Key question to answer in Activity Stage 4: What prototype device/system must be designed, built and tested to demonstrate the utility of the envisioned free Software in practice?
Identify and approach key Co-Development partners as needed under signed Non-Disclosure Agreements. Have them verify answer to key question from Step 1.3: Why does envisioned solution to problem not yet exist?
Conduct more detailed technical, business and market analyses based on the refined idea for the creation of the envisioned Freeware.
Layout proposed engineering-based solution to articulated problem/need to be addressed by Freeware.
What combination of hardware and software are necessary to create envisioned Freeware? Does it include open source or proprietary software?
Create rigorous Software Engineering Plan template — preliminary justification with structured path to delivering Freeware to relevant Stakeholders from Activity Step 1.5.
Implement Intellectual Property (IP) strategy in collaboration with patent attorney, technology transfer office, or relevant agents. Software may only qualify for copyright protection.
Intellectual Property (IP) protection options include no claim of IP, or claim of IP only to prevent others from blocking future production/distribution.
Assess regulatory, reimbursement and any related requirements for envisioned Freeware.
Generate understanding of design, pricing and timing implications from requirements imposed by regulatory/standards bodies/reimbursement agencies.
Initiate key co-development practices with partners, if any are required to complete design, coding and testing.
Identify and assess requirements and capabilities of any required external development partners. Establish formal relationships with these external partners if transfer of ownership for deployment is planned.
Assess project resource requirements (expertise, facilities, money and time) and availability.
Review project requirements in detail for staffing, funding, equipment and time frames. Identify potential storage/distribution/promotion outlets for Freeware output (e.g., Apple or Google).
Expand Software Engineering Plan template for implementation, including project management for co-development projects.
Review requirements for engineering analysis, design, coding and testing, storage and access issues.
Prepare proposal to secure necessary project funding from outside sources, if such additional funding is necessary. Identify potential fit within sponsor agency priorities by presenting summary to grant administrators.
Once funding is secured, allocate adequate staff, facilities and finances to complete plan formulated in Step 4.8.
Budget adequate time, money and expertise, particularly key experts and core staff.
Gather, analyze and prioritize the targeted user's requirements for the Freeware's specified features and functions.
Identify Freeware software/hardware specifications for software download and compatibility specifications in light of multiple user platforms.
PI and partners consider options for offering Freeware to external users. Generate registration fees for software, along with future effort to maintain, update and support, to assess full cost.
Update Software Engineering Plan template to complete project justification.
Reconcile preliminary project justification with all other elements of the the project plan.
Should the development plan be implemented? Determine if all elements of the business case have been fully vetted and validated. If yes, continue on to Stage 5. If no, either terminate project or reiterate Stage 4.