Software development

The Seven Myths of Bespoke Software Development

Every industry has myths surrounding it. The more seemingly complex the task an expert carries out, the more myths tend to crop up from people who don’t have the sufficient skills, training or experience to fully understand how that industry works. 

So it should come as no surprise that bespoke software development comes with a long list of received wisdom and inaccurate ideas.

Forget everything you’ve seen in the films about bespectacled coders typing away lines of impenetrable code. Put aside your preconceptions about price, timescales and complexity.

It’s time to debunk some myths.

Debunking seven of the most pervasive software development myths

1. “It’ll always take ages to build a bespoke software system!”

We can safely put this myth in the “not always” pile. Yes, some software development projects can take months, or even a year or more. That’s because it’s an in-depth project. But the more experienced a developer, the faster your project can proceed. If they’ve handled similar software in similar industries, then a developer will already have a head start on your project. Don’t dismiss bespoke software out of hand - always ask a developer about potential timeframes.

2. “Developers don’t let you control the project.”

This myth surrounds every industry where professional expertise is required. Your dentist won’t let you drill your own tooth, and an interior decorator won’t hand you a paintbrush, but that doesn’t mean you’re not in control. A good developer - like a business coach or a personal trainer - empowers you to reach your highest potential. You discuss what needs to happen and when, agree on realistic goals and provide your opinions, and your developer acts on it. It’s a collaboration, not an argument over who calls the shots. You benefit from expertise - you’re not led by it.

3. “Once you choose a development company, that’s it. You’re stuck.”

The image of developers jealously hoarding their code, or using secret technology nobody else can replicate couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of us use industry-standard technologies and methods. So Transition Computing can pick up a project a competitor started, or hand over our own work to your in-house team for ongoing updates. 

4. “It’s all SaaS now. There’s no need for bespoke.”

There are so many SaaS products out there that some people are claiming there’s no need for your business to have its own custom-built software. In some cases, that’s true, and we’ll always point you towards SaaS that suits your needs. But a bespoke project doesn’t just give you specific functionality, it can also open up your mind to new ideas and new opportunities. By interrogating the way you work during a bespoke project, you might just find a new competitive edge.

5. “Bespoke is all customer-facing. The back-end is all just off-the-shelf.”

There’s a surprisingly common belief that bespoke software is just for customer portals, while HR, finance and operations are better served by off-the-shelf products. For many businesses, it’s true that an OTS product works just fine - but bespoke software can go beyond just fine and improve your processes and performance in ways commercial off-the-shelf software couldn’t.

6. “Developers are tough to work with, they only care about code.”

You can blame Hollywood for this one. The image of the reclusive computer whizz, who can’t string together a sentence but can hack into the FBI database with six keystrokes and a right click. It’s nonsense. Developers work as part of a team, so they’re not reclusive. And software development companies are more than just developers. We need project managers, testers, UX experts and more, all working together to deliver a service that goes far beyond code.

7. “You can’t start a bespoke project without a fully mature idea.”

This myth is a spin-off from the last one. Developers are robots - according to the myth - so you need to tell them exactly what to do. It’s not true. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Bespoke development is a collaborative process. You bring us your rough ideas, we explain what’s possible. You outline your business model, workflows and processes, we dig deeper to see where we can add value. It’s this back and forth that opens up new possibilities and makes bespoke development so effective. 

Of course, there are more than seven myths about going bespoke

There are dozens of myths surrounding bespoke software development, but these are seven of the most pervasive and enduring. We’ve debunked three more - and outlined three potential pitfalls you do need to worry about in our ebook - The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Bespoke Software Company.

You’ll also find a wealth of useful advice about choosing a development partner, managing your project, and asking the right questions to make sure you always get the outcome you want. And it’s completely free.

If you’ve read our ultimate guide and are ready to choose a partner who can separate myth from potential pitfalls, Transition is here to help. Get in touch today.

Last updated:
July 2023

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