Business is complex and the distinct needs of your operations often make off-the-shelf software fall short of your needs, leaving you to compensate with homegrown tracking systems, spreadsheets, or databases. While the office technologies available 25-30 years ago were a boon for productivity it’s likely you are now experiencing one or more of the following:
Data loss due to irregular backups.
Outdated technology that doesn’t function well.
Lack of system maintenance because creator is no longer with the company or an external programmer has retired.
Pushing7 has 30 years of experience in helping customers in just these situations, who are looking for something more efficient, reliable, and modern.
Needs Analysis and Request for Proposals (RFP)
We start with a complimentary one-hour consultation, where we get a high-level view of your business data functions, the systems currently in use and their challenges, and your organization’s goals for a new system. Then we share our impressions of the possibilities for how we can help. This might include identifying software that would fill your needs or pursuing the development of a custom-built solution.
At that point, you can hire us to continue the process. The next step is a formal needs analysis that includes everyone who interacts with the data systems to gain a complete picture of your business rules. From that we develop a mid-level programming plan. When we are done, the analysis and programming plan functions as a Request for Proposal (RFP), which you can choose to share with other developers to get quotes for the project.
If you have ever contracted for software or custom web development work, perhaps you have experience with getting multiple quotes that have wildly varying estimates. By the time the work is done, the cost is two or three times the estimate you selected. This is the advantage of getting a thorough needs analysis as part of the proposal process—you don’t need to meet with multiple business analysts to give the same information over and over, and every estimate can be judged in an apples-to-apples fashion, because they are all based on the same analysis.
We encourage every client to get multiple quotes based on the RFP we create, and we create an estimate ourselves. In our years of doing this we have been hired to complete the project every time.
When hired to do the work, we set expectations in terms of cost and timeframes. Then we get to work, creating a test site where you can see each portion of the system as it is completed.
Our Web Development Practices
Many development shops will claim to do needs analysis for “free” and charge only for the programming done. We put the word “free” in quotes because it is not really free—the time spent on the needs analysis is rolled into the programming time, so you don’t really know what you’re paying for. Further, others may give a quote for the entire project, and that’s what you pay, whether it took them as long as they estimated or not.
Pushing7 is much more transparent in our practices for programming work: We do not get paid based on fixed bids. Instead, we charge based on the actual time spent working on your project. You will see the time spent on each monthly invoice.
We do our best to estimate the time we will spend on a project (typically we can be more accurate after needs analysis is complete), and make these estimates somewhat conservative to leave room for the unexpected.
If we get the sense from our time tracking that the project will take longer than we estimated, we will let you know immediately that we are likely to go over budget. If the newly projected costs are a concern, we can have a discussion about what to prioritize so that the most important aspects are completed first, in case work needs to be pushed off for capital expenditure reasons, etc.
On the other hand, if we complete the work in less time than we estimated, you again only pay for the time we’ve actually spent.