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Mayank Uniyal

Mayank Uniyal

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In the previous blog, we got a reasonable understanding of how a technology partner helps non-tech entrepreneurs build a successful tech startup. But, the quest to find a good tech partner that fits the purpose is often very tricky and requires to answer some critical questions. So, moving ahead, I am writing this blog to offer insight into what all important things a non-tech entrepreneur must consider before partnering with a technology service provider to make their startup a success. Let’s begin!!!

Looking for a Technology Partner: Here’s What to Consider

What are Your Technology Goals

Before you start looking for a technology service provider, you should draft what exactly needs to be developed and what the deliverable should be at each step of the process. Defining your goals helps the technology partner establish if your goals are realistic and can be achieved without having you to make any false promise to your customers. An honest tech partner won’t shy away from saying no if your requirements are not feasible for the real world.

It’s better to be too specific from the outset rather than facing a situation at a later stage where misunderstanding leads to redoing of the code over and over again to meet your expectations. The more details you provide about your needs and requirements, the easier it gets for a technology partner to do business analysis and be on the same page.

Do they have Expertise and Passion for Technology

For tech startups, it’s paramount to go for a technology partner that holds good experience in providing technology solutions and enjoys what they do. Some sort of research is required at your end to deduce how long and how well they have been faring in the technology market providing solutions similar to your requirements.

Also, you should look for solutions your competitors are providing to customers and what additional features you can provide to create solutions to their pain points. It’s a good idea to conduct a direct meeting with a technology service provider over Skype or face to face, if possible, to know what technology stack they have been using and how fast they adopt new technologies to keep pace with ever changing tech market.

Ask for Demo Product

Well, trusting an independent software vendor blindly could land you in big trouble. Therefore, before entering into a contract with a tech service provider you can ask for a prototype of your app/website. This helps you test and verify their skills and expertise to ensure they are the right fit for your dream project.

Project Management

Since requirements are likely to change with changing times, it becomes very difficult to make changes in a product that was completely developed at once. Therefore, you should go for a technology partner that follows Agile or DevOps approach as they enable developing a product in small iterations and have a working software ready at a very early stage of development. Besides, you can market a feature much faster and continuously build on customer feedback to meet their expectations.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Having a service level agreement (SLA) leaves no room for confusion. Both the service provider and receiver know what their responsibilities are and what exactly has to be developed and delivered while maintaining minimum quality levels laid out in the SLA. Metrics for SLA should cover the volume and minimum quality of work, speed, responsiveness and efficiency. Besides, an SLA should define mean time between failures (MTBF) or mean time to recovery, response, or resolution (MTTR).

Duration and Cost

A technology service provider just not shares the technology burden of your startup, but also helps reduce cost and time significantly. However, if you don’t lay out in the agreement the estimate cost and time to build your product, you may get charged higher that you thought or your budget allowed. So, make sure the agreement has the cost and time mentioned along with a provision for negotiating changes in the expected period of time. Read the contract between you and your service provider carefully to avoid any hidden costs.

Do they Test

Having different vendors for development and testing often exceeds the deadline. So, the better option is to choose a tech service provider that can do both product development and testing. When the development and the testing team are at the same place, they coordinate better and make iterations much faster. As a result, you can market your product faster and stay ahead of the competition.

Communication Skills

No matter how technically strong your service vendor is, they would simply not be able to align with your requirements if they failed to understand you. So, communication skills must not be trivialized while looking for a tech partner. The project manager and the team must have excellent communication skills to get a fair idea of even the finest details you share with them, be it spoken or written. They must also be able to raise queries and ask for information in clear terms to avoid delays in decision making.

Location of Technology Service Provider

Apart from skills and expertise, you should also take into consideration the location of your technology service provider. Since different locations have different government regulations, facilities, business environment, availability of resources, etc., you should go for the one that best suits your business. Countries, like India, have already become very popular for partnering with a technology service provider owing to the ease of cross-border business, abundance of resources and the ability to effectively adapt to different cultures.

