If you talk to Atomic Object about a project, you’ll notice that our sales process looks a little different from the norm.
At a lot of custom software companies, the process looks something like this:
- You tell a salesperson what you want, then listen to them talk about their company.
- The salesperson talks to their technical staff. They estimate the cost of building all the features/functions you want, then double that estimate to cover potential problems.
- They send you a beautiful packet with a lot of information about their company and a nice, round estimate.
That’s not how we like to do things at Atomic.
Our goal is to help you get the maximum value for the money you spend. We don’t want to start any project until we know it’s primed for success. That’s why our process (which we call Pre-Project Consulting) is a little more in-depth.
The rest of this post explains what you can expect from Atomic’s process, and why we think it’s the best way to set you up for success. Each step has links to more information, written by members of our team.
1. Learning & Refining
To begin, you have several conversations with our sales team—all designers or developers with years of project experience. You describe your company, situation, and goals. We ask a lot of questions and give you feedback on your idea. (For the record, we think NDAs are a bad idea for startups.)
If Atomic is a bad fit for your problem, we help you figure out how else to solve it. Otherwise, we’ll move on to the next step.
- Should you build custom software? It depends on which kind of problem you have.
- Enterprise Software – Build or Buy?
- 8 Questions to Ask Before You Automate
2. Engagement Modeling
Using a blend of estimation techniques, we create an engagement model for your project. The model helps us consider different budgets, schedules, and plans as we map out a strong first release of your software.
- How to Set a Budget for Your Custom Software Project
- Have a Big Software Idea? Start Small, then Make it Better
- Fixed Price vs. Time & Materials vs. FBSC (Fixed-Budget, Scope-Controlled)
- What Software Design Is & How it Makes Software Much, Much Better
We explain the engagement model, work with you to adjust it to your needs. If you’re interested in moving forward with Atomic, we start working on scheduling and a contract.
- Choosing the Right Software Development Partner
- Should You Build or Buy New Software? – It Comes Down to Cost vs. Control
- To In-source or to Out-source? 9 Questions to Ask Potential Teams
Can You Trust Atomic?
This is an important question. Any time a vendor knows a lot more about their area of expertise than you do, there’s a risk they might take advantage of you.
However, there are three big reasons that you can trust Atomic right from the start.
A. Our track record
Here are a few highlights:
- We’ve been around for 15+ years, with steady revenue. We’re financially conservative, and we’ve never had to lay off employees.
- 40% of our revenue in 2017 came from repeat clients. Read about some of their projects.
- We’re 100% employee-owned. About half of our 60+ employees own a stake in the company.
- We’ve recently received several awards for being the kind of company where people love to work. We’re happy to say that good people choose Atomic–and stay here.
- During the last five years, we’ve worked with outside contractors for less than 2% of our total work.
B. Our business model
Atomic’s financial success is built on long-term relationships. Our goal isn’t to maximize our revenue on each project. It’s to maximize the economic value you get from each small release of your new software—so you’ll come back to Atomic for more. The faster your software starts generating revenue and/or saving you money, the sooner you’ll return for another feature or product.
Read more here: Why You Should Trust Your Software Vendor – From a Guy who Fears the Mechanic
C. Our dedication to transparency
During the sales process, we’re extremely open about our estimation and planning procedures. We’ll share both the risks and the opportunities we see in your project. Once we start building your software, we’ll meet with you every two weeks to share our progress and discuss how to make the best use of your remaining budget.
Shining a Light on the Process
We’re proud of our process, and we want you to understand how and why it works. Yes, software planning is as much art as science. But that doesn’t mean it should be a mystery to the people paying for it.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.