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5 Things You Should Check Before Investing in IT Project

by Sebastian Konkol
October 12. 2018

I base this guide on our experiences from audits of existing technological solutions we conducted to help you make the best investment decisions possible. Let's get down to business!

When is an audit necessary?

● When you want to invest in a startup or a product. It is good to check their actual development stage before making a decision on the investment.

● When you are an IT project owner, and you want to change a software house taking care for your product for some reason.

For you, I made a list of the most critical issues you should pay attention to before investing your money.

1. Choice of technology

Picking the right technology for your project is crucial. Of course, everybody has their favorites. However, the preference usually does not equal optimality. You may find it hard to programme a microcontroller in PHP, no matter how much you love this language.
While choosing a technology, you should keep in mind both business and technological aspects. Fundamental issues to consider are:

● What is the expected base of users that are going to use the product in a perspective of coming months and years since today? You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you must change the whole solution including the leading technology and everything that was built around it.

● What percentage of technologies used in a project is niche or has already started its growth? Developers have a tendency to follow technology poops which are trending now but are not necessarily likely-looking in the perspective of 5 years. The exchange of framework that appeared to be a dud because of lack of further development (but developer wanted to show off no matter of the future consequences) will be a massive challenge. Investing in IT project using a niche technology can do harm to your pocket, too!

● Does the project use handmade frameworks? I recommend doing some research. Are there any commercial or opensource substitutes available? Is the answer "yes"? Great! In this case, it is better to give up on investment. Using a handmade framework is a sure way to massive maintenance costs in the future. Why do they even arise? The most common reason is developers' unawareness. Teams just don't know that there is already existing a ready to use solution. Sometimes it's also the developer's ego. What I won't write a Spring?! Hold my beer!

● Last but not least, cost of developers. This aspect is crucial in case of startups with a limited financing or a long period of co-opting a stable clients base. If the startup needs a lot of time to reach a steady development, every additional expense will increase the risk of losing accounting liquidity of the enterprise. It's worth considering using the technology in which developers generate a lower monthly cost.

2. Solution scaling

In this case, you should think over your predictions for users actively exploiting your solution. Depending on the number of users per installation you target, you must apply a proper scaling method.
Let's suppose that the startup aims millions of users. You need to check the way a tool is going to be clustered (Does the solution services virtualization? Was the architecture designed according to HA requirements?) and if a database supports working in a diffused model.
Also, remember that some solutions are bedded in the cloud without any particular reason. Moreover, pointless usage of the cloud is going to generate additional costs and lower application efficiency.

3. Tests base

IT projects develop in various conditions. Sometimes they are built by organized development teams, sometimes MVP is made by the founders of startup or their friends.
Before investing in this kind of startup, you have to ask yourself a question. Do people who produced the MVP have proper technological competencies? Does their working style guarantee predictable maintenance costs?

Usually, the proof of solution's quality is the presence of unit or integration tests and the team having CI/CD in the project.
If the IT project you want to invest it does not have tests (or test coverage is low) and changes are implemented manually, it is a bad sign. You have a right to suppose that in the perspective of months or years, the code is going to become impossible to maintain.
Authors will not be able to create new software functions without ruining existing ones. That leads to the necessity of rewriting the whole project, which is going to be expensive.
Remember that correctly designed tests are the living documentation of the IT solution you invest in. It is a value itself!

4. SOLID rules and clean code

There are hundreds of handbooks on software engineering. However, creating a proper application project is still a challenge for many companies, so you need to be careful while investing in IT project.
Poorly organized code and improper architecture cause decrease in code readability. Usually, when developers create a solution, they don't think that one day someone will go back to their work to make improvements. This kind of software often doesn't follow the rules of SOLID, what makes future software modifications extraordinarily tricky or even impossible.

5. Consistent actualization and development policy

This point applies to the software distributed to clients in model different from SaaS (e.g., on-premise) If the software does not have a unified publication plan and functions are modified by every client separately, I advise against investing in this IT project.
I have seen many times before that attempts of pleasing every customer ended up with a disaster for the product. It is hard to provide many independent functions that are tailored. In this case, every actualization ends up with tons of complaints from users.

In case of investing in IT project, it is worth turn to an external company that can conduct a software audit. Investment in the software is a risky enterprise. A risk lays not only on a business ground but also technological. Especially when a cofounder is not familiar with IT issues. The issues that decide about the success of the business.

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