A Guide To Understanding The Process Of Software Development

Many business people don’t fully understand the complexity of a software development process. It’s natural, since specialized books about development are read by developers and other IT people, and many others might still be referring to a software project as ”coding” or ”writing”. With better luck one might add ‘designing’ and ‘testing’. Quite inaccurate.

One can think of several metaphorical comparisons to describe software development, such as writing a book or building a house. Some of them are a good light in the dark, some are rather misleading. And while many people may argue whether creating software is an art, a science, or a precisely elaborated process, we’d leave that choice to someone else. It cannot be described sparsely. But we’ll try to give some descriptions and comparisons in a compact and clear way.

Do We ”Write” Software?

One of the common but rather vague things is comparing creating software with writing. Writing code, writing a book, and so on. You can start writing a book without a plan and go with the flow; with custom software development you cannot, unless developers do a rather small piece of software on their own – and for themselves. Moreover, an outsourced software project never starts with writing code.

Books and software may both have strict deadlines. But once a book is published, what’s written is written; rewriting is not an option. But software keeps being under constant improvement with new versions being released – it’s a natural thing. It’s almost impossible to get every need of your end user, catch up with business and technological changes once and for a lifetime. Books aren’t that dependent on changes; software is. But that’s good: your software, unlike a book, can’t become just another mediocre thing on the market, can’t become irrelevant and outdated. The processes are absolutely different: we prefer using the words ”create” or ”build” software rather than ”write”.

Do We ”Grow” Software?

”Growing” software on a good basis and a good set of documentation is possible to a certain extent. Like with writing, it’s not the best description one can suggest. It partially gets the incremental, agile nature of making and maintaining relevant software. But while ”growing”, the product is rarely tasty until it’s ripe, and the owner has to wait awhile.

The difference is, in software development there are different stages of being ”ripe”. Startups usually demand rolling a minimum viable software product on the market, getting feedback and making corrections and improvements. Each version is more ”ripe” than its predecessor, and it has to be ”watered” by support and maintenance, kept fresh amidst all the business and technological changes.

Do We ”Build” Software?

This one is considered by many specialists the closest way to describe software development, and we can agree with that. Construction works show the huge importance of careful planning, preparing, guiding the work, and performing it. The limits of software depend on how its architecture is constructed. The amount of works doesn’t grow gradually, since every building is different, and requires different approach. There can be a hospital, an office building, a school or a barn, and same physical size doesn’t mean equal amount of labour. Something is done with concrete, something can be done with wood and nails, and the latter doesn’t work well with complex and valuable software for mobile startups and other businesses.

– Everything depends on the kind of a building you need. You need to figure out the problem the software will solve, and conduct the necessary preparations, do market research, gather info, etc. The more complex your software is, the more resources must be spent on planning. Bad planning – and the whole app fails, falls like a house of cards by the first gust of a wind.

– Then you and your chief architect (project manager) can proceed to design that perfectly combines functional requirements and interface, resulting in proper user experience. Sure you want those who will work or live in the building to be fully satisfied with it. Same thing with software. One more good thing, once the design is approved, it’s way easier to give more precise estimations for the remainder of the construction (development) works.

– When furnishing a house, you needn’t building things you can buy: household appliances and furniture. It’s much cheaper and way faster. Same with software: if your software development team is experienced, it will use all the available resources to stay away from writing needless basic things: there are lots of software toolkits, frameworks, classes, and libraries for that, each for a particular case. And if the team means business, they will easily find tools and technologies that will get your tasks done as fast as possible. Custom pieces of furniture take more time and efforts, but in most cases there are already existing pre-built ways to save your time and money without compromising security and efficiency of your software.

– There will always be changes in functional requirements. Again, changes can painlessly happen within the planned architecture. Here we once more emphasize the importance of preparations – although this topic is worthy of a separate article. And we cannot go anywhere without mentioning quality assurance, which constantly checks different aspects of how the software works. What’s more – even a minor change involves testing, so that’s not the place to cut the costs (in fact, QA usually takes about 30% of the whole development time).

– Optimization of software (inner walls of a building) is limited to the approved architecture, and here main expenses are all about labour, not materials. But what you receive in the end is better software and satisfied users. Meanwhile users speak their minds on what they would like the apartments to look – and one should never neglect these opinions.

– One more thing worth noting – a good architect (or a good creative expert in software development) is always ready to consult you on things that should be solved immediately, and what can be left for later without breaking your plans or the quality of your software. You are most likely to not know the subtleties of the technical side – so leave making suggestions and explanations to your team. Unless you are an experienced IT person and you needn’t reading this article to get these insights.

As you can see, the last example is really the closest, and the list of similarities can be continued forever. But the ones we presented here should be enough to understand the process of software development, which is impossible without patience, expertise of the team, and mutual understanding.

