How to Navigate Your Post-Launch Tech Partnership to Create a Stronger Product
Originally Published on March 28, 2023
Republished on June 15, 2023
Your shiny new digital tool is live!
Your staff no longer has 15 different tabs open on their computer to get work done.
Your sales enablement software is shortening your sales pipeline, and your team is closing deals quicker in the field.
Your manual 15-step process to upload data is now done in one simple press of a button (and doesn’t require someone with technical prowess).
Your CFO is happy with the ROI of having your own platform instead of paying annually for user subscriptions with an off-the-shelf product.
Your startup is getting more attention from venture capitalists thanks to your MVP or clickable prototype.
Whatever the case, you’ve been waiting for this for months (maybe years), and you don’t want to think about development again for a long time.
But the partnership with your development team continues long after version 1.0 of your digital product launches. To keep software performing at its highest level requires regular maintenance and support.
Here’s a look into what that post-development relationship looks like, how much it costs, and why it’s important.
Most software development agencies warranty their work for a short period after launch to cover bug fixes for features listed in the original agreement.
At The Jed Mahonis Group (JMG), our standard support period for a brand-new digital product is 30 days after the product has passed through our entire quality assurance process. This support period exclusively covers bug fixes for features listed in the project’s specification document.
What happens after that short period? How does it stand up to increasing user traffic? Will it perform as fast and feel as fresh on Day 100 as it did on Day 1?
Even though it’s “done,” it still needs work. The worst possible thing you can do as a custom software owner is plant your feet in the ground and not keep your code up to date as the technology landscape around you continually changes.
Apple and Google release new versions of iOS and Android at least once a year.
Third-party providers such as Salesforce and Zapier change their services around all the time, breaking integrations that were working just fine.
Investing in a Code Maintenance Plan with your development team will specifically address these concerns, reduce technical debt, and make sure your software is always in tip-top shape.
Typically for a low monthly payment, a code maintenance team will:
- Monitor bug and crash reports to fix issues as soon as they arise
- Keep dependencies up to date to prevent plugins from breaking
- Perform yearly product audits to provide suggestions on how to improve your software
- Monitor your product’s performance to make sure it continues to be fast
If you decide not to have a monthly set of eyes on your code, you will likely get by for a while. But eventually, something is going to happen that causes issues for your users.
Like development, code maintenance pricing varies by team and by the size of your code base. You can usually expect it to cost around 20 percent of your original development cost per year.
Server Management Plan
Whether you have physical or virtualized servers, these devices require routine upkeep to keep them fast and secure.
Bad actors are always finding malicious new ways to hack into systems. How will your infrastructure remain secure against DDoS and ransomware attacks?
A team dedicated to server management will:
- Apply security patches and updates for your infrastructure to plug holes that could be used by hackers
- Monitor logs for intrusion attempts to filter out any attempts by bots looking for ways in
- Mitigate downtime when physical infrastructure fails
- Securely back up your data in multiple locations to make sure it works when you need it most
- Keep your software’s operating system upgraded to the latest version so your platform stays secure and fast
- Manage SSL certificate installation and renewal
Maintaining the infrastructure of custom software is critical. Automated break-in attempts searching for systems running outdated versions of software happen constantly,.
If one of these attempts finds a hole in your infrastructure, it could use that hole to perform a number of business-threatening actions ranging from sending millions of spam emails to holding your databases for ransom.
Server Management costs are usually dependent on the number of servers. At JMG, we estimate two hours of development time per production server per month.
New Feature Development
Your software will likely go through changes. Users will ask for new features or an integration you previously didn’t have the budget for with Version 1.0 is now in consideration.
In the best case scenario, you had a great experience with the development team that originally built your product and you want to keep a working relationship with them for years to come.
If that isn’t the case, it could be a good time to consider a new team as you begin to envision what Version 2.0 of your product might look like.
If you find yourself in the latter boat, check out our tips for successfully switching development teams.
We know finding a digital product development team who acts more like a partner than a vendor can be tricky. That's why we created this free guide of questions to ask development teams to help you find the right partner for your project.