5 ways software development is like homebuilding

Many companies develop software. Similarly, many builders construct homes. Builders may use the same materials but differ in their experience, skill and attention to detail.

Over my 25-year career in custom software development, I’ve seen software developed with varying degrees of construction design success. At GDSI, we believe that developing software for professional services organizations, law firms and legal software companies should be like building a top-quality, custom residence. Below are five attributes to look for in a software development partner that approaches your needs the way a master builder builds an exceptional home.

The homebuilding analogy

Software development and homebuilding have more in common than you may realize. Both can be complex undertakings, with many components that must fit and function together. From design through buildout, whether the project is an abode or a software solution, experience and attention to detail make the difference.

If you’ve ever been inside a newly constructed building, it’s easy to see how fit and finish are the hallmarks of quality. Rough edges, seams and gaps indicate poor workmanship. In a very similar way, software that doesn’t integrate well will cause problems and ultimately contribute to increased costs. A good builder strives to do the job right — from the start — to avoid timeconsuming and subsequently costly updates.

The right home, like the right software, built with the owner’s current and future needs in mind, will include quality design elements to enable more satisfying experiences. Similar to adding a deck or updating a kitchen, a well-designed software solution is designed to accommodate and augment future requirements.

5 attributes to look for

Here are five attributes that signify quality and value in construction and custom software development:

  • Thoughtful blueprints. The maxim, “Where you finish depends on where you start,” holds true. Without a well-drafted blueprint, it’s hard to achieve the owner’s vision. Put another way, if you start out building a lean-to, it won’t end up looking like a chateau.
  • Design. Comfort and function follow naturally when a building is designed for those who live there. Likewise, the best software is effective and easy to use because it’s designed with the user in mind.
  • Attention to details. Little things make a huge difference when you live with them every day, like a light switch in an inconvenient place or a countertop that’s too high. Good software products ensure the interface and workflow align with the people who will be using them every day. Software that doesn’t integrate well with existing systems can cause similar discomfort and frustration, as well as inefficiencies. Details matter in the user experience!
  • An experienced builder. Great builders understand how people want to live; they are able to balance timeless style and innovation. Experienced software developers provide creative solutions that fit businesses’ needs now and anticipate future ones.
  • Adaptability. A well-designed and well-built home can accommodate its owner’s evolving needs. Great software offers businesses a flexible platform to build on.

Partner with experience

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 details done right.

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