To keep on rockin’, add a bandmate

In music, a player’s absence can make songs sound awful or even stop a concert tour entirely. When the show must go on, the band has to have skilled players ready to perform. The same is true of software development, as any firm with in-house developers learns when a team member is unable to contribute, for whatever reason.

Imagine a rock band whose lead singer is unable to perform, or who leaves the band over creative differences. Van Halen experienced that in 1985 when popular frontman David Lee Roth left. History shows that changing lead singers doesn’t always work out well, but Sammy Hagar kept Van Halen’s train rolling during his 11-year stint with the band, selling millions of albums and topping the charts.

When an in-house software developer becomes absent, due to illness, injury, or vacation, projects can bog down or grind to a halt. Occasionally, teams encounter a challenging problem they lack the skills to solve. In such situations, the ability to bring in an experienced developer with proven skills — or a team of developers — can keep the music playing.

Avoiding development pitfalls

Law firms and professional services firms may have small teams of in-house developers. In GDSI’s 25 years of experience in the legal software field, we have found several recurring pitfalls that in-house teams face when working on software projects:

  • Requirements gathering. Small teams of developers often sidestep this important part of the development process. Requirements give developers a plan to follow, the quality assurance team features to test, the content writers a set of steps to be used for the online help system, and a general plan for finding potential issues. It is more efficient and effective to write down the requirements to create a blueprint that the development team can refer to throughout the project.
  • Documentation. In general, few small development teams document elements of the design infrastructure and help system of the products created internally. For example, will the software run in a Windows or Mac environment? On the web? In the cloud? Integrate with other applications? Knowing the answers to these and other questions is critical to delivering sustainable software solutions.
  • Staying current. Typical legal applications integrate together to share content. Since each product updates at different times, changes will constantly need to be made to remain current. In-house teams often struggle to stay up to date with new and emerging tools.
  • Maintaining focus. In small firms, it is not uncommon for developers to get diverted to other projects and face shifting priorities. These can present real challenges to completing work already started.

What’s the solution? An independent, expert software development firm can step in quickly to augment the development team’s capabilities, assist with production, or just fill in to complete a release, solve a backlog of bugs, or assist with recent integrated updates.

Partner with a rockstar

GDSI provides law firms, legal software companies, and professional services firms custom software solutions and DevOps services. We are a software design studio delivering creative solutions to the business challenges inherent in legal operations. Our frequent, relevant communications ensure clients are always informed. From research and analysis to design and implementation, our judicious approach ensures sustainable results. We’re about helping your team make sure the show goes on.

For more insights on custom software development, follow me on LinkedIn or email me at DGeller@GDSI.com.