Crucial challenges faced while developing a software are innovation, agility during software development, and timely launch of a software.
These challenges are overcome by devising a software development strategy; right framework and mindset are key to creating a robust software development strategy and leading companies are proof that it works.
For example, Cisco, a networking hardware company located in San Jose, California adopted the SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) or Agile, which is one of the methodologies that falls under software development strategy.
The aim of the company was to collaborate on testing and building small features in one SaaS component, and deliver it to the testing team and system integration. Cisco deployed Subscription Billing Platform (SBP) project on time and without doing overtime. There was 40 percent decrease in defects as compared to the previous strategy (Waterfall method).
To create or adopt a robust software development strategy like Cisco, continue reading this article. To start with, here are four questions to ask before creating a strategy.
In-House Vs. Outsource Software Development Team
Here are some useful tips to choose between in-house and outsource while creating a software development strategy.
In-House Software Development Team
With an in-house development team, custom software is developed as per business requirements defined by internal stakeholders in the company. An in-house team is capable of meeting the exact expectations or requirements at every software development stage because they are guided by the company as per needs.
Further, an in-house team helps to solve technical issues and is deeply involved with a project. Developmental changes are easy to make if there’s an in-house team because of agility.
However, one of the biggest concerns for an in-house team is that even smaller projects require a complete software development team and tends to become expensive in the short and long run, both. Training of employees, employee benefits, etc all add to the overheads and costs, which makes outsourcing software development lucrative for many companies.
Outsourced Software Development Team
One of the biggest perks of hiring an outsourced software development company is in cost savings. Not just direct costs such as payroll and the overheads, but in terms of the number of developers required to be hired in-house for a given project that will stay employed in the long run.
Add to that any specialized professionals required to work on embedded or AI-based projects, makes it a very expensive proposition as compared to outsourcing it.
Training expenses and time is saved if an outsourced team is recruited and can start working on the project right away. With the power of internet, you can choose amongst the best software developers for your company.
How to Speed Up Software Development?
Speed is essential for software development when you’re dealing with dominant competitors in the market. Here are three facets to speed up your development process.
1. Work on the Human Factor
Work performance is determined by the contribution of an entire team. A highly skilled, motivated, and experienced team is able to get the job done much faster. They are a valuable asset to the company and can help to set up a robust software development strategy.
Further, when deadlines aren’t met, consider expanding a team of developers or outsource a team for an entire project to speed up the process. Breaking larger piece of work into smaller chunks helps to manage software development better and enhances productivity as well.
Break average working hours for developers in six to seven hours as productivity is at the highest during initial hours of work, more than which can lead to damage than good.
2. Apply Automation While Developing Software
Consider using automated software testing for quality and speed. With the help of repeating scripts, developers run tests in regression without repeating the same steps manually.
This provides time for working on new projects or software features as the old ones are being tested automatically. Automated testing is effective than manual testing as multiple tests for varied browsers and devices takes time.
Another approach for automation is CI (Continuous Development) software development. As per CI, developers merge codes in a central repository frequently during the day. CI is the process of automating software release procedure. Incorporation of CI increases software development speed as it eliminates errors, enables iteration, and offers feedback instantly.
Apart from this, every software development process involves project meetings, task management, workflow discussions, and more. Time on these tasks can be saved by using automation tools such as Zapier that automated repetitive work.
3. Limit Work in Progress (WIP)
Limit work in progress and workflow for every step during the development process. With the growing number of tasks, multitasking increases and this hampers the software development process by putting pressure on the developers.
To overcome the issue to multitasking, consider using the kanban board to handle the development process. The kanban board helps to plan, organize, give feedback, and review the process.
How to Cut Down Expenses During Software Development?
As per a study by Deloitte, companies spend on a average 3.28 percent of their revenue on IT. To cut down these expenses, consider implementing the following key points:
1. Research target market as this helps to capitalize professional expenses. Use The Five Forces or SWOT method to understand the target market better.
