Software development is an exciting adventure. However, it is worth preparing for each experience, especially when its implementation is associated with time and budget constraints.
It is possible to create software on your own, but it requires a lot of knowledge and experience. Therefore, before you start your project, consider working with a software development company. Thanks to this, you will not have to worry about your project, and choosing the best product development company will give you the guarantee of creating a successful product. Another option is to participate in Discovery Workshops, where a team of specialists will help you define your project goals and find answers to all relevant questions. The result of work during such workshops is a document containing all critical information for the project. Then you will be able to make an informed decision whether you decide to develop your project on your own or whether you choose a company with extensive experience, and you will draw from their knowledge, inspiration, and company tech stack.
Of course, each decision requires collecting reliable information, so if you are wondering how to choose a software development partner wisely, read our next article.
No matter what decision you make, the following best practices of software development will definitely help you in the process of creating great software.
Process and procedure
If you have an artistic soul, words such as "procedure" or "process" probably cause you great discomfort. Completely unnecessary! You will soon find out that using processes during software development guarantees calmer work and that the project will be exactly as you dreamed, on time, and within budget.
Having a structured process and transparent procedures is crucial for any project. The Software Development LifeCycle is a process used to design high-quality software. It shows you how to plan, build, test, and maintain your software. Each person involved in the project can see what stage it is at and know exactly what to do.
Using SDLC will help you, your development team, and your customers. This strategy also ensures that the methodology aligns with the overall objectives. Of course, selecting the appropriate software development process depends on the specifics of a given software project. However, the lack of a process and transparent procedures is a recipe for failure.
Planning is a crucial stage of the software development process. And what is key - it has to take place before starting the process. Of course, you cannot predict everything that may happen during the project. Then the plan can be modified regularly.
But the main assumptions of the plan, such as the goals of the project and the expectations of users and customers, must be constant. If your key goals change in the middle of your project, you need to create a different product. Of course, it is possible, but it requires additional time and money.
A well-prepared software development plan gives you the comfort of work and guarantees a job well done. The team must know the goals and milestones of the project along with a precise schedule. Working without a good plan and in chaos is unlikely to guarantee success.
Our experience shows that it is good to use proven software engineering practices. One of these practices is very important to all software developers: code simple. We know that many developers love to create very complex and complicated codes that are often difficult to read or that you may need in the future. We say "NO" to such practices. The fashion for writing complicated codes has been around 30 years, and we hope it will never come back. Current practices show that code must be clean, simple, and efficient.
Forget about the "just in case" code creation option, as it may come in handy someday. It is a colossal waste of time and money.
Only high code quality guarantees a high-quality product. You can't create a great product with poor code. Therefore, do not forget about code reviews. Testing and reviewing your code regularly is the only way to find errors, ensure consistency, and confirm that the software you created is reliable.
In addition, your developers should always be faithful to the principle that the code should be left in better condition than they found it. It means that developers should regularly clean up small bits of technical debt so that they do not have to do this task from the very beginning of the project. It should be a constant, everyday task of every programmer because only regularity will bring an effective and prevent gigantic and unnecessary work in the future.
You might be surprised, but the lack of proper testing is a major problem in many projects. Unfortunately, the lack of ongoing tests is only visible when it is too late or when the fixes require so much work that it results in budget overruns and delays in project execution. Some people joke that every software developer should have "testing" tattooed on their wrists.
Of course, we do not propose such radical solutions ;-). Still, you must remember that testing is a crucial stage in the software development process and must be carried out on an ongoing basis. Continuous testing will allow you to understand better the code created so far and plan the following stages of work on the code. Only such an approach guarantees that errors and defects are detected, and flows are reduced at an early stage. Testing guarantees the creation of a better product, and the tested software gains recognition among users as it is high quality and user-friendly.
Creating documentation is something that is the Achilles heel of every developer. Meanwhile, ongoing documentation makes it easier to revert to an older code version, helps resolve bugs, and facilitates collaboration.
