How we make it easy for you to work with Humboldt Solutions

We pride ourselves on always being open and approachable, avoiding jargon while helping clients resolve technical issues within their organisations. If you haven’t worked with us before, you may be surprised how easy it is.

Beginning with the basics

We can start with as little as an outline – an idea of a single pain point that hardware, software or automation can fix. If you have a fleshed-out working document, we’re happy to use that to guide our initial discussions, but it is by no means a requirement.

We aren’t business improvement consultants, so we’re not here to look at your overall organisation and pick out the part that’s failing. What we will do, though, is help you identify which of the problems you’ve highlighted can be solved through the application of our expertise.

All we need at the outset, then, is a fairly broad brief, which we’ll work on together until we’ve agreed on an outcome.

What kind of projects do we work on?

We’re an automation and integration specialist working in broadcast, electronics and business solutions. Our clients include the British Forces Broadcasting Service, Arqiva, and Royal Holloway University, for whom we produce a mix of bespoke hardware, and software interfaces for existing third-party products.

You’ll find further details in our case studies.

Agreeing on a price

We can work on a fixed fee basis, or adopt an agile pricing strategy. How you prefer to be billed affects more than just the overall price, though: it also determines the project’s day-to-day running.

Working to a fixed fee can give you the peace of mind, as it means we’ll deliver a finished product by a set date while working within your budget. We guarantee that any project developed this way will satisfy what you asked for – so long as you’re sure from the outset what you want to achieve. We can also work on an initial side project to clarify those needs should you require it, and this will help to determine the overall price.

It’s possible to negotiate changes during the development process, but if you’re unsure of the outcome you’re after, we would recommend opting for agile pricing instead. We also also recommend considering an agile approach if the project is set to run for a longer period – six months or more, for example – in which case changes within the market and other external factors may require that we re-assess the original project goals.

Agile pricing for agile projects

The fixed-price model works well for developing hardware and smaller, tightly-defined projects, but agile pricing is more appropriate when developing business processes that evolve as they’re refined.

In this instance we would work in a series of short cycles, each of which would allow us to adjust the working document every time we deliver a new feature that brings you closer to your goal.

Working this way will be a little more demanding of your time because we’ll need you to engage with each iteration, and it also means that while we’ll be able to set a date for finishing, the desired features can be less clearly defined at the outset. This is a benefit, as it means that you’re guaranteed to get what you need, rather than just what you’ve asked for, as the view of the finished product becomes clearer over time.

Signing off and starting work

Once we’ve agreed on a specification we’ll draw up a Statement of Work. This is a one-page summary of the detailed outline, which defines agreed milestones on a fixed price project, and interim handover points when working on an agile basis.

For an agile project, the specification that accompanies the Statement of Work will be a versioned document that tracks each change to the project spec. This way, we can roll back to see who implemented an amendment and understand the rationale.

By this point, with a detailed brief to work towards, and agreed milestones or targets, we’ll be ready to start work on your project. Naturally we’ll keep the channels of communication open between your organisation and our development team, and we’d recommend that you assign a single staff member to handle this important task.

In the next post, we’ll follow the project through to completion. If this has helped you to identify an area where we can help to advance your business, call us on 01276 415787 or email info@humboldt.co.uk

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