I have an idea for a business and would like some feedback.
The other day I was thinking about software development teams and how they function, the things they do right and the things they do wrong. It struck me that there might be a market for a "development troubleshooter". The idea being that I approach companies that have development teams of 5 or more and offer to "audit" their department. I would come in and look at the whole department with a view to improving productivity and eliminating recurring errors. I guess you could call it a consulting role, but I think it is more than that.
I would target .NET development teams only, with a view to widening the scope later.
Here is a list of areas that could be analyized:
The company would pick what they want me to look at and I would quote on that basis.
The end result would be a full analysis of the development team and their processes identifying what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. This would be presented in a full colour bound report that details the work undertaken and the proposed solutions to fix the areas of concern. This might mean investing in new software, hardware, training or simply changing a particular process.
I'd just like to point out that I have 17 years commercial experience developing and leading software teams, so I am not concerned about whether I am able to do the job, just interested in what other areas I could target and any general feedback.
I wouldn't expect to be out finding business everyday, but if I could pick up a couple of clients a month it would be nice.
What do you think? Is this something that companies would pay for?
Software Development Consulting
You may be more successful with smaller developement teams. They may have a lead developer that has to double-up as the leader, but is more suited to programming and doesn't have the time to do some of the things you have to offer.
Also there are many companies that have hired junior programmers only and are starting to have growing pains. You could help them implement some best practices before they hire a full-time manager or one of the junior's gets up to speed.
It's probably the companies that have less IT expertise that will need your help. Any company that has the money to hire 5 developers has managed to get a manager. Like most of the other posts, I don't think they'll want your help.
Perhaps, but the real issue you may find is that while smaller companies may be your target, they may also be harder to convince of the errors of their ways. Having worked in both large and small companies, I found it interesting that the larger the company, the more likely they were to listen to recommendations from external consultants.
That being said, I do think there's a market if you can show such a company how you affect their bottom line. If you can demonstrate that implementing your suggestions will improve quality, reduce risk, enhance productivity, save them money in the long run, or any combination of those, then you'll have a fairly good chance of securing clients that way.
The problem is, how do you prove such claims (you'll need real case studies and past experience with similar clients) before you have your first clients?