What a legal tech software company has learned about how they choose software solutions
As we recently wrote, having to choose software solutions can be daunting. And although we’re a software company, it’s no less daunting for us to find the right solution. Generally, in selecting new software solutions, we try our hardest to “do as we say” and follow our best practices. That’s a multi-step process, with us focused on (1) gathering information from our team, placing a special emphasis on identifying pain points, (2) keeping those pain points in focus as we research software solutions, (3) avoiding software with a trial period shorter than 30 days, and—perhaps most importantly—(4) selecting software that supports our ideal workflows, picking software that bends to us rather than the reverse. Today, we’ll pass along additional in-house tenets on selecting software.
How We Choose Software Solutions at a Glance
- Just say “no” to feature creep.
- Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
- Trust but verify.
- Take a sip before a gulp.
Just say “no” to feature creep
We’re software geeks. We naturally love features. And, like anyone else, we light up when we come across a beautiful webpage for a software product—especially a well-designed “Features” page that piques our interests and convinces us to download the demo straightaway. However, as much as we love new features, we’re constantly on the lookout for “Feature Creep,” a phenomenon Wikipedia defines as “the excessive ongoing expansion or addition of new features in a product, especially in computer software,” with the “extra features go[ing] beyond the basic function of the product” and “result[ing] in software bloat and over-complication, rather than simple design.” If you head into the hardware store looking for a buy-it-for life hammer, the hammer you want is probably not bundled with a wrench, a screwdriver, and a box of screws. When exploring potential software solutions, we try to remember what we came into the store for—and try to avoid getting pulled into bundle deals or jam-packed software offerings that distract us from that clear, simple mission. It also keeps us in the right pocket of the User Happiness Curve.
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good
You might have heard it from your mentor: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” (This sort of saying has been around for centuries.) And just as it’s a helpful aphorism when completing your work, it’s helpful to remember when selecting software solutions. First, do you really need a solution? And do you really need one right now? We all know that selecting solutions to improve workflows can temporarily derail those workflows—because you’re focused on something other than the task at hand. If you’re process nerds like we are, you might enjoy optimizing workflows. Are you sure the urge to find a solution isn’t your monkey brain helping you procrastinate? Once you’ve sorted things out and are sure you need a software solution, apply the principle again as you’re selecting a solution. Just as it’s easy to get pulled in by Feature Creep, it’s easy to get dazzled by better/faster/slicker offerings. Sometimes, though, those offerings come at a cost. There’s the hard cost as the price ticks up. There’s also another cost, in that you’ll likely delay decision-making—and thereby delay your time to implement improved workflows—while overwhelmed by the choices. Suddenly, you have an Excel document open weighing pros/cons of incredibly similar software. And, more likely than not, you came across a good enough solution in your first few searches. Heed the wisdom from the famous Jam Study and try to avoid option overload.
Trust but verify
When we choose software solutions, few things drive us more bananas than a broad webpage that sounds great…but puts all the detailed feature information behind a login screen. It feels like a ploy to get our e-mail address and start marketing to us. Along these lines, we get a bit frustrated when we see software companies touting “free” solutions and listing tons and tons of features in/around the word free, only to later reveal that those features are only included as part of the paid version. It’s a bit of a bait and switch. And when you shoot straight like we do, that approach just doesn’t sit well. We’ve learned to apply the time-tested “trust but verify” approach to reviewing website content (although we wish we didn’t have to do that). We are constantly on the lookout for when a solution seems too good to be true. And we are also mindful of data-mining practices, cognizant of the principle that if you’re not paying for the product, you may well be the product.
Take a sip before a gulp
As much as we love going full steam ahead, we want our software solutions to fit well. And the only way we’ll know if they fit well is if we demo them. As we’ve written about before, we believe that most software demos should be at least 30 days long, which generally gives us enough time to put the software to the test. We also believe that a demo period should be just that—a demo period. Rather than take a big gulp of the software, take a sip. Run a small project on the back of the software. Maybe even a piece of a project. Try to isolate features you are most curious about. Else, you might reach the end of your free trial fascinated by the possibilities but lacking an adequate understanding of the meat and potatoes to make an informed decision.
Bringing it All Together
Just as we try to follow best practices when you choose software solutions, we also strive to give our customers the experience we’d want if we were in their shoes. That’s why:
- We offer a fully featured 30-day trial of Casedo. You can try every feature in Casedo during the trial period—and that’s important to us. That way, would-be Casedo users can try out all the workflow-improving features without wondering what’s hidden behind a paywall.
- We refuse to require credit information to start the 30-day trial of Casedo. Because we’re all busy and no one likes a “gotcha” at the end of a trial period.
- We take a measured approach to adding features. We don’t want Casedo to do everything under the sun. We want it to do everything lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students need it to do—without becoming another feature-bloated digital distraction. We never add features without deep consideration.
Ready to take Casedo on a test drive?
You’ll love Casedo if:
- You’ve felt frustrated when using tabs to navigate legal documents.
- You wish you had a single search bar to search dozens of case documents.
- You’d like to share a complete case file without attaching scattered PDFs.
- You want to make one PDF—complete with a table of contents—out of many.
Click here to learn more and start your free 30-day trial. **Updated September 25, 2022**