Exercise № 6

to perfection!

Standard, tailor-made or the best of everything?

Getting new software is similar to buying a new suit. Apart from the occasion, the style, fit and comfort are also decisive factors when choosing the final design, never mind the budget!

A tailor-made suit may have an excellent fit but it usually takes a while to make it.  You need to go to the tailor for a fitting several times and making adjustments and changes is expensive. While buying something off-the-peg may be affordable and immediately available, is it comfortable? And does it fit the occasion?

In our latest exercise we want to focus on the solution in between: How can processes and workflows be mapped successfully so that simple, high performance software is created? Optimization software which, despite potential scalability, responds individually to the requirements within a company as well as to any unforeseen changes? And, best of all, it doesn’t overstretch your budget … Let’s find out!


Unit 1

On cutting and tailoring: The most important decision-making criteria to get the right software. This is how it works…

Go to unit

Unit 2

Standard software vs customized software  vs a platform-based solution – what is the right software for a company and in which situation?

Go to unit

Unit 1

Man in suit

Unit 1:
Taking measurements

 On cutting and tailoring

Training goal

What is your pattern?

Let us talk about the cut of your suit and how to customize the possibilities for your software! If you set out to have an adequate application for your optimization processes, there are several decisions that you need to make. Here, you need to focus on several aspects which may not have been on your agenda initially. To make sure that the unexpected is also taken into account, we have translated the framework data of a software development process into a list of criteria. This makes procedures more transparent  for you and helps you select new software which best suits your company and your situation.

List of criteria

A developer’s hours have naturally been included in the planning budget for  your software. However, if you want a professional application, you should also take the following costs into account for:

  • the definition of a list of requirements and criteria
  • interfaces to other software
  • acquiring licenses
  • installation and training
  • long-term running costs such as technical support, maintenance and updates

In addition to the programmers’ obvious jobs, preparatory and follow-up measures are also on the agenda. Bear in mind that software installation which has been planned properly needs time for.

  • the professional selection process which covers all requirements
  • the documentation of all workflows
  • the implementation and creation of interfaces of third parties
  • the scalability

We automatically assume that an application will run trouble-free. But what is necessary for this to be the case? Do realize that responsible software installation requires you to conduct  assessments on the following:

  • practical tests
  • complete and error-free implementation
  •  the maturity level
  • testing the code
  • continual  development/improvement
  • general availability

While we like to assume that software can automatically be adapted to a company’s own processes, this should not be taken for granted. When it comes to a practice-oriented software introduction, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are your workflows/processes customary in your sector or do they differ greatly?
  • Do you document your processes?
  • Is there an alignment with individual company processes or with the core processes of many companies in your sector?
  • Do company processes  need to be adapted to the software (or vice versa?)

Would you like to have an expandable application? A future-oriented software introduction considers the following issues even during initialization:

  • Can individually required functionalities be put together as modules in accordance to requirements?
  • Can standard models be replaced by individual modules?
  • Can models be implemented at any time?

»As long as you have the right criteria for a decision, the decision to be taken cannot be wrong.«

Unit 2

Unit 2:
Style consultancy

Getting your personal style

Decision-making tools

Before the Rock ‘n’ Roll-Out

Software rocks when it has gained approval. In other words: it can only serve its purpose if users feel good about using it. This may sound easy but it is a difficult task that already starts with the question: standard, customized or platform-based? In order to help you with this decision, we have analyzed three types of software for you and compared their different features.

At the end, you will be able to make the right decision and your software will rock!

Standard software – The off-the-peg solution

Low costs and immediate availability are good reasons for a standard solution. Its merits are also its drawbacks because the software only works to its full advantage when the workflow is suited to the standard version. The further apart this is from the processes which a company has to control –  i.e. the software cannot map these  –  the more time-consuming and costly the redesign and commissioning is.

