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Common Misconceptions about Software Development

Published 02/28/2018

You probably won’t be shocked to learn there are misconceptions in our industry.

Undoubtedly, there are misconceptions in your industry, too.

But since we work with a lot of clients, we wanted to share a list (in no particular order) of the biggest misconceptions we encounter.

1. It’s magic

Because people can’t “touch” software, the often assume it is akin to magic, as if it just appears out of thin air.

In actuality, software is no more magical than building a house.

There’s planning, there’s setup, there’s building, there’s cleaning up and there’s inspection.

The only difference is that our hammer and nailgun is a typewriter and a mouse.

2.  How something “sounds” has any bearing on how difficult it is to do

We hear this one a lot: After someone finishes explaining a change they want, they end it with “That doesn’t sound like it should be too difficult, right?”

The fact is, how something sounds has almost no bearing on how difficult it really is to do.

Something that sounds like it should be the simplest of tasks might take hours to do.

On the flip side, we’ve heard the other end where a client hesitates to ask us to do something because it sounds extremely complicated and difficult and yet would only take a couple minutes to do.

3. Estimations are anything more than guesses

Nine out of every 10 projects we get involve building something new.

And that makes sense.

Our job is to give the agency, business, individual something that doesn’t exist anymore to make their life or job easier or more profitable.

You wouldn’t ask us to build a document editor when you have access to Microsoft Word and Google Docs, right?

The point is, we seldom do the same thing twice, which means there is a lot of “figuring it out” that goes on.

Sure, there is some overlap but it’s like writing a book for the first time.

It helps if you have a solid understanding of the English language and that you’ve written a bunch of articles, but you’re still going to have some unknowns along the way that you need to figure out.

That said, what we do is get a ballpark based on the number of unknowns and present it to the client / prospect.

If they are ok with it, then we move forward and hit that deadline come hell or high water.

4. Experience is an indicator of quality

And number 3 bleeds right into this one.

Experience can be an indicator of quality, but too often, it is not.

Let’s take an example you’re probably more familiar with.

You start a job and have been there for two years.

You’re objectively more productive (for whatever reason) than your peers but the guy (or gal) who’s been there for 20 years ends up getting the raise – simply based on “experience.”

The fact that they were there for 20 years is only indicative of the fact that they were good enough to not get fired.

Does that mean they deserve a raise? We don’t think so.

We think the person who does the best job should be rewarded.

That’s why we suggest that potential clients ask for a prototype – to actually see that we can do what we say we can do and better than our competitors.

5. Price is an indicator of quality

There’s a story behind this one.

A jewelry store owner is going on vacation.

He’s got a bunch of pieces ranging from $6,000 to $10,000 that he hasn’t been able to sell in months and he needs to space for new inventory.

So he tells his manager to mark them down 60% just to get rid of them.

When the store owner returns, all those pieces are, indeed, gone.

But when he asks his manager about them, he finds out there was miscommunication.

The manager thought he said to increase the price by 60%.

The story illustrates an important point – when people don’t understand something, they look at price – or cost – as an indicator of quality.

That runs counter to our philosophy.

Gunner Technology is a remote company, meaning, we have employees across the country, but not a central office.

That lowers our cost to clients.

We have spent years refining our development process, which streamlines and hastens deliverables.

Less time on equal tasks means lower cost to clients.

We host everything on AWS which eliminates the need for large SysAdmin teams and allows for us to only charge for what we’re using.

Less resources means lower cost to clients.

We use nimble, cutting edge technologies such as React Native and JavaScript that allow for more rapid development than kludgier platforms like .Net and Java.

Again, faster development means lower cost to clients.

Long story short, we actually deliver higher quality than our competitors at a lower price.

5. Overseas outsourcing will save money

In nearly a decade in this industry, we have yet come across a client who has saved money outsourcing.

The main reason is that the product they get out of it is nearly always tossed on the trash heap.

This is one of those thing where, no matter how many times we say it, no one believes us until they try it.

Usually this takes the form of “How much will it cost to build X?”

After getting more details and doing some research, we’ll say “Probably about Y”

Then the protests start.

“That’s crazy! I can get the same thing built in India for 80% less than Y”

We’re not in the business of arguing, so we caution them against it, but don’t try to persuade them (it’s useless to try anyway).

Without exception, we hear back in two months from the same prospect saying that it was a disaster.

And then comes the hard part: “What can you do with it?”

The answer is nothing. Never do we get any solid foundation back and the only answer is to start from scratch and do it the right way.

8. “It needs to be perfect”

Perfect is the enemy of good.

This one goes more for our entrepreneur clients than businesses or government.

Your app will never be perfect.

In fact, there is no such thing as perfect.

What is perfect to you may be horrible for your clients – or worse, horrible for your potential investors.

That is why it’s so important to get something that people can actually use and give feedback on.

And why it’s important to be able to prioritize the feedback.

You could spend forever chiseling away at something.

But, especially as an entrepreneur, you have a limited budget to get your product off the ground.

Work within those limitations and show what your idea is capable of.

Then wait until you land that Series A round to start refinements.