In addition, thanks to well-kept documentation, you can be sure that mistakes made in the past will not be repeated. Human memory is unreliable, especially when combined with the passage of time and many different projects. Therefore, it is good to document why it was decided to use a given solution and not another. Although it may seem archaic, documentation helps organize work, especially in long-term projects and those you return after many months. And since you never know which project you will need to return to, it is better to keep documentation for all long-term and short-term projects. Creating documentation while developing software projects is an excellent and proven software development standard.
Software maintenance is a step that is often overlooked. Maybe it's because it's the last stage of the software lifecycle or because many people think the project ends when it is released to the market.
Meanwhile, the software must be constantly updated and adapted to the changing market requirements and user tastes. Otherwise, the product will lose users quickly who choose an updated product that follows the trends.
Even the greatest project will not last long on the market without ongoing maintenance. So if you put a lot of work and heart into developing your software project, do not forget to take care of it on an ongoing basis. The software development process does not end with the project launch.
Software development team structure
The main goal is always to develop the best product. However, a group of random people who cannot cooperate will not make any significant development. As a result, creating an effective product team organization is critical to success. Learn more about software development team structure.
On the surface, this task seems easy enough. Many companies can hire individuals with great skill sets for their desired positions. However, only a fraction of those same organizations can provide a workplace environment that invigorates staff and produces buy-in from employees.
Try out the following tips to help you with this task:
The right people
Effective cooperation of team members is a necessary condition for any project. Different people have different ways of working, and what works well for one person may not work well for another. Some people cannot work together effectively because their communication styles or methods of conduct are incompatible. That is why getting to know your employees' business skills and personalities is crucial. When constructing a team, look for individuals who have worked on similar endeavors before and get along well together. People must also adjust to the project. If the endeavor is challenging and hazardous, put someone on the team that isn't afraid to take chances and make difficult judgments. Furthermore, you must keep an eye on how everyone is progressing on the development team and whether there are any issues by chance.
In the article "Steps to Building an Effective Software Development Team," we discussed this issue in detail.
High level of communication
Communication is at the core of every team, and software development is no exception. No matter where members are located, every software development team must maintain open communication to share responsibilities and brainstorm new ideas. Make sure you have the proper tools so everyone can stay up-to-date regardless of location.
Balance in the team
Each team member must be assigned specific responsibilities. However, it is worth remembering that team role are not assigned once and for all. Suppose one of the team members has too much work to do. In that case, responsibilities must be reassigned to be evenly distributed. This task belongs to the project manager, but well-cooperating team members can also help each other. Of course, this is a short-term solution, and you cannot require a given developer to help perform another employee's tasks constantly. And nothing demotivates a development team more than unevenly distributed tasks.
It is also worth being prepared for random factors, such as an employee's illness or job change. In such situations, you must react quickly because any delay in solving the problem will delay the project.
If your project requires the work of a huge team, consider breaking it down into smaller teams. Managing such teams is much easier, and also working in smaller groups is more effective. Each small team should have a leader who will be in touch with other leaders to maintain work consistency. Our more than 12 years of experience in creating successful software shows that teams of 4 to 7 are the most effective.
Flexibility means treating people as individuals, not human resources, and providing a unique solution to each problem. Each problem should be approached flexibly and with an open mind.
Software development or software engineering is a challenging process. It deals with complex activities and procedures. However, implementing best practices will help you enjoy your project and create a high-quality product. It is also essential to save time and money. We have been dealing with these issues for many years, making many successful software development products, so if you want to talk about your project, please get in touch with us.
About the author
Milo Miszewski - Chief Executive Officer
Milo founded mDevelopers in 2010, bringing his over 10 years of sales management, B2B solutions, and business relations. Milo acts as the general director, as well as a mentor and advisor. In everyday work besides managing the company, he supports the sales department in networking and building relationships.