Frequently Asked Questions
What is Agile software development?
Agile software development is a combination of iterative and incremental process models with focus on process adaptability and customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of working software product. Agile Methods break the product into small incremental builds. These builds are provided in fortnightly iterations.
What is the difference between Agile and Waterfall?
Waterfall is a structured software development methodology, and often can be quite rigid. This is because all the planning takes places prior to a project commencing. Waterfall does not embrace the fact that requirements and priorities may change throughout a project, whereas the Agile methodology is known for its flexibility and achieving the most value in the shortest amount of time.
What’s an MVP?
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. This is an important concept in the software world. What you do is design your software, thinking of all the possible features. You then strip it back to the bare essentials. What’s the “minimum” product we can build, that has the value we need? The value depends on what you must achieve from the product – for example the minimum might be that it has certain important functionality and allows it to be bought online with a credit card. However you might decide that allowing customers to buy “on account” is not necessary from day one. Therefore if it’s not critical, don’t build it. Then you end up with a leaner product, costing less, and available much sooner. Then you get feedback and really start to understand what people want out of the software. You might find out nobody wanted to buy it on account after all. If you try to think of – and include – every possible feature up front, it takes far longer to build, which costs a lot more of course, and it simply delays getting it live, in use and bringing value to your organisation. Find out more about our software consultancy services.
Does DCSL do mobile app development?
Yes, and we have dozens of examples of this in our portfolio. We work with Microsoft Xamarin and React Native, allowing our developers to write native Android and iOS apps. For more information see Mobile App Development.
Why outsource software development?
There are numerous advantages to outsourcing software development, the most obvious being you can switch us “on” and “off” as needed to match your projects requirements. Also, by outsourcing to an established and trusted software house you are gaining access to our talented team. At DCSL we have everything needed for quality end to end software development.
What is the advantage of bespoke software over off-the-shelf?
Building bespoke software allows you to build the software in a way which matches your exact requirements, providing complete business process optimisation. As opposed to trying to “make something fit” which is a common occurrence when it comes to off-the-shelf solutions. Most importantly, when DCSL builds your software, you own the code (or IP / Intellectual Property). This is important because it becomes an asset to your business and holds its value. It’s a bit like the difference between buying and renting a property.
How is software made from scratch – what is the process?
The first part of the project is called Sprint 0. This is where we fully plan out the system to thoroughly prepare the team for the project, and to align your teams and DCSL’s teams on the requirements for the project. We will work with your key stakeholders to create a “Wireframe” of the entire system – designed to the requirements of today rather than how the current system looks & feels (if one exists). We will also create User Stories to specify each functional and non-functional requirement in detail. The system will be built using the “Agile” methodology meaning that every 2 weeks you will be given a full demonstration of work completed to date, an updated Budget/Burn Down and a meeting to plan out the tasks for the next sprint. Eventually the software will be ready to “go live” and we’ll make that happen, setting up the application on a production hosting environment. We’ll then support you for the long term.
How much does software development cost?
The minimum projects which DCSL Software engage with start at around £15,000+VAT. However it is difficult to give a good answer to this question without full details of the requirements, as the “devil’s in the detail”. Here are a few examples (all exclude VAT):
- A basic web-based database of information, with approximately 10 data screens, a secure login, testing and deployment could cost between £15K and £30K depending on the complexity.
- An operational system, automating various aspects of an organisation’s end-to-end processes including (for example) job management, invoicing and reporting, could cost between £80K and £250K.
- A mobile app MVP for helping people find people, companies or services (e.g. the style of AirBnB, or a people-matching platform) would cost between £100K and £200K. This is made up of the cross-platform mobile app, a web-based platform for the service providers or people to login and set up their profile and services, and a back office web application for the application owner to manage all aspects of the system. Note this is a sensible budget for an MVP – a baseline product that “works” and starts to drive adoption or revenue. Something as detailed as AirBnB, Uber or Booking.com will have had multiple millions of pounds/dollars of investment over several years, by way of comparison!
- A SaaS platform MVP, such as an analytics platform or hotel management system, to be sold to clients, would cost upwards of £150K.
- A Digital Transformation project for a large company or government department could cost upwards of £0.5M.
There is no real upper limit to the cost of software. The important thing is that there is RoI (Return on Investment). At DCSL we always recommend building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to test the requirements with the market/users, before moving on with a second “Phase 2” project to make adjustments and fill in the gaps, so you have software that really brings lasting value. Some larger clients will continue developing the software and set aside a yearly budget. For example, two full time developers working alongside a team of project management, UX and QA would cost about £30K per month (or £360K per year). DCSL can provide teams for ongoing projects from 1 to 20 full time developers.
How long will it take to build the software?
It depends on the requirements of course. It can be as quick as a couple of months for smaller projects. On average, we aim for 6 months for larger projects, and resource the team appropriately to deliver in this timescale. Much larger projects, or those with a complex “critical path”, can take much longer, or be “ongoing” projects with regular releases. Find out more about working with us.
Will I own the IP?
Yes. You will have full ownership of the intellectual property.
Why is onshore better than offshore?
Selecting an onshore provider can be advantageous as you have direct access to the supplier, meaning meetings can be conducted in person and overall communication is much more efficient. The quality of the project is also guaranteed as you have complete visibility throughout the project.
Does DCSL Software use offshore developers?
No, all DCSL’s employees are full time. We do not use any contractors or outsource.
Are all DCSL’s Developers based in the UK?
Yes, all DCSL’s developers are full time employees, based at either our Farnborough or London office.
How many developers does DCSL have?
Just over 100 full time employees, 70 of which are developers.
Is software development a good career?
Yes, software development is a great career. DCSL employs dozens of talented developers. The pay can be fantastic, and it’s a genuinely fun but challenging and interesting job to do. The world is becoming ever more dependent on technology and developers are hugely in demand as a result. DCSL is growing fast and has dozens of vacancies available – contact us now!