2. Ensure clear communication with developers or vendors as this averts confusion about the project duration, tasks, and decreases errors, which in turn manages expenses too.
3. Take advantage of outsourcing by bringing in staff from countries such as Asian or European nations as they provide high-level expertise and reasonable software development prices.
4. Make use of QA (Quality Assurance) early in the development process for fixing bugs and other development issues as it’s much cheaper.
5. Using cloud services such as forecasting services, storage, image processing, payment services, or security features helps to cut down expenses.
6. Reuse previous software components.
Apart from these aspects, many more practices can be used for cutting down expenses, however check for bottlenecks before going for any practice that may reduce costs. Further, wrap up software development process seamlessly through effective project management skills, transparent process, and a reliable vendor or partner.
How to Go Mobile?
Determine user profile that involves demographic, requirements of users, outcome of that software, benefits provided, and more. Next, while incorporating features and functionalities, consider minimizing the number of functionalities integrated as large data is difficult to navigate. Further, ensure that a strict security protocol is in place to protect privacy of users and decide how to leverage data for making further decisions for software development.
As per software applications’ goals and features, market offers several options for mobile enablement. Some of the options are cross platform mobile application, native mobile application, progressive web application, and mobile web application.
No matter which option you choose there are advantages and disadvantages, but by selecting an application that aligns with your software development strategy, you can incorporate required user experience, integrate native features, and compute resources for the application.
Benefits of Creating a Software Development Strategy
Before taking on any project or developing any software, having a clear mindset and roadmap of the project is essential for seamless course of action.
Software projects require assistance from experts of diverse domains or teams with varied priorities and goals. A software development strategy brings all the teams on the same page to achieve a common goal and is easier to work with cross-functional teams.
A robust strategy determines user engagement during market validation and helps to fix low engagement issues before moving on the next development stage. User feedback at every step of development allows creation of problem-free software.
Task prioritization, timelines, and resource allocations augments the efficiency and overall development process. A well-planned strategy avoids any delays of product delivery and completes work before time.
Further, software development strategy adheres to guidelines and sticks to best project management practices for risk mitigation. Adequate planning maximizes ROI (Return on Investment) as unwanted delays are prevented and expenses are reduced.
7 Crucial Steps For Creating A Software Development Strategy
Software product development involves planning, structuring, controlling, and monitoring the entire process for delivering a defect-free product through a series of well thought out steps.
1. Brainstorming and Ideation
Everything starts with a brilliant concept in mind that needs to be put together. Brainstorming step includes a careful scrutiny of the problem highlighted by users (or novel idea) and then extracting key solutions for the same.
Developers plan out a solution to fulfill users’ needs. Once the idea is formulated and conceptualized, list of desired features and requirements are put together. Further, upon finalizing the idea, market needs are studied for bringing out the uniqueness in the product. Examining competitors products in the market helps to decide your software product.
Consider holding a brainstorming session with your teammates or vendor and dig deep on what you can offer to users, in order to get a comprehensive view of the service or product.
2. Collecting Requirements and Feasibility Scrutiny
After finalizing the product development, the second step is to scrutinize the requirement feasibility. This analysis requires complete examination of how the project will be executed throughout the software development procedure.
This stage consists of design, product requirements, codes, and resources to create an actionable solution. Every financial and technical aspects are defined in the feasibility and requirement studies.
This helps in detecting flaws in the software and mitigate risks at every stage of development. Consider preparing a software requirements specification file that can be used by developers and designers in the further steps. Expected ROI, key milestones, budget, and deadlines are other essential factors highlighted under this step.
3. UI/UX Designing
UI/UX designing plays a critical role in achieving the objective of increasing business growth and revenue. UX/UI builds user loyalty, augments user experience, and surges number of consumers as well.
The role of a UX designer is to learn about business context and objectives. Helping in building a brand recognition and making a perfect first impression falls under UX. Furthermore, UX/UI and designers start the process through requirements and research.
