5 Factors for Successful App Development
March 22, 2018

Brian Clark
Factor5

I am an entrepreneur at heart. Many of my career experiences have involved creating new ways to get stuff done, innovating and building. So, when I started my own business, I knew what to expect in terms of the challenges of breaking new ground, the relentless non-stop pace that we face daily, and the constant pressure to deliver. But when it comes to starting a business that is all about developing applications, experience is the ultimate teacher and every decision we make has a direct and immediate impact on company direction, product development, and customer success.


One of the most important decisions for Factor5 was the platform upon which we were going to develop. We chose a platform that would deliver key resources to learn, build, and bring our application to market incredibly fast.

How fast? It took us a mere eight months to land our first client and create V1 of our app, which won first place at the ServiceNow CreatorCon Challenge 2017, a global competition for entrepreneurs to create the most high-impact, services-rich business applications. And, in the months since, we've added to our growing roster of clients, enhanced our core solution, released new applications, and are in the process of extending the functionality further.

Our winning app, CourseLoop, provides flexible workflow management and a definitive source of truth for university curriculum information management. By automating manual processes, universities improve their time-to-market for new offerings, reduce the administrative burden on students and staff, and increase curriculum design quality.

When it comes to smart app development, I have learned plenty of lessons over my years in technology. Here are five that are top of mind for me:

1. Don't Wait to Begin

It's the perfect time for developers to take their ideas and run with them. There are venues and resources to take your app from idea to the marketplace quickly. We developed on a versatile platform that has been the catalyst for us to really take off. If you have the idea, jump in.

2. Dive into Your Client's World

Understand the domain your clients live in and peel back the layers of how they work and why they do things the way they do so you can design, develop, and deliver solutions based on their needs, not based on how you as the developer think they should work. Give them something that makes what they do easier and fits nearly seamlessly into their processes. We've invested time with different universities to know the problem inside and out, and to know how to solve it. By being able to keep our focus on a user-first approach throughout the development process, we provide them with solutions that matter most to them.

3. Adapt Quickly

As we've worked with several universities and their mix of current and legacy technologies, we've been able to adapt fast. This agility has been absolutely critical to our growth. Identify and use a platform that allows you to be agile so you can adapt to market and client demands.

4. Automate, Automate, Automate

The tendency for most startups is to invest all their time in developing the software features that will allow them to win new business. While this makes sense and is vital, attention must also be given to building processes and systems that easily accommodate exponential growth. The platform you use should make it easy to automate a variety of processes, that can save days, and sometimes weeks, of development time and capacity.

5. Leverage Your Platform Experts and Use Platform Services to Drive DevOps Process and Culture

The versatility and power of your platform services can help you grow a DevOps mindset and methodology, as can the resources of your platform provider.

Finally, don't ever give up. In the rapid-fire vortex of a startup, don't overcomplicate processes and approaches where simplicity is often the best approach. Lean into the community of innovative developers who are building really cool stuff. And persevere.

My daily driving mantra comes from the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, who reminds us that "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence."

Brian Clark is Founder and CEO of Factor5

The Latest

April 24, 2018

Developers and engineering teams are under increasing pressure to release higher quality software faster. Continuous testing has proven to be central to these efforts as it helps eliminate bottlenecks and ensures that automated testing is a constant throughout the development process, not an exercise relegated to the "last mile." The value of automated testing is more evident than ever before, with nearly half the respondents reporting that management is fully committed to automated testing and with plans to increase spending, according to the recent Sauce Labs Testing Trends for 2018 report ...

April 19, 2018

As development speed has become a competitive advantage, the DevOps team has sought to enable continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). For the CI/CD process to be successful, it must be fast and efficient. Any potential roadblocks that delay any part of the process increase cycle times and slow down delivery ...

April 18, 2018

The top barriers to DevOps adoption involve stagnant organizational cultures; managing the jumble of legacy processes, IT infrastructure and newly created cloud environments; and growing software complexity that impacts application modernization initiatives ...

April 16, 2018

This is the third in a series of three blogs directed at recent EMA research on the digital war room. In this blog, we'll look at three areas that have emerged in a spotlight in and of themselves — as signs of changing times — let alone as they may impact digital war room decision making. They are the growing focus on development and agile/DevOps; the impacts of cloud; and the growing need for security and operations (SecOps) to team more effectively ...

April 12, 2018

Only 52 percent of developers using commercial or open source components in their applications update those components when a new security vulnerability is announced, according to new research conducted by Vanson Bourne for CA Veracode, part of CA Technologies. This highlights organizations' lack of security awareness and puts organizations at risk of a breach ...

April 10, 2018

For a few years now, it has seemed like agile developers and DevOps teams haven't been giving testing its proper due. One could almost picture them thinking, "So what if there's a bug, design flaw or performance issue. We'll fix it in the new version next week." Of course, this line of thinking has turned out to be a big mistake ...

April 09, 2018

Government IT professionals surveyed, as part of F5 Networks' State of Application Delivery report, made it clear they are heavily focused on building the foundation necessary for application-driven digital transformation. Around the world, government organizations are shifting towards digital government, and with that we see government organizations embracing the cloud, adopting automation and orchestration, and adjusting security strategies ...

April 05, 2018

The digital war room — physical, virtual or hybrid — is not in retreat but in fact is growing in scope to include greater participation from development and security. It's also becoming more proactive, with on average more than 30% of "major incidents" before they impacted business service performance. In this blog I'm providing a few additional highlights from the insights we got on digital war room organization and processes ...

April 04, 2018

Many development organizations rely on DevOps, Agile and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) practices and tools to speed up application delivery. However, shorter release cycles and faster application development also mean more frequent database schema and logic changes. Though the application release process has been fast-tracked through modernization and automation, the database deployment process has been forsaken ...

April 02, 2018

As March Madness is well underway, the journey to the NCAA basketball national championship feels much like the journey many organizations are on to achieve business success through digital transformation ...

Share this