All application development projects have goals. Anybody who initiates any software project wants it to succeed – to achieve the goals initially envisioned. Unfortunately, not all projects do so. Everyone has heard about a software development project that failed to deliver the results that were initially promised. Happily, there are also a few examples of projects that surpassed initial expectations (although they are, sadly, much less common).
From strategy to implementation to ongoing maintenance, ECI is with you!
What makes the difference between the successes and the failures?
Clearly, there are many factors and it would be a mistake to say that any one of them is always the reason for failure. But there is a consensus in the IT industry that certain approaches are better than others and consistently improve the chances of success. These are generally known as “best practices.”
The degree to which any software project meets, exceeds, or fails to meet the original expectations largely depends on consistent and rigorous adherence to best practices and their underlying principles.
We at ECI are fully committed to embracing best practices in every aspect of our work.
In particular, we continually strive to incorporate them into both project management and application development.
We know that every project is different and that priorities can change. That’s why we emphasize flexibility. We can manage entire solutions from our offices, integrate our team onsite with your teams, or allow you to leverage our highly skilled individual consultant resources where you have gaps. We can help at any point of the project lifecycle, from strategy to delivery to ongoing maintenance.
How do you turn an idea into reality while ensuring your envisioned application delivers in real life the business value you built it for? At ECI we take a quality-first approach to software. We have deep expertise in technology to help you strategize your software development goals and design applications that not only serve the needs of your organization and users but are also sustainable and scalable.
We take a holistic approach providing strategy, experienced subject matter experts, and management of people and projects to deliver better value. Our focus is not on a transaction but on results.
We leverage real world experience with different processes, team sizes and environments to know what works, what doesn’t, and how to customize. With ECI, development best practices aren’t delivered as a stack of documents but as consultants working alongside your teams to educate your staff, modernize your tools, and build proficiency and pride into your software development processes. We specialize in:
- Scrum, Lean-Agile, Kanban
- Continuous Integration / Delivery
Our approach to application development is team-centric and holistic, from architecture and design, to modernizing software development processes, to providing flexibility to our clients to engage our experts through managed services to clear a stacked backlog, resolve issues, and scale for long term strategies.
Our objective is to understand your business and be the experts you need to realize your vision. Our value is anchored in the strategic know-how we bring to the table, our deep understanding of technology, our proficiency at managing high-performing technology teams, and our passion for modern delivery processes.
Our approach puts team performance and application quality at the forefront, with agile-lean processes tailored to your environment and flexible resource management structures to meet changing priorities.
Our approach starts and ends with Business Requirements.
Starting with Business Requirements
At ECI, application development begins with understanding the requirements. Too often, software fails to meet the original expectations because those expectations were not clearly understood at some crucial point along the line. We strongly believe that the best way to end up with satisfied clients is to ensure that everyone involved in a project knows exactly what that project has to deliver, in order to succeed. That starts with clearly defined and understood expectations concerning the finished product, both by the product stakeholders and the development team. If the goals of a software development project are unclear, the end results of that effort will probably be disappointing to all concerned. So at ECI, we always begin by ensuring that we clearly understand the project’s main objectives.
This does not mean that we always document every desired feature in detailed specifications before we begin to do any coding. We have found that agile approaches to project methodology are generally more successful than the more traditional “waterfall” styles, which means that we do not like to create large, highly-detailed requirement specifications documents at the beginning of a project. We have found such efforts to be frequently counter-productive, as they lead to very rigid designs that do not accommodate the kinds of constant changes that are typical in the world of modern information technology.
Instead, we adhere to an approach that we call “Soft Design,” which takes a less rigidly-defined approach to the initial stages of discovering requirements and translating them into a solution architecture. It is a bit like starting a new drawing with a pencil, rather than a permanent marker.
During the initial design phase of a project, we sketch out the steps that will be necessary to realize the project’s objectives. This involves both clarifying and defining the main business requirements and planning the best technical path forward. However, we recognize that some circumstances that are critically important while developing complex applications cannot be fully predicted in advance.
Change is a constant, especially in the rapidly shifting domain of IT. In order to manage the process in an agile fashion, we begin with those business objectives which are clearest and least likely to change. Those elements become the foundation of the project and also of the solution architecture. From them, we are able to determine which steps are best able to yield useful results, clearly consistent with the basic business requirements. We take those steps and then reassess the overall situation. This approach involves iterations of development, each of which leads the project successively closer to the goals that were established at the outset.
Ending with Business Requirements
Starting by understanding the business requirements is great, but it’s not enough to ensure success. At ECI, the business requirements are treated like project bookends: we use them both at the beginning and the end of the project to uphold our fundamental commitment that what we deliver will meet or exceed the expectations of our clients.
At the end of the project, we utilize the business requirements to ensure that they are all reflected in the testing that determines whether or not the application is defect-free and correctly realizes the originally intended functionality. By the time that some element of functionality is being tested, the development team has fully specified the precise details regarding how it must perform in any given situation. All of those precise specifications are captured as test cases, ensuring that the application meets all the business requirements before we regard it as complete and deploy it to its final production environment.
Our consultants are subject matter experts who bring years of experience and insight into complex technology issues and solutions — and we’re ready to put that experience to use in helping your organization.
With ever-changing technologies ECI stays at the forefront of existing and latest technologies. We nurture our consultants by providing technical roadmap, training and participation in certification programs.
As technologies evolve, it’s essential to know how to best apply new resources to your business. ECI’s Application Development Center of Excellence is an innovation lab that gives our consultants and our clients insight into the latest technologies and capabilities through our methodology.
Over the past three decades, computer scientists and programmers throughout the industry have forged a set of generally accepted standards of quality in software architecture and application development. ECI consultants understand these standards and the best practices that emerge from them. Every developer that works for ECI knows that quality software depends upon such principles as object-orientated development, “loose-coupling” among software components, and the “separation of concerns” among the various kinds of software functionality. These are not mere abstract concepts for our technical teams; rather, they drive every programming decision that each consultant makes on a daily basis. It is only by completely adhering to the best practices as accepted throughout the industry that we can ensure that the final product adheres to the highest standards of software quality.
ECI’s Application Development Center of Excellence continuously monitors and experiments emerging and cutting-edge technologies and enables skills and knowledge transfer through sharing lessons learned and advising how to best apply technologies in specific business contexts with our larger developer community, technology partners and clients. We nurture our consultants by providing technical roadmap, training and participation in certification programs.
- Full Stack Application Development
- Service Oriented Architecture and API Development
- Cloud Platforms
- Quality Assurance and Automated Testing
- Deployment and Maintenance