Software Development Cycle

Let’s spend a little time discussing the Developers view and how it differs from the customer’s view on a “completed” project.  Thinking of any major video game or software that is on the market makes it very clear that a developer’s job on a project/piece of software is never “done”.  Developers continue to make modifications to the software even after it has been delivered or sold, and provide those improvements as different versions or builds.  With the strengths of FileMaker and its rapid deployment of software solutions, it’s easy as developers to forget the need to include future releases and new features offered by the next version of FileMaker, in conversations with the customer.

Recently, it has become apparent in conversations with customers that when a thought for Version 2 of a software package is mentioned sometimes they think that means Version 1 is not “complete” or “working”.  I think, part of the stigma comes from FileMaker’s ability to work on live versions of software, which makes it harder to envision multiple versions of the same thing with different new features existing at the same time.  Of course, the fault could be on us for even mentioning Version 2 ideas aloud so soon after finishing Version 1.  With proper education from the developers and their team on the software development lifecycle, customers should be less surprised when hearing about Version 2 and less doubtful that Version 1 is “complete”.

One of the easiest ways to discuss the topic of continued work and improvements on a solution is to relate the idea to something the customer is familiar with.  Windows operating systems are one of the most widely used operating systems out there, making the familiarity with Windows Updates all too common.  Utilizing the example of running Windows Updates on a consistent basis to get the latest updates from Microsoft is a great way to build that understanding.  Sometimes it’s little things like new font packages or languages for the Microsoft software bundle. Other times, it could be a complete restructure to the User Interface or the way applications launch. While all of their updates release on a near monthly basis, the core of it has been functional since Version 1 release, they just continued to make improvements in the background.  This cycle of making continual improvements is used by most companies for all their software. I hope that this example on Windows Updates helped any future readers to understand how developers see a project.  Also, if you hear a developer mention a future release, it is a good indication that they plan for continued support and improvements of the software.