The owner of a small business contacted Software
Genesis. His company provides software and support services to title
companies who handle the financial calculations and legal
documentation required for real estate transactions. Their existing
DOS-based product already handled order entry, all calculations for
the HUD-1 form, title insurance policy information, and the printing
of all associated documents. In addition, the product had an installed
customer base. However, the owner knew that he needed to provide a
Windows-based solution in order to keep his company moving forward.
After the parties signed a mutual non-disclosure agreement, Software
Genesis evaluated the existing product and reviewed competitive
offerings from several other vendors. Our market analysis determined
that the title industry needed another, better option for handling the
complex legal and financial demands of real estate closings. We gained
a clear understanding, not only of the strengths and limitations of
the current product, but also of our customerís ideas for new features
to be included in the proposed product.
From these initial steps, Software Genesis prepared an estimate of
project schedule and costs. The customer, who had been considering a
number of software development firms, selected Software Genesis as the
company with whom he would partner to create an outstanding product
for the title industry.
Software Genesis completed an initial product design, accepting as
payment a specified number of units in our new partnerís company. The
design incorporated not only the established product requirements, but
also extensive input from our partner on many decisions. As part of
the design process, Software Genesis created a formal User Interface
Specification, along with a simple prototype that demonstrated many of
the features and implementation decisions for the new product.
Forging a Partnership
The design process complete, we turned our attention
to detailing our partnership agreement. The following paragraphs
highlight some of the primary provisions of that agreement.
Software Genesis would insure that the new product implemented all
features and capabilities of the DOS product. Further, in order to
help insure consistency with the existing product, we would reuse
business rules where feasible. In response to the user preferences of
the existing customer base, we also agreed to implement keyboard
navigation and command entry capabilities throughout the Windows
product. Finally, because the DOS product had an installed customer
base, Software Genesis would insure that the new product would provide
both a means of migrating all existing customer data and a similar
workflow within the new product.
For his part, our partner would handle all sales and installation for
the new product. In addition, both because of his knowledge of the
existing software and out of a need to prepare the product for release
as quickly as possible, we agreed that he would be available a
specified number of hours to assist in product testing during the
development cycle. Finally, we established a payment schedule in which
our partner would be responsible for securing funding that covered the
development costs at a fixed amount.
Creating a Product
Very early in the development phase, our partner
became aware of the benefits of some additional functionality not
available in the DOS product and not originally included in the new
product design. Specifically, he wanted to provide within the
application a means of handling e-mail, task management, contact
management, and appointment scheduling on an enterprise level. At his
request, Software Genesis revised the product design, the development
schedule, and the funding agreement to include these features. We had
already provided our partner with a prototype that he could use to
demonstrate the product user interface to potential customers.
However, in less than three months we also supplied him a functioning
version of the core enterprise features for him to use in obtaining
funding and in encouraging existing customers to migrate.
As product development progressed, Software Genesis continued to
verify software against the functionality of the existing DOS product
to insure that the new product met or exceeded all requirements. In
addition, we implemented a tracking system to maintain an exhaustive
record of all issues related to product development. Defects,
regressions, enhancement requests, and features to implement for
future versions were all recorded and updated within this system.
The tracking system also afforded us a clear means of measuring the
progress of product development against well-defined software metrics.
Product readiness for release would be determined by these objective
measures, which were approved by our partner.
As an additional means of insuring product quality, we worked with our
partner to implement a Beta program in which select customers were
given the opportunity to evaluate the software against their existing
DOS product implementation. Throughout that Beta period, Software
Genesis continued to correct defects and supply Beta customers with
updated versions as needed.
On August 1, 2002, Version 1 of a new product for the
title industry was officially released. Our partner is actively
selling and installing this product as of this writing.
Many software development companies would consider a project complete
at this point. At Software Genesis, weíre just getting started. We are
now in a formal maintenance agreement period for version 1, in which
we will correct any severe product defects during a specified period
In addition, we continue to maintain a prioritized record of
outstanding issues, including a designation of which features would be
likely candidates for inclusion in a version 2 release. Moreover, an
add-on module required by a limited number of product customers has
already been implemented and is currently in testing by our partner.
We are in regular contact with him as he continues to move forward.
What was a file-based DOS application is now a robust client-server
Windows application that is fully scalable to any enterprise. We are
excited about the potential impact of this outstanding product on the