How to Create an Effective Software Development Strategy
Software development can be described as the process of converting an idea into a digital product that can be used by humans. This may sound simple enough, but many businesses struggle with this process mainly because it is a very complex process and requires the collaboration of multiple departments within the business to ensure successful delivery.
A software development strategy should therefore answer four key questions -how the software will deliver business value, who will be involved in the process, how to track progress and what stage of development is the business in.
What are the key questions about software that an effective software development strategy should answer?
How do I choose the right technology platform for software development?
Software development requires picking the right tools for the job at hand. It's important to choose technology platforms that are used by your developer teams, can be easily customized or integrated with the existing toolkit of your software development company, have good documentation, and are well-supported by third-party developers.
Ideally, you want to find a custom software development company with high customer satisfaction (check forums, online reviews, and blogs - the more customers speak about the platform, the better), which is updated frequently to ensure you're not stuck on old technologies.
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What's the benefit of applying automation?
Automation can mean a lot of things, from having your tools for project management and bug tracking to using automated developer tasks like code generation. It has many benefits. For starters, it reduces the time developers spend on fixing recurring bugs, reducing product cost, and shortening your time to market. Also, it allows teams to focus more on delivering new features and helps them meet deadlines with a higher level of accuracy.
What is the distinction between agile & lean software development?
The main idea behind lean software development is focusing on delivering business value and continuously delivering useful software. Agile development, on the other hand, is a set of methodologies and practices that focus on iterative product release cycles ("iterations"), making sure each iteration has concrete goals and objectives. While the approach focuses on solving problems as they come up, lean system development aims at eliminating them. Why is it advisable to develop repeatably? Repeatable software creation is one of the cornerstones of successful product development. Repeatability allows your team to boost its productivity by developing new iterations simultaneously, rather than working on them sequentially. The advantage is that you can develop several versions or updates at once and then deploy these increments as needed - reducing time-to-market and increasing ROI. Another benefit of repeatability is that it allows you to deliver disruptive updates and upgrades, thus keeping your customer base engaged with your product. Can I develop software in-house? Of course, you can. But it's a little more complicated than that. You have to consider the cost of acquiring and retaining in-house knowledge and expertise to develop software effectively. External factors such as increasing competition for hiring this type of expertise might influence the cost. After that, you need to figure out how much time and money it takes your company/team to come up with an effective strategy for developing new applications. Then, you can calculate whether this extra expenditure on development is worth the gain created by having complete control over crucial aspects like design and scope, development and deployment, product vision and setting priorities, etc.
How can I speed up development?
Foremost, you need to know whether there's a specific opportunity for speeding up the software development process. If not, it's time to sit down and think about reducing non-productive efforts within your team. For example, if your developers spend more time on emailing each other or talking about work with other teams than actually writing any code, it makes sense to find a way for them to streamline this communication process. In addition, if meetings keep sucking away an excruciating number of hours from their week, you should consider setting up a separate meeting room where they can discuss projects without being disturbed by anyone else. And last but not least, take into consideration various Kanban boards since they allow you to see what exactly your team members are up to at any given moment. This way, you can easily tell who's swamped with work and free them up for doing something else until their assignment is complete (which might potentially speed up development).
What are my application's most important qualities?
First, you need to determine the type of application you want to develop. For example, web or mobile? Enterprise or product? Next, think about which quality attributes will be important for your users. Then, try to prioritize these characteristics by figuring out how badly broken each one is with respect to your target audience's satisfaction. And last but not least–choose the proper technology stack that suits you best, taking into account various non-functional requirements (such as functionality, performance, and security).
How will I go mobile?
If you want to build a mobile application – first, you need to decide on how much code will have to be reused from your existing project. Then, it’s time to assess the extent of your business logic as well as all other necessary components that can be easily ported over to a new platform (sometimes these are best left out since they might not make much sense for a different type of user). Another crucial aspect is that you need to think about how users will interact with your application on mobile devices. Will it be touch-based, or maybe voice-driven? After determining this–you can move on to deciding the best technology stack for developing this type of software.
What will be the major benefit of my product?
The first step is to list all the features of your product and determine which one will be its most valuable aspect. Then, try to zero in on a single main quality that can lead to a competitive advantage for your product. When it comes down to development, you need to find out whether this critical feature requires any special treatment or if it's relatively easy to implement. Also, think about the level of complexity that will be required for this type of feature. Finally, you can determine whether it's suitable for involving end-users in testing (to speed up development and improve quality).
How can I get feedback quickly?
First of all, you need to think how learning cycles will be measured in your development process. Then, try to come up witha process of getting feedback from users that makes sense. For example, if you rely on prototypes built with the help of rough paper sketches–you might want to spend less time on early testing and focus more efforts on creating high fidelity UIs after the final design is complete. However, if you make extensive use of wireframes, it would probably be wise to build several clickable versions of every screen before coding anything else.
So, should I outsource software development?
There's no easy answer to this question. This way, you can decide exactly what tasks are being done by third-party developers and how much time it takes for them to come up with a solution. Again, with outsourced software development, you can keep track of the overall progress and compare this data with the internal milestones set by your project manager. In conclusion, software development is a very complex process that requires lots of preparation planning, and expertise. If you lack the knowledge, skills or simply don't have enough time on your hands – you can rely on software development companies to take care of this for you. However, outsourcing still has its limitations so it's important to be constantly prepared for some unexpected issues (which are unavoidable in every big project). That's why before making any final decisions, you need to constantly think about how each upcoming change will affect your business strategy as well as the end-user experience.