As a software owner, it is very critical to learn and understand few basic details about the application. This will help in utilizing the software application to its fullest potential.
Whether the application is be-spoke (i.e made custom for you from scratch), or an off-the-shelf ready product or an opensource solution, knowing a few basic tidbits can help you debug, troubleshoot the application & use it to its fullest scale and efficiency.
Make sure the following are clarified with the vendor or consultant
- License Terms and Rules
- Software ownership and IP property
- Get the technical documentation on the application
- The maintenance and support clauses on the application
- The infrastructure needed to run the application effectively – hardware, electricity, temperature etc.
- Bug fixing policy
Technical Documentation can prove really useful . It is like an application manual. Go over the documentation and make sure you understand the following:
- Rules/Assumptions made by the application (if any) – what the application will do in-case user fails to provide a particular input, how it will handle certain edge cases.
- Formulas, Algorithms, Calculations coded into the application
- All inputs the application expects along with their data Type
- All sorts of output it can generate
- The user control flow scenarios – what all can a user do after logging into the application
- The modules, tools and features provided by the application
- Security and Performance clauses built into it – whether it does browser pre-fetching, uses cache layer.
- Compatibility with newer versions of software and licenses – if the application uses a particular software e.g apache server or windows XP, then can you easily upgrade to vista without disrupting the application functionality.
An IT consultant can help you give a demo of the application and go over its technical documentation. They can also help you understand the application setup for basic troubleshooting.
Do spend a few hours obtaining this critical knowledge. Get in-charge of the software. It will make you feel more comfortable allowing you to experiment, play and use the application in more beneficial ways.