  • Standard software is based on experience and contains Best Practices
  • If no deviations are necessary, then there is scalability
  • As a rule, you can count on good performance as long as no fundamental changes are made to the code.
  • Does the standard solution cover most of your processes?
  • Does the software meet your requirements or do you have to adjust to it?
  • Are you aware of the fact that you may not be able to make adjustments or changes and that special solutions will be needed?
  • Are the necessary specialist departments and qualified employees at hand in case process adjustments have to be made?
  • Have you considered that you won’t gain a competitive advantage with standard software?

Individual Solution – Everything is tailor-made

In addition to maximum performance, needs-based software offers the possibility to gain the upper hand over your competitiors. Furthermore,  it only contains what is really necessary – this is  a positive aspect regarding maintainability and, above all, agility. It’s not easy at first because it involves a high workload for qualified employees, a detailed documentation of processes and involves high costs. The result doesn’t necessarily mean stability because so far the generated code hasn’t been used in practice – a risk?

  • It can adapt to changes in the company
  • It offers a unique competitive advantage
  • The software only provides what is really necessary – this is advantageous for maintainability and agility
  • Do you have enough employees for the software development?
  •  Are the high costs for development and process documentation in relation to the result?
  • How flexible is your time window for the development of the project?
  • Can you risk an unknown code which has not been tested in practice?
  • Is an agile process possible which all those involved can accompany until its roll-out?

Platform-based solution – Customized

A platform means that proven software components can be newly combined and as a result it saves time and money involved in the development. Not only that, unlike with an individual solution,  quality will not suffer.  Furthermore, adjustments can be made more easily because the development phases are agile: direct communication with the developers mean that changes can be made quickly and easily. Platform-based applications such as OPTANO combine the best out of standard and individual solutions.

  • The risks and costs are  lower comapred to an individual solution
  • Higher performance and better results compared to a standard solution
  • The platform code has already been tested
  • Short development period
  • High approval rate among specialist departments
  • Adapts to changes in the company
  • A unique competitive advantage
  • Excellent scalability and performance
  • Can you put together a competent team from your specialist departments?
  • Can you risk having a certain workload during the implementation phase?
  • Does the agile work method correspond to your corporate culture?

»Software rocks if it is accepted. Involving employees means higher approval.«

Homework № 6

by chance?

White Shirts

Finally! Homework that you actually doing! As mathematicians and software engineers, we love solving puzzles. This is why we’d like you to solve a little brainteaser at the end of each exercise. Our latest puzzle is all about probability.

Homework № 6: Who gets back his own shirt?

Good software is not by chance.Getting a shirt back from the dry-cleaner’s is!

Four OPTANO programmers* hand their shirts in at the dry-cleaner’s. The shirts are identical as the men all have the same build. They are all the same size, they are the same brand, they were all bought at the same time. In fact, there’s no difference to them at all. All four programmers lose their pick-up slips and they also failed to make a digital copy of them. Now they all get their shirts back in random order.

How high is the probability that at least one OPTANO programmer* gets his own shirt?


*In reality, this would never happen because  OPTANO programmers – just like most developers – very rarely wear white shirts.


Send your answer


1. Prize:

A photoshoot styled on our campaign If your name is drawn you will have the opportunity to choose a theme for your own personal photoshoot. It can be a hobby, a business issue, whatever you want. The only conditons is that it is complex enough and fits on a 1x1m table. The photoshoot will take place in Bielefeld, Germany. Travel expenses within Germany as well as an overnight stay in a hotel are included in the prize.

2nd – 5th Prizes:

A hardback edition of »Things Come Apart.« von McLellan

6th – 10th Prizes

Game  »Die Kunst Aufzuräumen«

Legal notice:
Objects which are dissembled will not be reassembled. Further technical agreements concerning the photoshoot will be clarified in advance. The photoshoot  will take place in Bielefeld. The winner and OPTANO will be transferred the rights to the finished product once the negatives have been handed over.

Legal Announcement

Terms and Conditions of Participation

This competition isn’t just for glory and prestige! Our first prize is a photoshoot styled on our campiagn. Conditions: You correctly answer all 10 of our fairly mind-boggling questions in our Exercise! Campaign. You can follow our campaign in our Newsletter which you will receive as soon as a new exercise is online.
The competition closes in fall 2020.

Terms and conditions of participation


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