The beginning of every software project begins with starry eyed gleefulness and extreme optimism by the team that is involved. Even the smallest side hustle that is put together late into the night begins with optimistic dreams that they are going to be able to create a software never seen before, one that is going to change the face of how things work in the world of modern-day technology. People are so enthusiastic when they start out developing a software, that they are not aware of the depth of this particular subject matter, and they believe that the very basics of software development that anyone can get a hang of is good enough for them to develop the software that is going to boost their business.
Most small businesses are currently in the trend of developing their very own software in order to run their businesses successfully. But they are all falling into the trap of not thinking their software development project through. A hastily put together group of people make up their software development team. This team then is in the mind frame that a few open-source libraries and a handful of codes will help them create the real deal. They think that the process if developing a software is as simple as that. And this is where the actual trouble begins.
Although everything may look like it is working perfectly fine for the first few days or even months, you will without a doubt come to a point where you will be faced with trouble. That when you start to question yourself as a team. The doubts begin to cream. Have we gone about it in the right? Is the software good enough? Is it close enough to the specs we had in mind? Will anyone actually consider using this software? Will it be useful to anyone? Most of the time, these questions come into the minds of the software development team too late. They realize certain errors when they get deep into the project and the investment has gone too far. Considering all these, a common question that we need to ask ourselves as software developers is, ‘’ Is there a way to see these problems coming?’’
Its true that the best laid programming plans can also go haywire without any warning, however hard we have tried to perfect it. But these kinds of multiple issues can be predicted along the way by anyone who is paying close attention to the process of developing the software. According to www.deptagency.com, a company which has worked on more than 100 software development projects, there are a few key reasons why most people fail to optimize their software development projects. When you have experience reviving failed software projects, you will be able to observe a pattern to the root cause behind the problems. Experience is always the best teacher. We were able to gather information on a number of key factors that you need to keep in mind when starting off on a software development project so that you will be saved the hassle of multiple revisions once the job has been completed. Read ahead to find out what they are.
What does software development entail?
If you are just stepping into the world of software development and are wondering what this is all about, according to IBM software development is ‘’ a set of computer science activities dedicated to the process of creating, designing, deploying and supporting software’’. The term software itself refers to a set of instructions which are fed into a device to tell it what to do, for example a computer or mobile. There are three basic categories into which software is categorized.
- System Software
- Programming Software
- Application Software
System software – which are a set of instructions fed into a device to control the core function of that device. These include disk management, hardware management, operating systems as well as other operational necessities.
Programming software – are a set of instructions which provide programmers with the ability to come up with various tools to create code such as debuggers, linkers, compilers and editors.
Application software – refers to the software which is used for the development of applications that help users complete a task. These include security programs, data management software and productivity suites, media players etc…
The process of software development is usually handled by software engineers, software developers or programmers. Although we have mentioned three specific categories, these roles can overlap and interact with each other. And the dynamics of each role vary according to the various development departments and communities.
The process of software development can be categorized according to the purpose for which it is created, giving rise to custom software development and commercial software development. Custom software development involves the process of creating, deploying and maintaining software for a specific organization, or set of users, whereas commercial software development is designed for a wide range of requirements, allowing it to be packaged and marketed commercially.
The process of software development:
The complete process of developing software involves a number of steps which we need to understand clearly, in order to be able to identify where most software development teams tend to go wrong. According to www.ibm.com these steps include:
- Gathering requirements – Includes collecting all the necessary information on the project, including the goals of all the stakeholders involved, with regards to the development of a software.
- Choosing a methodology – Methodology involves the overall framework to which the other steps of software development will apply. The first step is to choose this framework based on the requirements behind the development of a particular software. There are a number of methodologies available for you to choose from such as Agile, Rapid Application Development (RAD), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Waterfall and many more.
- Developing a design – Involves the formation of process models and storyboards, in order to come up with solutions that can be presented as a result of the requirements.
- Building a model – Involves the validation, prototyping and simulation of the developed design with the use of a modeling language such as SysML or UML.
- Construction of code – This is the step where the actual coding is done in the appropriate programming language. This step is crucial for the software development teams and doing it well can eliminate a lot of potential problems they may come across with the software in future and also produce a high quality software.
- Testing of the software – Includes running through pre planned scenarios as a part of the software designing and coding process, as well as performance testing in order to make sure the software can handle a particular workload.
- Managing configuration defects – This process helps to build distinct versions of the software, which will help establish quality assurance priorities and give rise to criteria which will help track and address defects in the program.
- Deploying – The software launch process and resolving any issues you may come across.
- Migrating data – Populating the new program with date=a from already existing programs or other data sources.
- Managing and measuring the application – This allows evaluation of the app in order to maintain its lifecycle, through continuous delivery of revisions and maintenance.
When embarking on the journey of software development, it is important to understand that there will always be problems to be encountered during the initial stages as well as after the software has been launched. There are certain warning signs that you can look out for to gauge whether your software development project is not optimized. Before you invest any further into the project you need to understand exactly what the software development team is doing wrong and how these problems can be negated. When you see this happening with your software development process, you need to accept the fact that something is not right somewhere.
The software beings to crash unexpectedly:
This is one of the most common problems people encounter and can be extremely annoying to the user as well. Usually, software crashes because of an unknown bug, improper handling of errors, a 3rd party update of the software that you were not aware of, memory leaks in the code or something as simple as the software taking too long to load. When you encounter these problems, you have to consider re-visiting your code in order to solve the issue as soon as possible, because you don’t want your users to become unhappy with the software and how it’s behaving.
Device compatibility issues:
Every user who accesses your software will be using it through a number of different devices. Not all of them are going to be the same. So, we have to take into account the operating systems that the end users are going to be using when developing any software and ensure that your software is multi-device & multi-OS compatible. And these days one cannot stress the importance of mobile compatibility/responsiveness, given the adoption of such a wide range of mobile devices in the day to day life of users across all industries.
Limited integration opportunities:
The software you are developing has to be able to communicate with other applications, because there will never be one software that will not be able to address all the requirements of a business. Data will definitely need to be shared from one application to another, so developing a software which will be able to integrate with other software via APIs is crucial.
Surmounting operating costs:
It is only expected that developing software is going to cost you quite a bit of money. But once the initial stages of designing, coding and development are done, the ongoing support and maintenance of the software should not cost you a whole lot. If your software continues to be a monetary burden on you, then you need to take a closer look at it. It may be because your software is old and the technologies/techniques used are outdated.
You are troubled by hackers or malware:
Being hacked or disrupted by malware can be one of the most troublesome events that can happen to a software. It leads to increased expenses to fix the problem as well as contributing to unnecessary downtime for the users. But it also tells you that the infrastructure of the software itself is not secure enough to withstand such invasions. Such problems can become more serious if your software is handling sensitive data such as customer information, billing data etc…
With the information provided above, it’s easy to understand that developing a software is no easy task, at least one that meets the standards of a high-quality software. You need to understand the subject of software development, get a good idea regarding the goals of the software you need to develop, and then make sure that you have built a software that is going to give you a good return on investment. For this you need to keep an eye out for certain warning signs that may tell you that your software development project might be heading into trouble. Paying close attention to the above-mentioned signs will help solve these issues earlier than later.