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Reduced Costs of Development and More Fluent Development Process thanks to One Tool

We have been looking for a solution that would enhance the team’s workflow and make it more efficient. And we have created it! Let us present how considerably it impacts project timelines and how it can help your business meet its goals.

The tool that we have created is a response to numerous common problems that appear in the project lifecycle. It allows the applications’ owners to manipulate its content in a clear and intuitive way.

To put it in a nutshell, the most important advantages of applying our tool are as follows:

  • speeding up in the project’s timeline considerably

  • shorter time to market

  • lower costs of development

Our solution is a generic scaffold of an administrative panel we’ve built to use with our Node.js projects. By “scaffold” we understand a minimal frontend for the systems that we build in Node. js. We called it NNPT: the Netguru Node Project Template. It  will shine most in projects in which time is of the essence and the requirements are quite specific - due to how much time it allows us to save on development. Be it a simple app or a set of microservices, our tool fits the picture nicely, allowing quick idea validation and fast extensions.

Why we built it and what kind of problems we wanted to solve

Almost every application we build needs a back-office way to manage or at least access its data without involving a developer. Thanks to the scaffold we have created such tasks as, for example, manipulating entries, providing sample data, and validating if the models fit the business needs are all done much more easily on a living organism than fixed after retrospectives. Besides saving a lot of time on development, it allows the business to focus the resources on where they are needed most, i.e. the application’s core logic rather than management panels or repetitive tasks.

The scaffold allows the app stakeholders to test an application against their requirements relatively quickly and enhances the team’s understanding of what they are building, facilitating active discussions and development. It also allows easy reuse of certain generic solutions and uniformises our devops, processes resulting in even shorter delivery times for applications that are scalable out of the box.

Establishing deployment standards and designing software architecture both take time if they are to be scalable and able to prevent you from hitting a wall down the road - they need to be well thought over and extensible. Having a tested system in place before even going fingers to keyboards saves a lot of frustration on both the business and development side. There is no need to reinvent the wheel - we are here to help you build your unique ideas as opposed to spending countless hours on “user roles”, “logins”, “hashing passwords”, and other mostly universal requirements.

It makes business pivoting faster. How does our approach considerably impact project timelines?

A big benefit of using our scaffold is that it allows entrepreneurs to apply the Agile methodology to develop their solution and makes business pivoting faster. It also makes it less expensive. Parts of the application come pre-built - certain login strategies, basic CMS and users and their permissions are easily defined, resulting in shorter time to actual MVPs you can present to your potential business partners.

Each project is preceded by an estimation - we need a way to agree what can be delivered in a given period of time and how to plan the team workload and developer demand. We considered NNPT in a few of those already, resulting in 12-20% drop in the estimated development time. This number will grow as we add plugins - that will open more possibilities in the future.

Besides that, the apps we build with our NNPT come pre-configured for deployment on our go-to solution - AWS. This shortens the actual development and project time even further: we only tweak the level of scalability to match the projects’ needs, whereas not using the scaffold usually means taking a considerable amount of time to plan the infrastructure and test it under the expected user load.

We act on data and user feedback as much as possible. What does it mean in practice?

All the things mentioned above enable us to take more informed decisions about introducing third-party providers. Many a time complex solutions are introduced to projects too early. For example: virtually every startup requires a blogging solution of sorts, yet content creation, user interaction (comments) and analytics is what meets the requirements of most. In that scenario, there is no need to use a proprietary CMS solution, no matter how popular it might get, as it introduces a potential new technology gap for the actual user of the software. Single-purpose e-commerce is a similar case - there is no need to introduce fully fledged (often paid on a recurring basis) solutions such as Shopify or BigCommerce when they are not what the situation calls for. Third-party providers tend to lock your choice on technology and/or features and it often results in incurring more technical debt that is apparent in the actual codebase itself. The approach we suggest and practice ourselves is to act on data and user-feedback as much as possible, and go for specialized tools when they are truly needed.

Summary:

Our tool brings considerably accelerates project timelines, resulting in shorter time to market and lower costs of development.

It is possible because:

  • it is scalable and preconfigured

  • it allows applications’ owners to manipulate its content in a clear and intuitive way

  • it allows quick idea validation and fast extensions

  • it allows entrepreneurs to apply the Agile methodology to develop their solution

  • it allows the business to focus the resources on where they are needed most, i.e. core application logic rather than management panels or repetitive tasks

  • parts of the application come pre-built - certain login strategies, basic CMS and users and their permissions are easily defined, resulting in shorter time to actual MVPs

  • the scaffold allows the app stakeholders to test the application against their requirements relatively quickly

  • it also allows easy reuse of certain generic solutions and uniformises devops processes

  • it puts attention where it’s needed most - focus on the unique features of the projects that are built

And last but not least: being the authors and main maintainers of the package (we might open source it one day),  our team members are the go-to experts for it. That is why it makes it possible:

  • to add new team members to your projects on-demand, with extremely short onboarding periods, a process that normally takes 3 weeks and more

  • to add new building blocks for the scaffold your app runs on - it allows us to add features in a modular fashion (like next blocks or bricks), meaning we can expand the scaffold with new features without affecting the applications which were already based on it, yet still make new additions usable by older projects. As a result, extending the core app may benefit you even further in the future as more plugins can be developed that match your needs.

So why not consider using NNPT for your next big idea?

 

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