This article is the first of seven briefs presented by Todd Davis, Vice President of IT, UniMed Direct, offering insight about building workflow software
A recent survey sponsored by Appian shows widespread support for developing custom software. More than half of IT executives who responded to the survey said “building your own” (BYO) software was essential to innovation.
With growing enthusiasm toward BYO, it’s important to caution companies about the reality of failure rates when taking on the task of building custom software. Many sources report that over 50 percent of software projects fail to achieve the desired goals in at least one category: functionality, timeliness and budget. According to the Gartner Group, failure rates are tied to the size and scope of a project, with the smallest projects having the lowest failure rates.
The key to building successful software solutions is to develop and follow a detailed systematic approach. Software that effectively manages Utilization Review has many elements: workflow management, document management, security, a lot of hard work, and a bit of magic. This series explores how UniMed Direct develops ReviewStat, in order to provide some insight into what it takes to create effective utilization review software. The series will focus on the following steps:
Part 2: Understanding your customers and their workflow
Before starting, you need to understand who your customers are and what they are trying to accomplish. How do they do their work? We are all being asked to do more with fewer resources, so how can we make that workflow more efficient?
Part 3: Usability: form and function
This is all about how people use their computer to do their work. How do we draw the eye to the important areas of the screen? When do we need to keep hands on the keyboard vs. using the mouse? How intuitive is the screen? Can users step in and use the software without needing training?
Part 4: Use Cases: breaking down the work
Now it’s time to document everything we’ve learned and break it down into explanations of how we expect people to use the software.
Part 5: Review, design and code
At this point you will have put a lot of important work into deciding what to build. This is where we start to see the fruit of all that hard work. We learn what can (and can’t) be done, and adjust our plans based on budget, ROI and industry demand. Plus, the testers are starting to get excited!
Part 6: Testing
Testing often determines whether your user gets a good experience or a bad one. There are many levels of testing you’ll need to complete. Stay tuned for information about what to test and how to do it correctly.
Part 7: Release, rinse and repeat
Do you think you’ve built something worthy of releasing to customers? Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes the answer isn’t “yes” or “no.” Part 7 will discuss these issues, as well as how to build road maps and plan all this cyclical work, so customers get a consistently great experience.
Watch for these upcoming articles to find a simple way to manage a complex project.