Software Development Process

Arnaud Lachaume
Arnaud LachaumeLink to author's LinkedIn profile
October 21, 2022
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Learn How to Streamline Your Development Process
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Image by Jake Bartlett via TestLodge

Executing a fully functioning mobile application, website or software platform is an achievement that comes with unique challenges.

Like every other industry, there’s no doubt you are in a fight to secure talented employees in a competitive recruitment market. Further, it’s quite common that unclear directions from your client/internal team has you trekking an entirely wrong path. And at the end of the day, what you believe to be an engaging UX that’s been carefully designed by your team might not resonate with the right audience, resulting in poor brand reputation and wasted resources.

The most common mistakes made by software development firms often happen in the early stages: You book a briefing meeting, intending to explore your client or internal team’s thoughts and understand exactly what it is they want, however: 

  1. You don’t ask the right questions.
  2. Information is lost in translation.
  3. Details get missed.

Unfortunately, miscommunications lead your team astray — through no fault of their own.

To avoid these problems in the future, you need to implement an agile software development process.  Through it, you can deliver high-quality results, boost satisfaction levels and take your business to the next level.

woman wearing black t-shirt holding white computer keyboard

What Is the Software Development Process?

Rather than viewing your project as a whole, the software development process helps you break down your approach into smaller and more manageable “steps.”

It helps keep your team focused on the task at hand and gives them the space they need to pay attention to all the little details and avoid cutting corners.

Why Should Your Business Use the Software Development Process Steps?

Too often, businesses are so focused on producing results that they miss the most important parts of the journey.

By dedicating time to each of the software development process steps, you equip your staff with the right tools to deliver an incredible level of care into the project they are working on.

Taking each stage as it comes, team members are able to communicate their progress, support each other, and request more resources where applicable. As a result:

  1. Your team shares a common goal.
  2. Targets are set and tracked.
  3. Everyone cooperates effectively.

The software development process is essentially an improvement plan, with the intention to upgrade the performance of your employees.

The 7 Steps of a System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a structured process used for designing, developing, testing and maintaining software. SDLC provides an organized methodology for the software development process, and supports the development team in identifying risks, establishing quality standards and monitoring performance. The seven phases include: requirements, analysis and planning, design and prototyping, software development, testing, deployment and maintenance/updates.

Across the world, some of the most important stages of the software development process are often skipped.

Whether this is due to time constraints or insufficient resources, software engineers regularly experience pressure to produce tangible results without receiving the right support to do so.

Following a software development process sets clear expectations and facilitates your employees' needs. As such, they won’t find themselves burdened with technical debt.

1. Requirements

Always dedicate as much time as possible to the early stages of your software development process.

Be sure to create a specific set of questions to ask your clients/teams before the launch of every new project, including (but not limited to):

  • Who are you?
  • What software do you want?
  • Who is this software for?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is your deadline?
  • How involved will you be?
  • When do you want progress reports?

Remember, the more detail you can pry from your client/internal team, the better.

Be sure to request copies of the information they own surrounding their target audience (including marketing insights) and be prepared to do some research of your own, too.

2. Analysis and Planning

Your comprehensive software plan should cover every aspect of the platform you are building.

It’ll prove to be a useful tool in guiding your employees along the software development process and keeping them on track. The plan will help you:

  1. Analyze the information you have collected and fill gaps.
  2. Make this resource accessible to every member of the team.
  3. Align priorities and answer any queries before starting.

At this stage, you might also brainstorm ideas and eliminate any that don’t meet the client’s/internal team’s vision. And always consider the end user throughout the process.

3. Design and Prototyping

Once you know exactly what you want to produce and have a strategy to go about creating it, you can move on to the next software development process step: design and prototyping.

Let your engineers get creative, while adhering to the guidelines you’ve given them. Trust them to do their job, and assign resources accordingly.

Then, pull the project team together to decide what direction everyone wants to take.

Involve your client/internal team in the decision-making, letting them view the incredible work you’ve come up with and select their favorite. This way, you don’t get too far with a platform they end up hating.

4. Software Development

Once you’ve received mid-stage approval, you can now really get the project moving forward.

Inform your software engineers that you’ve received the go-ahead and make sure there is a member of the leadership team available to provide support as they work.

Encourage your employees to regularly revisit the plan and use a project management system, like Trello, to coordinate progress between departments and job roles.

Sign-up and accelerate your engineering organization today !

5. Testing

Another key part of your ongoing software development improvement plan is to thoroughly test your software before it goes to the client/internal team.

Be sure to conduct:

  • Performance testing
  • Unit testing
  • Integration testing
  • Smoke testing
  • Functional testing
  • End-to-end testing
  • Acceptance testing

(All of which can either be automated or done manually).

Above all, check every button, function and back-end feature to ensure they integrate smoothly with each other and without delay.

6. Deployment

After it’s been through a series of tests, the software is ready to be launched by your client/internal team.

During this time, continue to measure whether or not the platform is performing as expected:

  1. Is it coping with the volume of traffic coming its way?
  2. What are the bounce and engagement rates?
  3. Are users able to navigate the platform effectively?

7. Maintenance and Updates

Software capabilities are always evolving. As a part of your software development process, consider the ongoing work you’ll have to do to keep a system up and running.

Although you might receive requests to add extra features or adjust various elements from time to time, it’s your responsibility to provide regular maintenance and updates to the system you’ve built.

Set reminders for your team to check in within one month, six months, and a year of the platform being live.

person using macbook pro on brown wooden table

The Software Development Process – FAQs

In a world where the software development market is growing at a CAGR of 27.4%, it can be tempting to seize every sales opportunity that comes your way, setting tight deadlines to complete the work.

This is bound to:

  • Overburden your staff members and drive them toward creative burnout
  • Encourage teams to “cut corners,” ultimately impacting customer satisfaction and retention

Instead, follow a structured software development process to provide accurate deadlines and manage employee workloads.

Still have questions? Perhaps these FAQs could be of use.

  • What is the purpose of a software development process? To give your employees clear guidance for developing a piece of software — whether it’s a custom platform, mobile application or interactive website. This ensures that no important steps are skipped to create a functional and flawless platform.
  • What are the main steps in a software development process? Above all, you need to remember to conduct extensive end-user analysis and complete all testing phases. This approach will guarantee that the software you create meets your customer’s needs, functions accordingly, and is delivered on schedule.
  • What is the best software development process model? The majority of software engineers prefer the seven-step SDLC model because it’s easy to understand and simple to follow. It considers every aspect of the software development process and generates the best results.
  • How can I implement a software development process? As with all changes in your organization, you need to communicate with your employees about your new expectations and introduce the process slowly. Give them the opportunity to understand the new system and be available to answer questions.

Keypup’s Agile Software Development Process Analytics Solution

Operational analytics could prove crucial to your organization’s ability to effectively coordinate each stage of the software development process.

Our DevOps tool is designed to provide real-time insights on a project’s progress, informing decision-making and enhancing the productivity of your team.

We unify data from a variety of sources to create interactive dashboards that accelerate your engineers' performance and deliver value to your profit margin, time and time again. Our platform helps you to set due dates, assign recommended reviewers and much more.

Request a demo today.

Want to learn more about effectively implementing a software development process in your organization? Follow these tips for software planning, or leave your questions on Twitter.