10+ Ways to Optimize Development Cost — Custom-made Modules vs Open-source Solutions.

The two approaches

Ways to optimize development costs with pre-existing components

  1. You can take advantage of third-party service providers such as SaaS or BaaS, and other existing solutions offered for a reasonable fee or even for free.
Screenshot from Jitsi
Source: Jitsi
Stripe’s dashboard screenshot
Source: Stripe
Icrement Magazine article cover
Source: Increment, Issue 12. Read it here.

Why are those solutions worth considering?

  • They let you save a lot of development time. We all know time is money, especially in development.
  • The faster you release the product to market, the sooner you can get valuable feedback from your users and make better strategic decisions.
  • Building an app with a flexible approach in mind, enables you to make product changes quicker and easier.

When is it a better idea to build custom modules?

  • When you have specific requirements for managing your user base or when your desired features are innovative and there are no solutions available that would let you accomplish your goals
  • When you’re already using a solution that is expensive and you don’t get the results you want. In such case you may come to the point where it would benefit you more to build your own
  • When the existing components that fit your project are very young and not tested enough to be proven to work well — then it is probably safer to build it yourself

Other ways to optimize development cost

  • Plan smart. Make sure to prioritize essential tasks and separate the “must haves” from the “nice to haves”. Good planning will make the process more structured and efficient.
  • Take advantage of the Agile methodology and the frequent X. Testing, iterating and making swift changes when needed will help you keep track of the progress and the budget.
  • Lay out your product requirements precisely and simplify where possible. Sometimes a functionality can be achieved in a simple or a sophisticated way — determine if you can start with the basic Proof of Concept and add complexity later in the process.
  • Involve a Quality Assurance specialist from the beginning of the development process (or even in the planning phase!) and start testing your product early. As bugs and errors tend to accumulate over time, it is best to identify them as soon as possible to avoid the need to rework.
  • Don’t be afraid to start testing your product on early stages of development and collect user feedback (even from your friends and family!) as soon as it’s possible.

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Monterail

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