In our previous post we outlined the steps involved in setting up a new project, from first discussions to signing off on a Statement of Work. These can take from a couple of weeks to a month or more to complete – it all depends how clearly you’ve worked through your plans, and whether you need us to help you define the ultimate goal.
Running a preparatory project
If we’re working to a fixed price, it’s important that the end goal is clear. It will sometimes therefore be necessary to commission a preparatory project that will explore the problem, process and proposed solution in greater depth. As part of this groundwork we’ll be able to outline the steps involved and ensure you’re happy with our quote.
This will take place – and be billed for – separately from the main work, and you have the option not to proceed once the preparatory process is complete should your needs change or you feel the project needs to be reassessed.
Alternatively, we can place the larger project on hold at this point, giving you time for more in-depth internal discussions. We’ll happy to revisit it whenever you’re ready.
Once the primary project is underway we’ll keep you involved at every step. You’ll receive regular updates, and if we’re working on software or reshaping a business process for you we’ll ship interim builds for testing at agreed intervals or when we reach a milestone.
Naturally we’ll test the product locally first, for which we may need access to your own systems or a copy of your data. We prefer to use anonymised resources wherever possible and will happily work with dummy data sets if you are able to provide them.
Where the finished product is designed to interface with a third-party product or service, we can deal directly with the appropriate providers on your behalf, subject to your authorisation.
Alternatively, should you prefer for security or other reasons, we can hand over responsibility for the initial testing to yourselves, but this would require an advanced in-house test set-up and reverse liaison, in which you would feed back to us on any changes that are required. Naturally this process would need to be established at the outset.
If we’re working to a fixed price we’ll have agreed the terms on which the project will be considered complete prior to the start of work. For an agile project, on the other hand, in which the ultimate goal will evolve as the work progresses, it will be up to you how long you retain our services.
In either case, the initial statement of work can optionally include a monthly baseline fee for which we will provide a defined level of support at completion, plus agreed pricing for additional work as and when needed. It’s useful to consider this in the initial stages as it allows you to allocate a realistic budget within your interim or annual accounts.
Ongoing support will often include a specified number of incidents on top of bug fixes. These are provided in addition to our assistance in rolling out the software or hardware and fixing any initial issues that present themselves in the first few days of testing.
Longer term, we can help you deal with larger system updates – including changes to your operating system. Much of our software and many of our interfaces are written to run on Linux, and we may also use a bespoke Linux distribution for our hardware builds. We will strip this down prior to installation, both to guarantee that there will be no conflicts, and so that we can more effectively identify when changes are required over time.
A tried and tested routine
We’ve been working in the fields of hardware and software engineering for 20 years, and refined our processes in response to customer feedback. Our clients include some of the biggest names in broadcasting, electronics and business solutions. See our testimonials page to read more about their experiences of working with Humboldt Solutions.
We pride ourselves on making the process of defining, agreeing and running a project as pain-free as possible. To learn more about how we can develop your ideas together, call 01276 415787 or email email@example.com