After Sales Support

A software vendor that offers after sales support is always a better option since you may require to make changes or improvements after the release. So, post-production support should be in your list while looking for a tech partner.

Data Security Regulations and Intellectual property

Personal data security has become a big concern across the globe. So, choose a technology service provider that agrees to comply with the existing personal data regulations, like GDPR for European Union members. Also, agreeing a vendor upon signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) ensures to keep your confidential information/data safe. An ideal technology service provider uses the latest security protocols for data transmission and sharing, and codes the solutions using the latest security standards.

Conclusion

There are myriad of choices available when it comes to finding a technology service provider for a tech startup. Still, choosing the right technology partner is very tricky and confusing for non-tech entrepreneurs. However, if you carefully consider the tips I have discussed in the blog, you can protect yourself from making a wrong decision and adversely impacting your business. A right technology partner means time and cost saving while getting a top notch product developed to shape your dream idea into a reality.

Why Evon

Evon Technologies has over 10 years of experience in IT consulting, app development, web development, QA and testing, custom development, enterprise integration, offshore product engineering, application migration and application maintenance. Evon was a startup itself when incepted, therefore understands the pain points and struggles of a startup. Our expertise and passion for technology drive us to provide innovative technology solutions to all our startup clients, with the sole intention of bringing them desired growth and high ROI.

If you are looking for an offshore technology service provider for your startup, get in touch with us. Trust us, we won’t disappoint you. You can even test and try Evon before going into complete development and testing of your product.

What else, apart from already discussed, do you think one needs to consider before going for a tech partner? Which country is your preferred choice for finding a tech partner and why? We value your views, please share them in the comment box below.

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Gone are the days when only tech entrepreneurs were able to build a tech startup, followed by a lucrative business. The last decade has witnessed a host of non-tech entrepreneurs bringing out-of-the-box startup ideas to fruition and making hundreds of millions of dollars or even more annually. Airbnb, Uber, Alibaba, and Tinder are some of the most successful tech startups that came from non-technical entrepreneurs.

However, the most important question to ponder over here is how a low tech geek can turn their tech-startup vision into reality?

If you’re a non-technical entrepreneur looking forward to build a tech startup, you should be prepared to overcome various technology barriers from the outset. The most common technology challenges that non-tech entrepreneurs face include:

  • No knowledge of coding and no clarity over where to start from and how

  • Not aware of what new and trending technologies fit your dream startup

  • Confusion over what all features the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) should have

  • High cost of hiring and training an in-house team of experts to cover all technology requirements of your bootstrapped startup

  • Challenge to meet the deadline so the product can be marketed faster

  • Keep pace with changing market requirements to stay ahead of the competition

  • How to mitigate risks

However, there’s a way a non-technical entrepreneur can effectively overcome all these technology challenges. And that is, going for a technology partner or technology service provider. Let’s see, how?

How a Technology Partner helps Non-Tech Entrepreneurs bridge Technology Gaps

Hiring Techies

Finding the right talent is indeed the trickiest and the toughest part of a startup journey for non-tech entrepreneurs. Besides, a lot of time goes in the process of hiring and training, which often proves to be a bottleneck for a bootstrapped startup. This is where a technology provider proves to be a big help by providing top resources for your project in quick time and getting things started much sooner. So, a technology partner keeps you from scraping the bottom of the barrel and from getting your startup out of kilter.

Product Idea Viability Test via Proof of Concept

Most technology partners create a Proof of Concept (PoC) before starting to code in order to test viability and usability of your product idea. PoC helps determine whether a software idea can be implemented in the real world, what technology solutions should be used during the development phase, and what are the chances that users will adopt your product. Having the PoC is also a great means of convincing stakeholders that your startup idea is worth investing in and raise funds needed to strengthen the core business model.

