5 Best Practices for a Smooth Software Development Process
When it comes to custom software, the benefits are clear. The power of custom software can propel your business to success, but to reap those rewards, you must carefully plan the process. According to GitLab, several common factors cause those pesky delays in the software development process and ultimately leave people unsatisfied with the results. Poor planning is the most common reason, with a whopping 47% of respondents! Other reported factors include unrealistic deadlines, unnecessary meetings, and outdated tools.
To help you attain the best custom software tailored to your business without having to stumble upon bumps on the road along the way, we’ve listed 5 best practices to follow.
Ready to get started with a custom software idea? Get in touch with us, and we’ll bring it to life together.
The importance of custom software development
Custom software development is essentially the process of conceptualising, designing, developing, and deploying software for a specific business. And because it’s bespoke to a business, it’s uniquely designed to fit them and fully support the business in reaching its goals. Custom software also exponentially improves efficiency and smooths out anything that hinders the business from working at its peak. Something that you simply cannot achieve with off-the-shelf software.
Rather than purchasing costly additional licenses or subscriptions to packaged applications, custom software allows you to scale your business seamlessly. When you go custom, everything you need is at your fingertips without unnecessary costs for other applications your business doesn’t really need. Think of your custom software as a malleable puzzle piece that adapts and takes shape to complete the picture. Custom software integrates with your existing system, enhancing your workflow and eliminating time-consuming processes. As a result, custom software hones your business, creating a competitive edge!
Bottomline: build, don’t buy!
Buying software developed to cater to the general market can be convenient, but this software can only go so far in the long run. When you invest in building software that addresses your unique needs, not only do you save yourself from paying more than what is utilised, you’re setting your business up for long-term growth and seamless scaling. All these benefits that custom software will add up and ultimately build your success, all it takes is making informed decisions every step and dedication to developing your software. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
What are software development best practices?
1. Choose the right software development team
Just as you need the right set of tools to build a structure properly, the talent you employ is crucial to the success of your custom software. Software development is a complex process that requires not only technology solutions and a detailed plan but also the expertise and talent of the right people!
Always keep in mind your overall budget for this project and a comprehensive software development plan.This will greatly aid you in weighing your options and deciding between in-house or outsourcing with a clear plan. If you opt for your in-house team, you must consider their time and how they can balance your business's core functions and take on your custom software development project. But if you’re short on members or skills needed for this project, opt for a custom software development company. This ensures that you’ll be working with a team with a vast repertoire of skills and years of projects completed, allowing you to look at their previous work and give you an idea of what they can offer you.
Now that you have your dream team on the job, you can start to plan the development process.
2. Create a realistic plan with milestones
Now, it’s time to clearly define the who, what, and where of developing your custom software. This includes assigning or knowing your members’ roles and responsibilities in carrying out the different phases of development. For those assigning their in-house team, that would also mean determining how much time can be spent on the project each week or month.
It’s paramount to create a realistic roadmap with your team. That means you can’t aim to have a complex system ready in a week. This applies to your budget as well! You must have a clear idea of the features you will need that are within your budget with an agreed timeline with your developer; this also allows you to minimise cost and avoid paying for features that are not necessarily a priority for your business.
To ensure you are going as planned, set milestones where you can review the work so far and analyse if any adjustments are needed.
3. Communicate and collaborate
Once things are in full swing, your team is ready, and the plan is set, it’s time to ensure everything is running smoothly and as planned. Staying in touch with your team throughout the process saves you a ton of time from rectifying any errors while allowing you or your team to receive clarifications or updates. Also, keeping a collaborative environment is conducive to efficiency and success.
Did you know? At Lateral, we follow an agile development approach where we involve our clients early, providing prototypes and including your feedback while your custom software product evolves.
It’s crucial to define the current process, success measures, and expectations to keep you and your team on track. Are you at the desired state? What changes do you need to make? With that, it’s not only important to discuss with your team but also to document every step of the software development process. It makes a massive difference when you can go back to a record that shows how the process unfolded, especially during team progress discussions.
4. Test, test and test again
As you go through phases of development, it’s an absolute must to test everything before proceeding further. Think of each step as building blocks; when one is faulty and shaky, building upon it would eventually collapse, and progress will be lost.
This includes ensuring that your tools are compatible with all other solutions utilised in the process. Have your team carry out a technical test that helps determine if all basic elements are functioning. To determine whether the software works as desired, conduct user testing!
5. Keep users front of mind
When you are developing your software, always have in mind the experience you want to provide to the users. Is your software intuitive and easy to use? Is it working seamlessly and boosting efficiency? A way to fully view the user experience and see if the software is running smoothly is to have business beta users test your software.
This way, you can see if anything is lacking or needs improvement. So, before deploying, make sure you get the green light from the experts and peers through reviews. Once it’s a go, you will be confident that the software has no bugs and is ready to be used!
Seamless Custom Software Development at Lateral
Develop your software with peace of mind! Equipped with a wealth of experience of nearly 30 years in bespoke software development, we thrive off turning the most complex business and software issues into the most outstanding, streamlined solution.
We pride ourselves in upholding the best quality solutions to our clients, nothing less! From the analysis phase through to the launch of the software, we have firm processes for reviewing our work and strict testing guidelines and standards for everything we do.
Our dedicated team works closely with the client early on in the development, this allows us to build the software according to your needs and your business goals, all while saving time. We constantly endeavour to make the software work for you, not the other way around.