Working With Us
Whether you’re large or small, blue-chip or not-for-profit; we’ll provide you with the same friendly, can-do, responsive and professional service.
Keeping things simple
There’s nothing worse than embarking on your project only to find, halfway through, that what you thought you were getting isn’t quite what you are actually getting. That’s why, with DCSL GuideSmiths, you can be confident that:
- All Intellectual Property (IP) rights are yours. You won’t have to pay any license fees and there are no mandatory on-going charges.
- We won’t make you reliant on us – all the code we develop for you is produced without the use of proprietary plug-ins, meaning that any professional Microsoft developer can pick up and work with the code.
- We won’t steamroller you with jargon. If you want to geek-out with us that’s great, but if you don’t, we’ll take the time to thoroughly explain everything in plain English. It’s important that you understand exactly what options are available to you and what they mean for your business now and in the future.
- You’ll have a single-point of contact to avoid the frustration – and potential damage to the project – of having conversations over and over again because you’re speaking to different people the whole time.
- We’ll keep you informed – we’ll let you know immediately if we see something going “out of bounds” for whatever reason – for example, changing requirements or slipping dates – so we can openly discuss how to proceed.
We instinctively knew that DCSL GuideSmiths was the right partner for us. They had a very honest and realistic approach and they invested the time to precisely understand our business and what we were trying to achieve. They proposed what I felt was needed, when we needed it… I would wholeheartedly recommend them. Read more.
Annie Holden, Division Manager, My Time Active
How will my project work?
Customers often ask how their project will work. DCSL GuideSmiths has an established process of building software, covering a range of scenarios based on the project requirements.
Discussing your needs
Discussing your needs
We’ll start by gaining a detailed understanding about your business, existing processes, challenges, ambitions and your vision of the ideal solution.
We’ll listen, ask questions, provide ideas and constructively challenge you before establishing an outline strategy and feature-set for the solution that will best meet your needs.
With the knowledge we have acquired from our discussions, we then prepare and present you with a formal proposal document. It sets out how we will work with you, along with information on the feature set for the planned system. It also includes estimated costings and timescales in line with our agreed terms of engagement.
Following the go-ahead from you to proceed, we start the planning stage. This is the most collaborative part of the project, including onsite or DCSL GuideSmiths HQ-based meetings with your project stakeholders and our design team. We call this phase “Sprint zero”.
One of the biggest issues in software development is communication so at this early stage of the project we’ll also:
- designate a single point of contact within DCSL GuideSmiths
- give you access to a secure project extranet so that everyone involved in the project has the latest documentation and access to the prototype
- start to track our progress on a daily basis over the project extranet, and on a weekly basis in status meetings, so that both you and our team at DCSL GuideSmiths are in tune with the schedule
We appreciate it’s nearly impossible for most people to visualise how something will work before the finished software is delivered, so it’s at this stage that we’ll use cutting edge visual tools to create a prototype of your new system so you can see it taking shape.
We’ll also optionally produce a comprehensive functional specification document that details every aspect of the software. For fixed price projects, it’s important you understand and agree with this specification as it’s what we use to build the software, that’s why we write it in plain English and avoid the use of technical jargon.
Once the design stage is approved there are two commercial models under which we can engage. The first is Agile (Scrum), which is where we work in efficient 2-week sprints to develop the software in an iterative way. This is ideal if you are keen to get the software completed in as short a timescale as possible, are prepared to pay on a discounted time-basis and/or if the project scope is difficult to define entirely up-front. Projects greater than £50K in total cost are generally more suited to Agile. The second commercial model is Fixed Price. These types of projects are suitable for projects where we can fully understand and agree the exact functional and technical requirement before any coding is done. This is suitable for smaller projects (less than £50K in total cost) and where a precise specification can be agreed before any development work commences.
All development work is carried out by our in-house team of experts based in our offices in Farnborough, Hampshire and Blackfriar’s (Central London). We never outsource any development work and we never use plug-ins or proprietary technology that will tie you into using us in the future.
We combine the very best technical platforms, including Microsoft SQL server, ASP.NET MVC and Web Services, HTML 5, with our Rapid Application Development Methodology to deliver a high quality software product, quickly.
Quality Assurance Testing
Quality Assurance Testing
We use extensive testing and quality assurance processes to test all code and design aspects throughout the development. After each “sprint” has been completed, a round of testing both by DCSL GuideSmiths and by your end-users will take place.
This user acceptance testing (UAT) is done on a system separate to the live system, so you can test features and provide any feedback on bugs or issues in a pseudo-live environment. UAT is invaluable to ensure the robustness of the system in the hands of the people that will be using it day-to-day.
Our systems are developed to be intuitive for the user, so the need for formal training is significantly reduced. However, if required, we are happy to offer full training options on request either onsite or at our development centres in Farnborough, Hampshire and Central London (Waterloo).
We offer an optional hosting service with Microsoft Azure, the industry leader in hosting, if you’d rather not get involved with managing specialist server hardware.
Once launched, your software application or website will be uploaded to Microsoft Azure, where it will benefit from all the resilience and security measures you would expect from the Public Cloud.
We’ll provide comprehensive support for your new software in the form of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) which is activated on launch of the system and includes:
- priority bug fixing
- assistance with any functionality you’re unfamiliar with
- access to our online Helpdesk system alongside telephone and email support
Even if you don’t want ongoing support, we’re happy to provide a 1 year break-fix warranty.