Building a Successful MVP

Developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the first attempt to take your tech startup off the ground. An MVP helps solve the most important and basic problems and include the most essential functions to capture and engage early adopters. But, creating an MVP is not as easy as it may sound and requires great technical expertise. If you’re an entrepreneur without a strong technical background, you should choose a technology service provider for converting your ideas and vision into an interactive product that has sufficient features to attract initial users and investors.

Reduced Operational and Infrastructural Cost

Since wages vary across the globe, the cost of hiring a technical workforce overseas with the desired expertise is much lower than that of hiring an in-house team. For example, offshore technology partners in India provide technical experts at a much lower cost than you would get in Western Europe or North America (The US and Canada). A technology partner also saves infrastructural costs for you as you don’t need to invest in expensive IT architecture and systems.

Nimble Product Development and Faster Time to Market

Increased speed to market (STM) has become a key to success for any startup. A technology partner saves you months of time that goes in hiring and building a team of developers before you start building your product. Many technology partners use Agile methodology for project management to quickly produce a basic version of the software product, tested after several successful iterations. Always remember, the faster your product reaches the marketplace, the higher the chances of your startup to become a success and stay ahead of competition.

Increased Focus on Core Business Goals

One of the major benefits of hiring a technology partner is that it frees your energies from the operation and lets you focus more on your core business tasks, such as sales and marketing strategy, meeting other vendors, growing your network of potential investors, better client relation, product feature initiatives, value added services, etc.

Better Risk Mitigation

Technology partners manage risks that come up during the development process much better than non-tech entrepreneurs, as it’s a part of their core business. They also supplement operations with disaster recovery mechanisms and detailed backup plans in order to quickly and effectively respond to situations such as natural calamities, accidents, market fluctuations or technical crises.

Quick & Effective Migration to new Technology

Technology service providers work on several different projects and keep updating themselves with latest technologies, such as cloud computing. As a result, they help you easily migrate to newer technologies with minimum downtime and without hampering productivity. Technology migration allows to have a high performing system that is scalable and easy to maintain at low cost.

Conclusion

Being inefficient at IT skills is no longer a roadblock for non-tech entrepreneurs to shape their innovative business ideas into successful startups. They can always go for a technology partner that believes in their idea and treats it like their own. The benefits are quality code, high productivity, reduced cost, access to specialized IT professionals, latest technologies, timely development, increased speed to market and many more. However, there are certain things to keep in mind while choosing a technology partner for successful product development, which I will be explaining in the next blog.

How Evon Can Help

Evon has 10 plus years of experience in software product development and consulting. At Evon, we are committed to provide expert level technical assistance to entrepreneurs with disruptive startup ideas. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have a creative startup idea and looking for a technology partner to turn your vision into reality. We will be glad to address any concerns that you have related to your product idea and to get your software project started in the right direction from the outset.

What would you prefer for your tech startup, a technology service provider or an in-house development team, and why? Do you agree with the statement that emerging technologies are making technology service providers even more important for non-tech entrepreneurs to build tech startups of modern day? We value your views, please share them in the comment box below.

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Working in IT industry as a Project Manager, I do come across my team members praising or complaining about Project Managers as how they have made their easy or hell in the project. Well mostly out of these are the ones who rather complain and seldom do I hear praises for the Project Managers. So is it really that grave of a situation and we can assume that all Project Managers are disciple of Hitler?

