June 18, 2020

The Software Development Process—Where to Start?

You’ll often hear that the most important thing you need is a good idea to get a good product. And yes, the idea matters, but it’s not really that worth it if you don’t know how to execute it. And to execute it successfully, you need a reliable software development process. 

There’s a labyrinth of activities out there that will influence how the project evolves. These include forecasting and analyzing, distributing assets, identifying criteria, training your team, and capturing your customers’ attention. As poor planning is one of the top reasons why software development projects fail, the start of your software development process is crucial for success. 

If you start right, you’ll be less prone to errors during the development phase. On the other hand, if you do everything quickly and with poor planning, you’re risking to lose the entire project based on unexpected errors that will occur along the way. 

Based on our experience, we’re mapping out the essential actions you should consider when starting a software development process. 

Define precise specifications

The software development team needs to have a clear picture of the software you expect them to deliver at the end of the project. If you want to get exactly what you want, make sure you describe the specifications as precisely as possible. Typically, the problem is more complicated since, in most situations, clients aren’t involved enough in the software development process.

To avoid these obstacles, software development teams need to include the client in every step. Only strong collaboration can result in a successful project because the shared vision lets the team identify priorities. 

Getting specific objectives helps them prepare and coordinate their work accordingly. Monitoring, documenting, breaking the project down into sprints, appointing experts to a particular task, and other activities become much more comfortable.

As a client, you need to tell the team what you want. What problem does your app solve? How will the users benefit? 

After getting the exact specifications, the software development team can provide information on how they are planning to execute your project. Then, together, you can agree on the budget you’ll need to spend to get your application created. 

Define the channels of communication

The tasks should be described since day one. Each team member should know what the others are working on. This will make sharing of access, asking for help, clarification, and emergency warning more straightforward processes. The team members will know exactly who’s the right person to look for when something occurs. All tasks and roles should be accessible to everyone on the team. 

Come up with a detailed plan

Planning the software development process requires several stages of preparation and coordination; each of them is equally critical for project success. Once you have set targets that you would like to accomplish in the project that you are starting, you need to plan the paths you’ll go through to get to the end. 

This plan should be the cornerstone of your application, including possible scenarios and solutions if things go wrong. Your plan should be both detailed and flexible, allowing unplanned changes along the way. 

Also, don’t leave your plan without a part where you analyze all the resources you’re going to need in detail. This way, you’ll be able to provide the necessary budget and face less surprises along the way. 

Don’t expect to get the perfect solution overnight. Instead, design a prototype that will cover the possible defects and issues the end-user could come across. 

Don’t forget about QA 

You should include quality assurance in every phase of the software development process. However, it’s crucial not to forget about it at the beginning of the project. This is when the team sets out the structure of the entire application. That’s why the team has to pay exceptional attention to the QA processes.

QA procedures are focused on usage cases that contain practical qualitative criteria. They help define, evaluate, and coordinate specifications, identify potential slowdowns and opportunities to solve them.

Usage cases are also a necessary requirement if the team needs to make sure their product concept is right. You should consider eliminating the features you can’t create a case for. 

It’s time to design the app 

When the specifications and the plans are set up, it’s time to design the app. The design should result in describing the functionalities of the entire app. This is a process that involves the management, the designers, and the developers.

The design concept of the architecture of the app includes both the frontend and the backend aspects. It should allow testing the key components and analyzing if they are going to work together appropriately.

Pick your tools

There are countless tools you can use for both project management and development. Don’t toss too many tools in the mix. You will end up with a bunch of tools that lead to the same result. Moreover, you should think about your existing software architecture (if you have one). Before getting started with a tool, consider how much resources you need to migrate from your current setup. 

Firstly, consider resource planning tools like Float. Next, if your project is large, you’ll need some project planning tools, like Microsoft Project or Basecamp. You can use Google Drive to share documents

You’ll also have to communicate with the development team daily, and Slack is the most common tool used for this. As for project management, you can use Trello, Youtrack, or Asana. 

When it comes to the software development process itself, you should discuss the software architecture with your developers. Consider using a CI/CD automation tool to reduce software delivery time and make the code less error-prone. 

No matter which tools you choose, make sure everyone working on the project knows how to use them. 

Bring in a team of experts

Skilled developers follow proven procedures for software development. Maintaining clear documentation, using quality control, and testing results are only some of them. An experienced software development team can create an app that suits your exact requirements. 

Having a software development partner saves you from the struggle of setting up an in-house team that consists of local candidates. Instead, you’ll have access to a broader tech talent pool, which will allow you to get actual pros to work on your project. Quality and innovations are more important than the location when it comes to digital products. 

Nothing is constant

Don’t stick to these plans blindly throughout the entire process. Instead, you should be flexible and open to changes when they will be necessary.

When building a software product, you should really understand what you’re building and why you’re building it. Next, you should be ready for repetitive testing to collect feedback from your users. Finally, you should use this feedback to improve your product, making it more user-centric.