As software budgets free up for 2016, IT decision makers find themselves planning development resources around key business initiatives.

The pressure to deliver quality results while balancing financial constraints continues to be a huge challenge.

Leveraging the techniques and tips below, you can greatly increase the chance of delivering quality solutions while staying well within budget.

#1: All talent is not created equal

The least expensive projects often employ the highest paid developers.

With pressure to deliver software within budget, decision makers often focus primarily on the cost-per-hour investment of development teams. Be careful here. Rates can be misleading and do not always give a true indication of output or quality.

While it might be tempting to invest in lower cost-per-hour development resources to stretch budget, consider all the primary cost factors at play. Projects delivered on-time, with minimal bug fixes and tailored to the needs of the business are almost always at or below budget. These projects also tend to have a higher long term ROI.

#2: Place greater value on expertise

New languages, frameworks and technologies are being released every day, forcing many developers to build up a broad range of coding skills without reaching expert-level experience in any specific platform.

Top developers will offer deep expertise across major platforms while staying up-to-date on the latest technologies. This will help reduce bugs and avoid costly rework down the road.

#3: Immerse your team

Even the most skilled developer’s capabilities can suffer if they don’t have a solid understanding of the business problem being solved. Project scope, requirements and specifications are poor substitutes for a team with a deep understanding of the problem domain they are working in. Developers immersed in the business will produce better software and reduce budget by offering cheaper, more efficient software solution alternatives.

Don’t underestimate the power of having a fully immersed team of developers who are not only experts in their craft, but intimately understand the business needs they are solving.

#4: Find your minimal viable product

Competing requirements and scope creep can quickly turn a reasonable software project into a lengthy endeavor. By prioritizing the features that deliver the highest value to end users, software teams are able to provide a product with a high return on investment, while managing risk. No more wasted feature development.

It also ensures the product is completed in the minimal amount of time necessary to deliver results.

On-time projects equate to on-budget results.

#5: Ship early and often

Feedback and communication are imperative in producing great software. Unfortunately, most software projects are not shipped often enough to accommodate end user feedback. Producing results early and often will yield a better, higher quality final product.

Shipping frequently also places a high degree of accountability on the development team to ensure work is demonstrable and creating real value at each stage of the development life cycle.

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