 

Well not so, I think there are 3 categories of PM – Good, Bad and Ugly. They as the name confers may not be like that in reality and it is the perception of the team members against the Project Manager. I know you must be getting confused here, so let’s evaluate each of these characteristics:

 

1. Good Project Manager – This is one, whom we will associate from the eyes of team members as the one who plans well, approves leaves of teams, takes pain to deliver projects, helpful and sensitive. These characteristics may be helpful in terms of employee satisfaction but they may not be in the eyes of Employer as for them you are too friendly with team and this friendliness removes the fear factor amongst them. With this token- Is Good project manager indeed a bad one, not with the above example. A good project manager is indeed a person who is friendly with the team but not too friendly such that people fear him not and start believing in laissez-faire. A good PM does exemplary work, motivates team/spirit, mitigates risks and issues, meets client expectation and other things that keep project status in Green but what he also does is take corrective actions if things are going haywire, manage people and see their timings in office, have a way to escalate and report if any team member is under-performing or is not adhering to company policies. With doing this what team members have always at the back of their mind is that there is a PM who can heed to their problems/issues at hand but he is also there with a Vulcan eyes who can catch them if they are wrong footed.

 

2. Bad Project Manager – Now this is the biggest drainer in an organization and this is what one should be careful about. A Bad PM is the one who has limited functional/technical knowledge and even then manages a team of IT developers. This PM will never be able to comprehend the daily nuances of software development. Since he lacks this he will also not be able to identify beforehand the risks and plan to mitigate them. He also will be helpless in tackling with the issues when they crop in the project and will run from pillar to post for resolving them, in doing so he will consume lot of resources precious time and this will again affect the project timelines which is already struggling with delay due to existing issue. This PM is definitely not liked by the resources as he will have characteristics of micro-managing team, finding faults, scapegoating, building artificial pressure, non-cognitive thinking. These bad PM do what the saying says that one dirty fish can contaminate a pond. So would these PM be shunned right away, well not hastily, everyone should be provided an opportunity to improve. I have seen that most of the time Bad managers also have some reasons to become bad such as they are not in the righteous place/position/team, they lack training, they are master less i.e., lack checks and balances, are hideous where they tend to hide their incapability by means of being harsh and rude. So I will say that these people if they tend to improve can go on the path to become a Good PM if not then dismissal is an option.

 

3. Ugly Project Manager – Now this is a PM who has a tendency of becoming a bête noire of his subordinates. This PM becomes ugly following his actions that make a dreadful predator who is always on the lookout. This PM believes in reprimanding and does follow a regimen of fear tactics. This he does in order to make the team deliver to their full potential without mistake and many a times they even succeed. They may not be helpful always and before some team member approaches them for help they make sure that they have tried it twice or thrice as if not they can face the fury. These PM give orders which can be like a decree for the team members and they tend to follow it religiously. So this PM may be ugly for the team but for the organization he proves to be helpful as his team is the least problem creator. So then if that’s the case can we say that Ugly PM is indeed the best PM, well not so, see when you are Ugly/fearsome PM then team don’t tend to question your judgments or decisions which sometime becomes detrimental to the project as a unanimous decision is the best decision. With the constant fear in which the team works there are high chances that there will be quite of higher rate of exits from the team as all members may not be accustomed to this kind of management. Moreover since this PM is dreaded, they tend to make very less friends in the organization hence when they need any kind of help there will always be few givers.

 

So to encapsulate I would say that a PM should have a mix of Good and Ugly PM traits in them. This good-ugly mix can prove to be beneficial for everyone- the team, the project and the organization. The key is the PM should know about his trait periodically and this could be done by peer review and 360 degree evaluation.

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Working as a Project Manager and having more than a decade of experience working in the IT industry, I feel that following are the key points that helps in quick delivery of software development product:

 

1. PM identifies the risks at the right moment, risks are defined as something that has not happened yet but is bound to happen if corrective actions are not taken. Identifying risk timely provides PM to make plans for corrective action so that they can either avoid the risk completely or mitigate its effect to some extent. For e.g., if a project has a team of 3 developers and a developer resigns during the middle of the project. This tends to be the biggest risk that can affect the project owing to the size of the team. Now PM’s job should be to proactively work with the HR to find the replacement in time so that the KT of the project can be done in time and there is minimal impact on the project.