Work of designers allows developers to make decisions during software creation. UX/UI and designers cooperate with each other to formulate user-focused designs, prototypes, wireframes, and set requirements for the product. User experience is taken care of at every step of the development process.
4. Coding and Development
This step is executed post designing stage and this is the core of the entire development project. This step involves writing codes and preparing a working software. Coding requires time as it’s a complicated process and takes longest time to create as compared to other steps.
Codes are aligned with the requirements of the project and demands of the stakeholders. Now development tools ameliorates the development procedure, it’s scalability, and efficiency. Tasks are allocated and the product development is completed. Design document, coding standards, and functional requirement specification document are created during the final delivery.
5. Software Testing
Testing phase encompasses functionality testing, integration, interoperability testing, system testing, and user acceptance testing which is carried out by the software development team. The software product is analyzed head to toe and is assured that all requirements are met.
Upon completion of testing, integrate features of the application in one system. Further, this system is tested for seamless flow of all steps. Testing ensures that codes don’t have errors and all product or business goals are achieved. Consider using a combination of automated and manual testing for a tight checking process.
6. Launch and Implementation
Deployment is the process of releasing the product in the market, and for a smooth launch phase, development, planning, and operation work in sync. Ensure that the operations team are vary of all the critical components of software development as this guarantees that all are on the same page.
According to the software product, iterations can be released – either single or with specific changes. Launch also depends on whether the project is done in stages, is simple, or advanced.
The work doesn’t end with the deployment of software product, it continues because software needs constant services and upgrades as per changing technology. Maintenance is undertaken by the software development service providers and a resource team is allocated to solve problems.
Maintenance includes software correction, bug detection, upgrades, process updates, and more. New functionalities can be added to meet user requirements or to make the software better than before.
Methodology For A Software Development Strategy
To handle a project efficiently, choose a software development methodology that works best for the project. Every methodology has it’s own strengths and weaknesses and they exist for different reasons. Here are top methodologies or strategies that every developer must lookout for –
Agile Development Method
DevOps is a practice and philosophy which is focused on collaboration, agility, and automation in the IT process. The aim is to connect development and IT operations for effective communication, seamless processes, and to align objectives for efficient deliveries.
DevOps also includes quality assurance, development, and operations. This method focuses on reducing failure rates of new launches, lowering disruption, and shortening lead time between fixes; with maximum reliability.
DevOps automates continuous deployment to achieve these goals and businesses use this method to ameliorate customer satisfaction and minimize time to market. However, cons of DevOps are that some attributes may need human interaction that slows down the deployment process.
Agile method was developed by developers for a better approach towards traditional development procedure as it was complex. This method is utilized to reduce the risks of cost overruns, bugs, and shifting requirements by incorporating new functionalities.
Various forms of agile method are crystal, scrum, feature driven development (FDD), and extreme programming (XP). This methodology allows software to be launched in iterations and this approach surges efficiency, helps developer teams to align expectations, and fix defects. However, align method relies on real-time communication, therefore new users lack the documentation needed to speed the software.
The waterfall method follows a chronological procedure and works on requirements, fixed dates, and outcomes. The individual execution teams need not be in constant communication, unless certain integrations are needed. All teams work independently and don’t provide status reports often as with the Agile method.
In the waterfall method, the next phase begins only after the completion of the previous one. Furthermore, linear nature of the waterfall methodology simplifies understanding and management. Waterfall method is suitable for projects with stable requirements and clear objectives. Less experienced teams or managers, and teams whose members change frequently benefit from the waterfall method.
However, this method is expensive and slow process due to tight controls and rigid structure. These cons make developers switch to other methods that need less time and money.
Software development is a long and arduous process which can be accomplished with skilled and experienced development teams. To implement and formulate a robust software development strategies and software creation of for your organization, connect with Arkenea!