3 Common Development Roadblocks in Custom Workflow Software


We came across this great blog post by the Nebraska based Volano Solutions that we thought we would share with you. Originally written by their blogger, Courtney McGann.


‘Our whole schtick is, “We make work flow”. So, it wouldn’t go over too well if our process wasn’t optimized for a smooth client experience. Can you imagine having the people promising to make your life easier guiding you through a total mess of a process? Yeah, that can’t happen.

Every custom software development project is different, because every organization is different. However, we’ve been in this business long enough to identify the common roadblocks in the custom software development process. If you’re thinking about investing in custom software, this is a quick and easy read to help you prepare for success.

Disconnect Between the Decision Makers and the People Actually Using the Software

The decision makers for investments like this are usually not the people who will actually be using the software. That means they are also not the same people facing the everyday pain points that lead to the decision to invest in custom software. Naturally, there is almost always a disconnect here.

Be sure to have a team of people who will be using the software involved in the development process. Ask them to supply you with a list of client-facing pain points, as well as their own. Then, ask them for a wish list -a list of tools or features that would be great to have, but aren’t necessarily must-haves. You might find that some of those wish list items make a lot of sense financially. We often find daily manual processes that can easily be automated, saving large amounts of company resources as time passes.

Desired Features vs Wishlist

Speaking of wish lists, they have a tendency to get a little…out of control. There is a big difference between automating a workflow and deciding what you really wanted looked more like the Star Ship Enterprise. Don’t get us wrong, we love when the creative juices get flowing, brainstorming gets exciting and problems begin to untangle. It’s exciting, and we definitely depend on our clients’ unique insights and industry experience for that to happen. Just be sure to have a firm understanding of what you would like a solution to look and feel like. It’s never too late to add the bells and whistles.

In fact, that’s part of what makes us different at Volano; we don’t enter agreements, we enter relationships. We make sure our clients know software updates are necessary and they’re given the support to know how to maintain their software and get the upgrades they need.

Failure to Properly Integrate and Train

Let’s say you’ve got this beautiful, customized Ferrari and then you realize that no one knows how to drive a stick shift. Don’t invest in custom software and then let it collect dust in the garage! Training and integration of your custom software is vital. There will often be an aversion to new technology or processes in the workplace, but that is easily overcome with the right leadership and encouragement. In true Volano fashion, we have a blog for that, here. Here’s the general outline:

Give Context -Why is this change happening? What benefits can the employees expect? What are the benefits to the organization? How will this change their everyday routine?

Customize Training–Instead of whizzing through a one-size-fits-all training course, communicate with employees on a one-on-one basis about their specific training needs.

Plant Ambassadors -Target your most tech-savvy go-getters and get them familiar with the technology before you introduce it to the entire team.

Reward Buy-In -Consider gamification of the training process; making it fun, engaging, and exciting. Creating a buzz around the change with rewards is a really effective tool.

Avoiding these common roadblocks is easy; do some internal research, have a vision of the desired solution and don’t sabotage your own investment by not properly integrating or training. Custom software is intended to save resources and optimize processes. We want to do everything we can to make sure the entire process is as smooth as your new workflow.

To call transparency the “icing on the cake”, would imply that it isn’t 100% necessary, but let me ask you this, “Who in the heck wants cake with no icing?” However you take your cake, organizational transparency is essential to employee empowerment, productivity, and it fosters a positive image publicly as well as internally.

Transparency is clarity and clarity allows for vision. Seeing your business at the highest level.  The ability to look at the top and bottom line with perspective. Seeing the full landscape; no more forests and trees. Traditionally, this has been the vantage point of the few at the top of the ladder. Now, with all we know about organizational transparency, information no longer pools at the top of the ladder to trickle down.

Transparency is like a zipline. You go through the hard work of climbing to the top of the platform and when you get up there, you find the view is breathtaking.  You’re above the tree line; you can see the horizon.  You totally get the metaphorical sense of clarity. You can see for miles…you can see where you’re going, and where you’ve been. And it gets better. You strap in…and launch! The acceleration is exhilarating, forward movement in pre-defined direction.  This is how your business should be.  Moving fast with a clear vision.

The power to ACT – Accountability, Collaboration, and Transparency.  No more losing sleep wondering if the nuts and bolt are in place, no more notes to grandma, no more being lost in the forest. If you’re dealing with systems, be they internal, external, or purchased software, … whatever you do, remember the principle of the power to act.’