 

2. PM is dexterous in issue resolution. Issues are defined as incidents that have occurred and now need to be fixed. Issue could be vivid like related with coding, people, skills etc., and when they crop up an experienced PM has to become active instead of reactive. They need to plan out the QAt management and help the team to resolve the issue first rather than doing fault finding and cornering people. I am not saying that fault finding should be completely omitted, but it’s just that it can come later once the issue is resolved. For e.g. A developer forgets to check in his code in subversion over a period of time and one fine day someone else discovers this shortcoming. Now this is a major issue as this involves the code base on which developer has been working for long and this is not updated/stored safely in SVN. Once this goes to repository that can impact other developers’ work. Now instead of blasting the developer, PM should first make sure that all the code files are checked in successfully in SVN and the dependencies are resolved to make sure application is working. PM should also make sure that the SVN check-in is happening in correct way and to tackle any issue encountered. Reprimanding the developer action will come later when this issue is resolved, then with the developer root cause should be found in which it could be that developer understanding in SVN check in is less and he/she needs guidance. It could also be the case that the developer completely missed it, in this case a process should be brought in place where PM or TL periodically check if check-ins are happening.

 

3. PM does exemplary work and empowers the team. By empowering team he make sure that every team member is committed and motivated for their work, this way they make sure that redundancy in the team is maintained say if in a situation where a team person resigns. For e.g., there are certain tough tasks in a project that only TL is currently doing, PM should make effort to allow junior resources also to learn with TL the difficult tasks as this will enable them to learn things and eventually help them to grow in the company. This also empowers the overall team and makes task delegation easier.

 

4. People Manager – Managing the team well wherein he paves a listening ear to the team and their personal or work related issues if any. Maybe not every time PM can help but it gives a mental satisfaction to the team members that there is someone to listen to their grievances and they can focus on their work.

 

5. PM manages the change requests and enhancements such that they get to run with him. These activities are then planned and scheduled such that they do not affect a planned release. For e.g. in a project running on fixed cost and fixed time, and client is asking for a new or improved functionality. Say this effort is for additional 5 days so this need to be accounted for, client need to be made aware of this, have his approval on this change request and then modify the plan and pricing of the project accordingly.

 

6. Task Management and Assignment – PM manages the project in such a way that the most difficult of tasks in a project are given to more senior resource. If this is given to a lesser experience resource then this will delay not only the timeline of this task but will eventually drag the project. Also if a task requires more research than 1 person then in such cases more resources can be added to work on same task which is further divided in sub-tasks. This is done to keep up with the on time delivery of the project. For e.g. In one of my project in which a team of 3 resources were working, I came across a new feature of integrating a third party device. This task was assigned to the team lead as this was a new thing that we were doing and needed good experienced person to be engaged.

 

7. Short term staffing for specialized jobs – In a project there are sometimes situation where the team hits the wall, this is when there is something related with technology that needs to be done and team has zero experience on this. So in situation like these there need to be specialized people that need to be engaged, a good PM senses this during the course of the project and raises the request timely for a short term staffing of the resource on need basis in the project. It is also important that the knowledge acquired by this short term staffing is then transferred and retained to the original team as well, so that it can be handled in future. In one of the project, there was a requirement to create various environments like Dev, QA and Production in AWS, now since the dev team was not dexterous in installing these instances, I have to engage a senior Architect/DBA for this task on need basis who actually did created these instances with ease for the project.

 

8. Firefighting – There are situations when while developing an issue crops up, this can be known or unknown issue, in such instances the PM has to bring the team in firefighting mode wherein the team works much harder and longer to douse the issue at hand. This task is overseen by the PM himself by working in line with the team so that they are uplifted and motivated in working extra hours in such grim situations. So, PM has to be flexible in getting more out of the time at times while offering them compensatory offs at other times.

 

So, the PM’s role is very critical in getting a project delivered on time. He has to be on his toes and at best of his judgement to not only understand current situation but also to gauge what may happen in near future and be prepared to take decisions based on that to effectively manage the project delivery.

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