When choosing a product to implement a business solution, it helps to keep your developer in mind along the way. If you are evaluating a product that a developer must eventually set up for you, try to include them as near to the start of your product evaluation as possible. A simple cycle has five steps:

* Define your use case

* Choose the right vendor

* Get buy-in

* Put together an implementation team

* Build, test, and deploy

This handy checklist should keep your project on track and lead to a successful launch.

Step 1: Define Your Use Case

Determine what your single use case or multiple use cases are for a product. You can do this by asking yourself some questions:

1. What problem do I want the product to solve?

2. What does the solution to the problem look like?

3. What is my budget?

If you know your solution will include a developer implementing the product, try to include them here. How would a developer approach the use case you have? What would they like to see in a final solution?

Step 2: Choose the Right Vendor

You will find it easy to choose the right vendor if you have a clearly defined use case and budget. You should choose from a business-minded perspective first and foremost, but it’s still helpful to ask for developer input at this point in the process. A developer can help you assess whether a product will be easy or difficult to implement, and whether it’s developer-friendly or not.

Deciding whether a product is developer-friendly might include checking out the documentation and available tools for building solutions. A developer can also help you determine from a technical perspective whether a product will be able to do what you want it to. They might do this by attending meetings with you and the vendor, or if product trials are available, they can assess what the developer experience will be like once you purchase the product.

Step 3: Get Buy-in

Before you can purchase a solution, you’ll need to get buy-in for the solution you want to use. Some ways you can do this are by presenting:

* A clearly defined problem and suggested solution.

* The cost of the solution and how it benefits your company – time saved, increased security, encouraging customers to spend more money, and affordability of the solution are all potential benefits a solution might offer.

* How long the solution will take to evaluate, implement, and see a return on your investment.

Your team can benefit greatly by including a developer here for input on how long the solution will take to implement. If the developer was able to review documentation or try the product firsthand, he or she will have a better idea of how to estimate the project. Providing a concrete timeline for implementation can help you obtain the buy-in you need to purchase the solution.

Step 4: Put Together an Implementation Plan

After you obtain buy-in, the next step is to put together an implementation plan. You may want to assemble a team for this. A basic team likely includes:

* Project owner/manager – this is the person in charge of the budget and setting up the implementation process.

* System administrator – if you need any changes to your system to implement the solution, you will want a system administrator who can comment on what is and isn’t possible and to ensure your implementation will be secure.

* Developer(s) – whoever will be implementing the product.

* Stakeholders – anyone who is interested in the project or has a say in the outcome should be included so they know how the project is progressing.

This group will gather, review the use case, the requirements, and the challenges of implementing the project. Together they create an implementation plan.

Step 5: Build, Test, and Deploy

Developers implement the product and test it with help as needed from your System Administrator, then deploy the final result. You can monitor your deployment to collect customer feedback and improve the implementation as needed.

If this process sounds detailed and you were hoping for something simpler, you might consider trying an integration instead. Many API products offer ready-made solutions that may solve your problem. Some solutions don’t even require you to know how to code. Before going the custom route, see if you can save yourself time and money with an out-of-the-box option from your vendor.

That’s it, five simple steps for your ideal implementation. By following this guide and setting the proper expectations, your business will be humming along with the new solution in no time. Pat yourself on the back and head out a little early this Friday, you earned it.