Custom Software Development VS Off the Shelf Software Solutions

Organizations and businesses are always looking for solutions to reduce their overhead operating cost. Usually, they turn towards IT industry to gain effective solutions in this matter. IT industry offers basically two types of softwares that can help organizations with their IT requirements. The first one is off the shelf software that is already available in the market and can be directly bought and used by the company. These softwares are usually built by a software development company and launched in the Market for sale. The other category contains custom software development solutions that are built around the specific requirements of the client or organization. Both the solutions are entirely different, both in manufacturing and development.

Some of most relevant differences between custom software development and Off the shelf solutions are:

The total cost of the software for clients: The most superficial and prominent looking difference between these two solutions is their price. Off the shelf softwares are usually cheaper than custom solutions. The reason being that off the shelf softwares are mass produced and their cost is distributed among several buyers, whereas, custom solutions are developed by a software development company for specific requirements of their client. Its cost is entirely borne by one buyer. The choice may seem pretty obvious when both the options are available for the client. But why would one go for custom software development? The answer is in the next difference.

Development methodology and usage: Off the shelf softwares are made for a general audience. They may be targeted towards one segment of business but they are never able to fulfill all the requirements of any one particular organization. An organization will require the help of a software development company to make adjustments in the software and make it good enough to be implemented. The custom software development offers big time advantage in this section. The custom solution is built around the exact requirements of the client therefore it is completely compatible and suitable with their organizations processes. Even employees who have to work on these softwares get easily accustomed to them in a few days. This is the most dominant reason that attracts organizations towards custom software development.

Software updates: Another problem with Off the Shelf softwares is that each time the software is revised, the organizations have to pay for the updates. Further, they might not even release any updates for long periods which will make the software old and obsolete. This will harm the organization more than it can help. On the other hand, custom softwares can be updated whenever the client feels like. Their extent can be decided according to the client’s requirements and their budget.

Off the shelf softwares have their own advantages such as quick implementation and start-up, suitably tested solution and money back guarantee offered in case the software is not able to serve its purpose. The risk of getting an unreliable and not properly tested solution is higher in custom software development. But this complexity can easily be solved by hiring a highly reputed and experienced software development company. Choosing the right development partner is most essential in such scenarios. Clients should make their choice only after doing extensive research and information gathering about the software development company of their choice.

Things to Know About Software Development

Software development is in general a process, in which the client’s needs or the market orders are transformed into a software product. It includes extensive software engineering related to the objectives’ research and achievement. It is kind of hard to tell if engineering or marketing is responsible for the success or failure of a certain software product. The processes of global software development are based upon the clients’ requirements and are performed to the highest satisfaction of the market or client. However, these software products are programming codes written in various programming languages.

Custom software involves two main processes: marketing and engineering. You should note that you will get a good result only when both of these processes are being performed.Global Software development tasks are not always related to engineering of such things, like risk management, market research, budgeting, human resources, etc. It is a very complicated process, which requires the qualification in various marketing, programming, and development areas. All of the things, starting with simple designing to code generation, analysis, project management, management alterations, deployment and developing the needed software, has now become inseparable parts of each company, or organization.

As a matter of fact, any qualified software development company has its own technologies. For example, the ISO 12207 software is significant for choosing, executing and observing the life cycle. ISO 9000 software is mostly used for the procedures of documentation management. ISO 15504, or SPICE, is frequently implemented in administration, management, guidelines provision, and even software development. It helps to learn about the project on which an expert staff is performing software development. There is also Six Sigma, which is used to analyze the company’s statistics and improve its performance.

Domain analysis is referred to the process of starting any new software, free software, new application, or even a completely new system. This is a very significant stage to go through, since it helps to collect the necessary information about the customer’s needs. Then, the software developers start to work on the project, considering the requirements of a customer and displaying the working codes. This displaying will limit the risk doing anything wrong. Specifications are critical for all of the exterior interfaces that have to remain unchanged. The company that
provides software services is responsible for linking the hardware the best way under the supervision of IT consulting firms. The Implementation has to be done by coding, which is critical task for both software company and software engineers. Then, the software is tested. A supervising IT consulting company or the software company itself has to take care of documentation, since it is significant for maintenance and further development.

A lot of IT consulting companies support other development companies to take maximum use of the hardware and the software products to achieve the best results. The development process will fail, if it lacks a good team, appropriate planning, and the time needed to complete an ordered project. Software development companies must have curiosity and adequate inquiries together with their problems. This way, a company will get more opportunities to learn the necessary things about the project. Developing and maintaining software to an additional requirement or any new problem takes more time than the primary software development procedure. Any development process requires a lot of patience, since a lot of calculation, reflection, modification, and presentation issues have to be taken care of. In the end, the developed software has to be enough developed to maintain different problems that can come up later and it also should be enough flexible for any of further changes.