With increasing systems complexity and increasing demand, the term software factory has gained prominence. The goal is to import some concepts and techniques from large industries to optimize processes and results in software development.
Hiring a company that operates this way can help reduce costs and achieve a positive ROI, with correct and timely deliveries. To learn more and deepen your knowledge on the subject, continue reading.
What is a software factory?
This concept was created in the 1960s to meet the demand at the time — development that fit a established schedule, that did not spend more than expected, and that offered a documented quality assurance.
The goal was to bring the approaches of large industries to large-scale software development, with standardization and process automation, in order to provide expertise to other corporations and to sell not only the product but the working methodology as well.
This type of method is also characterized by following a well-established set of steps. Thus, teams can organize themselves to define the necessary budget in each one and eliminate excesses. With this, all investments made by customers are properly planned, generating savings.
What are the advantages and how does it integrate the current scenario of software development?
In the current scenario, software factories are hired as outsourcing by specific companies that do not have the necessary manpower, expertise, and time for activities related to system development.
This way, these factories adapt to the needs of the customer and to what they need to deliver.
It is important that the contractor is aware of several factors: the adequacy of the factory to what he or she needs; the ability to adapt to the specific methodology of the client; their experience and relevance, among others.
Following are some advantages of this type of computer systems development strategy for those who choose to hire a software factory.
Focus on productivity
By transferring development activity to a partner corporation, the client is able to focus more on the work of its segment, as well as on the company’s goals and objectives.
Due to the contributions of the factory, the hiring company does not have to worry about processes, deadlines, and other stages of production — the focus is only on the final result that will be delivered.
Accuracy and speed of delivery
Other advantages are increased accuracy and speed. Due to the standardization of activities, each employee of the factory performs its function and specializes on that, avoiding unexpected problems, bottlenecks, and failures that generate errors in products.
This process adds more value to the results, which creates more consistency for the hiring company that will use the day-to-day software and helps solve problems in less time.
A software factory also reduces costs for companies that pay for this production model. After all, with the outsourcing of the specialized activity, the organization that receives the service manages to save on labor and internal infrastructure as well as on the necessary costs of possible maintenance, achieving the development of solutions that are important for daily use.
Finally, the mentioned benefits give companies more competitive advantage as they result in better, safer, and more consistent products. Consequently, this quality of results attracts more consumers and users who trust you and are willing to become loyal.
How does process standardization work in a software factory?
Processes are interrelated activities that generate expected outputs. Their standardization in a factory takes place through the definition of tasks, products, and managers and the use of patterns for all development, such as the steps mentioned in the first topic.
In this way, the organization establishes a kind of routine that is followed, precisely because it is well documented and works well. If you need to change, you need to apply the changes to the following developments.
The standardization of everything the company does allows the quality assurance, with the dedication of the team to specific phases, that has the purpose of improving the consistency of the product.
In addition, in many situations, the tests are carried out by another, which helps to attest to the solidity of the result. Because of this, teams achieve results aligned with each client’s goals.
Therefore, it is possible to follow a methodology that takes each step to the next and helps in the optimization of production.
What are the differences between agile and traditional processes?
Traditional processes, also associated with the so-called cascade development methodology, are characterized by greater predictability of requirements, which are clear from the very beginning of production and are unchanged. The phases are sequential and generate artifacts to ensure continuation to the next step.
One of its main resistances is the lack of flexibility. This gave rise to agile processes, characterized by a greater focus on efficiency, requirements that can be changed, and small deliveries made to the client, in order to obtain constant feedback from it and optimize the product in a timely manner.
The focus is not to have so much rigor in the sequencing of activities and to seek to tailor the result to what the client wants. It is a methodology focused on coding and on fewer steps involving the same amount of work, unlike the cascade methodology, which starts with less effort and gradually increases it.
Pulse research has shown that companies have adhered to the agile methodology: 33% of them stated that they use these principles often, while 29% of them are traditional. Other research from VersionOne found that 98% of the companies that applied this technique were successful in their projects.
What are the expected success factors for a software factory?
We will see below some relevant factors:
- Following the requirements well is critical. As perfection is impossible, the ideal is to deliver with as few defects as possible, that is, well tested and operational increments as requested;
- Care with deadlines is also always essential, in order to avoid dissatisfaction and inconvenience;
- Expected costs, as defined and initially planned.
What myths do you need to overcome about the software factory?
Here are some common myths about this type of organization and the main truths against them.
1. Factories have no flexibility
One of the main myths propagated about software factories is that they are not good at customizing results because they produce everything using the same pattern. But in fact, the opposite is true — with the well-defined stages and the standardization of activities, it is possible to customize the product and adapt the methodology to each customer, since it is much easier to change the direction because all phases are clear.
2. Complex and does not guarantee ROI
Another myth is that these processes are very complex, difficult to follow and do not guarantee the expected return. As we have seen in this article, the steps are simple and well-known to the stakeholders, and the result is guaranteed with consistent quality, as reported by the client.
The opposite is true — if the methodology is not as explicit as a factory, the activities tend to be too complicated and may not guarantee return.
3. Lack of process control
The processes of a software factory are well defined and documented, following functional and effective standards. This production model guarantees consistent planning, with easy monitoring and control of deadlines and costs by management. Therefore, in these production models, the resources do not need to be allocated to achieve the success of the project.
As it was presented, companies operating under this model constitute an effective solution to classic problems of product development and delivery. Care must be taken when hiring a company that works in this way to ensure that there is compatibility between the methodologies and that the results are as expected.
Now that you know more about the benefits of the software factory, contact our company and check out an efficient solution that uses this operation methodology.
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