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January 11, 2013
Category: Strategy Written by: Tagged: diary thoughts work-in-progress

Choosing A Technology Partner

In this post I will cover few key factors to consider while choosing a freelancer/technology partner to work on your project.

BUSINESS UNDERSTANDING

This aspect of choosing a business relationship is vastly underestimated. It is essential that your technology partner understands your business to a fair degree. This can vastly impact the quality and relevance of your technology product. In my opinion, the effect goes even further in a actually determining the technical quality of the product delivered.

Business understanding by the technology team lead to better design choices to suit the particular business problem.

PROTOTYPING

Prototyping can take various forms. The initial specs need to written down with visual appeal. The best way to do this is through wireframes coupled with description documents. I have a strong preference for high fidelity mockups using Axure. Others, have different opinions with valid points.

First the reason for using products like Axure. Axure makes is terribly easy to quickly craft together working webpage like prototypes with very little effort. The drag and drop functionality and purchasable widgets and design resources make application prototyping a breeze.

Axure also provides ability to significantly go beyond wireframe by including situation based transitions, alerting, navigation, etc. These can be critical for huge projects that involve significant investment but not usual freelancer / small scale web development projects.

Critics do not favor high fidelity mockups in initial stages with the valid reason being that it takes away focus from the “bigger picture” and you tend to focus on “nitty grit ties”. While quite true, I think it boils down to discipline! A disciplined client developer relationship can wipe away these difficulties in a giffy!

TECHNOLOGY

Technology specifications are critical in leading to the success of the project. This does NOT mean the most efficient technology can cause the project to be successful. Examples are abundant that actually prove the contrary! Technology needs to enable business … efficiently!

Having the right business perspective, a strong hold on costs, phasing of developments and ability to react to customer feedback all impact the technology choices to be made. It goes without saying the core skills and abilities of the development partner also matter.

RESOURCES

Human resources are the most important part in any product or service engagement. It is by no means necessary that the technology partners has the maximum army of people to effect the success of the project.

The key to success of a product or service engagement is having the right set of people with the right skills in the right amount and having the right mindset to deliver that engagement. While people and teams are often flexible in terms of potential to deliver and the skills to be deployed, it is not uncommon to find underskilled or overspilled delivering less than optimal results for certain projects.

The key is to find the right team for the right job!

SUPPORT

Technology soutions invariably are never perfect. It is always important to reach an agreement on maintenance and support with your technology partner. Aspects around support are often overlooked by many business partners and can lead to significant issues (both production related and relationship related) post deployment.

Support related agreements need to specify the timeframe for support to be available, the costs related to the support provided and types of support that would be "chargeable" and those which would needed to be "provided at no additional cost".

Agreements of this nature are key because every resource of the technology or business partner is equally valuable and needs to be factored into the pricing and budgeting to avoid any party being treated unfairly.

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