically on the open-source development platform Flutter, along with low-code solutions and the technologies underpinning them. As these technologies and our experience of co-innovating with them grow, so too does the potential of your products.
The first step in any software development project is to define a market fit for your product. With a clearly defined market fit, we can reduce the chances of having to make unexpected last-minute changes. At the same time, agile development gives us the flexibility necessary to quickly change course to meet new and unpredictable demands in the market.
Achieving maximum velocity with agile development
We’ve chosen these two spaces thanks to their ability to perform immediately, as well as their growing potential in a predominantly low-code future. In fact, Gartner predicts that, by 2025, 70% of new enterprise applications will leverage low-code or no-code technologies. Combined with the principles of agile software development and Scrum, we’re able to continuously adapt to change via story points, acceptance criteria, and velocity.
To achieve maximum velocity and alignment, we’ve created our own platform to simplify Agile digital creation. In every case where our projects have achieved optimum velocity, the product owner, client, and talent team have all used the platform exclusively. We strongly encourage our clients and internal teams to do the same.
Keeping control over cycle times and costs with micro-estimation
Agile estimation helps us makes an informed estimate of the schedule and budget of a project in order to make informed decisions concerning its course. However, we don’t go chasing after waterfalls by fixating on initial macro estimations. Instead, we continuously micro-estimate so that we can adapt as a project progresses. In the fast-paced world of software development, we often need to add new features on a weekly basis, so initial estimates naturally run counter to rapid innovation and continuous adaptation in accordance with client feedback.
With micro-estimation, clients have the opportunity to approve each story point pertaining to the next few sprints, so they have a good idea of what lies ahead. To maintain that alignment of expectations, every micro-estimation point is open to discussion and optimization as we progress through the project and, ultimately, you have control over how we proceed or pivot.
At the beginning of the project, we’ll map out the identifiable backlog subject to change, but we specifically avoid the waterfall project format, because we believe it clashes with rapid and continuous innovation.
One of the biggest challenges with software development is understanding your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Initial design and development is just a small fraction of the TCO. On top of that come ongoing costs related to maintenance, security, bug fixes, new features, and licensing of dependencies like APIs. This is the case even in low-code development environments, where maintenance costs are inherently lower. We make sure to take these ROI estimates into account from the outset, but we also understand that, in an environment of constant change, being accurate isn’t easy. That’s why we believe in micro-estimation to give you granular control over the acceptance of each individual user story and sprint and the costs that come with them.
Co-innovation depends on business people and developers working together
Every digital project comes with technical and logistical challenges that need to be addressed as a team. We believe that a professional, team-driven spirit must be maintained by all parties both through good times and challenging ones. At the same time, every difficulty should give us an opportunity to first turn inward and invoke our own inner resources. The trials we endure can and should introduce us to our strengths. After all, software bugs, whether large, medium, or small in size, can and will occur. They’re just an inevitable part of the software development lifecycle. However, with robust teamwork and prioritization, we can build a rapid response plan that leads to continuous improvement and, ultimately, a better experience for the end user.
We also understand that team alignment isn’t an exact science. We work together to improve the team’s overall alignment through continuous feedback loops and by establishing a shared vision. If something isn’t working out, we can change course accordingly in an agile manner. That said, we also realize that, sometimes, a relationship runs its course. That’s why all of our contracts allow for mutual termination, with or without a reason being provided. If we need to part ways for whatever reason, we’re always happy to schedule a hand-off sprint so to ensure the continuity of your project with another agency.
In the end, our number-one priority is to satisfy clients with the rapid and continuous delivery of quality software, and that’s why we ask for feedback on every deliverable. These reduced delivery times also give us the opportunity to learn faster and tune and adjust our behaviors as required.
Finally, we establish robust communication channels with our clients right from the start to ensure that nothing gets lost in translation. Our goal is to have a common understanding of who’s responsible for what and who’s consulted and informed regarding each situation. The result? A software project that meets and surpasses its goals and measurably improves with every iteration.
Singular Design builds innovative apps, products, and experiences in Flutter and Low Code to take you all the way from ideation to launch and beyond. Schedule your free discovery call today to learn more.