The top challenge we face in the software development process is dealing with short-term mindsets – Interview with Sunflower Lab
Techreviewer spoke with Ronak Patel, CEO & Co-founder at web and mobile development company Sunflower Lab. The interview is a part of a series on web development. Learn more about Sunflower Lab on their Techreviewer profile.
Please, introduce yourself and your company. What does your company specialize in?
My name is Ronak Patel and I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Sunflower Lab. Started in New Jersey in 2010, we are an award-winning mobile app, web app, and custom software development company. Sunflower Lab has been trusted by companies in 12 different industries to achieve digital transformation. With over 75 engineers, designers, and creative thinkers, we are dedicated to helping our clients reach their professional goals with cutting-edge technology.
Who is your ideal client? What industries, regions or types of businesses are you focusing on?
We primarily serve small to mid-sized companies but have taken on larger clients in various sectors including Nationwide Insurance, Vishay, and A.M.Best Rating. We are equipped with the skills and experience to help all entrepreneurs and businesses of any size achieve digital transformation.
What makes you different from competitors? What are your main competitive advantages?
User-Centric Design: Not only are our products beautiful to look at, but they are easy to use. We put the user at the centre of all of our products and digital experiences. Being UX-focused allows us to turn code into a genuine human experience.
We are a software partner, not a vendor: When we sign a client, we are agreeing to more than completing a software project. We are also committing to delivering constant updates throughout the development project, IT support beyond the launch of the product, and a partner in technology for years to come. Our exceptional development and design process are what attract new customers, and our extraordinary customer service is what keeps them around for years and years.
High-End Engineering: At Sunflower Lab, we invest heavily in technology training and building emerging technology concepts because we truly believe in the positive impact technology will create on the world. Our technicians not only come from impressive tech backgrounds, but they have also committed to life-long learning in the field. This helps them stay abreast of all the latest tech trends, and keep their skills sharp.
What is your company’s core business model – outsourcing or outstuffing?
We hire engineers, designers, and project managers in house. We are capable of building any product from start to finish in house.
How has COVID-19 affected your company? How has it changed your processes? What challenges has the pandemic added to you and your team daily work?
Sunflower Lab had a process in place for engineers to work from home before the pandemic. We did not see any negative impact with our team working remotely. The only hurdle was the absence of in-person social interactions and office camaraderie, which our employees miss.
How has the pandemic affected your clients?
We’ve had a mixed bag of responses from our clients since the pandemic. Most of our clients fared fine, while a few of our corporate customers had to pause their projects. No major changes, though.
Has COVID-19 influenced your marketing strategies? What are the main channels you use to promote your services now?
Yes. Since the pandemic, we have doubled down on digital marketing. We have invested heavily in such platforms as Google Adwords to expand our reach as well as broaden our skills to offer this service to our clients.
Projects & Clients
What are the key factors that you consider when making a project estimation and proposal for a new client? Please, describe your process when you get contacted by a new potential client.
When making a project estimation, we consider three key factors:
- High-level feature list. We establish a list of the features with the highest priority to identify the minimum viable product, as well as a risk mitigation strategy.
- Non-function line items. These elements include creating infrastructures, load testing, security audits, compliance management, etc.
- Platforms. We determine what platforms the product will need to be hosted on, including iOS, Android, web app, IoT, etc.
What are the top challenges you and your team face in the software development process most often and how do you deal with them?
The top challenge we face in the software development process is dealing with short-term mindsets — impatience, immediate gratification, rushed processes. Short-term mindsets result in poor quality products, misaligned expectations, and ultimately a failed project in the long run. We work to help our clients develop a long-term mindset because it is key to creating a strong and powerful product that will not only meet their needs in the here and now, but also in the future.
We do this by first creating a project roadmap that clearly outlines the scope of the project and the expectations of the client and the service provider. We then build a minimum viable product. We also educate clients on the importance of non-functional work items that will help their product perform well for years to come. All of these items are key to our clients realizing the importance of a long-term mindset.
What are the criteria for the success of a software development project?
Success is subjective. For some projects, success could mean company-wide adoption of a new CRM system or even improved workflows with an in-house product. For B2C clients, the KPIs include the number of downloads or the number of acquired clients. We establish every clients’ vision of success in the initial phase of the partnership. Then, we align our development and marketing efforts with the client’s goals to reach the desired outcome.
From your experience, what are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?
Communication: We keep all lines of communication with our clients open from day one. This promotes transparency and trust.
High-fidelity products: Sunflower Lab products are built with only the highest-quality code and robust security systems.
How do you assess the role of research agencies like Techreviewer in bridging the gap between clients and service providers?
Third-party research agencies like Techreviewer help clients connect with qualified service providers quickly and easily. Since these agencies curate their listings to include only the best, clients don’t have to waste time vetting inexperienced companies. Finding a tech partner is a rigorous process, but agencies like Techreviewer make it easier.