Custom Software Development: A Business Owner’s Guide to Best Practices
Software development is an ongoing process that requires time, effort, and cost. It’s not just about purchasing software to meet your needs—it’s also about the continuing development of the software you already use.
Software companies are constantly developing new features for their software products to stay ahead of the competition. There are many steps in this process, from market research and design of specifications to programming and testing phases of development. As a business owner, you need to determine how much of a priority this process is for you and understand best practices when doing custom software development.
Conduct the necessary testing
It is not uncommon to find bugs in newly released software. Bugs are an unfortunate reality that every developer must contend with when crafting their product. It is essential to conduct user acceptance testing, backed by software testing experts such as these, especially if you are developing custom software.
This type of testing is done by placing the software before potential users and seeing if they can complete tasks successfully. If the user cannot utilize the software, there is a design problem that the team must address before coding continues.
Develop a comprehensive software development plan
It is vital to have a software development plan detailing the who, what, and where of developing your custom software. You need to address specific points in this plan, such as the management team responsible for carrying out different phases of development.
In addition, you will need resources committed to each stage of development. For example, if you choose to develop in-house using internal staff members, you should determine how much time each member will dedicate to this process weekly and monthly.
Create an environment conducive to product success
Creating a supportive and collaborative work environment is especially important when developing a custom software project internally. Providing employees with formal training on using these new tools can augment their skills and improve their confidence.
It is also beneficial to create personal development goals for each employee, as they will be more likely to efficiently meet deadlines if there is a reward at the end of the process, even if this reward is just an individual recognition.
Make sure that your software budget reflects your priorities
Some business owners want all of the bells and whistles when developing custom software, whereas others are looking for basic functionality with an eye toward future upgrades.
Therefore, it’s essential to make sure that you understand what you need in terms of features before talking about it with a potential developer or any other company offering related services. By understanding what you can do without, you can save money on software development costs while still getting everything that your organization needs from this process.
Choose the right people for each software project
If your company has different software developers, it’s an excellent idea to employ the right ones for each project. For example, programming is not the same as user interface design. When you are commissioning custom software development for telecom or other projects to meet the unique needs of your business, you must have people who can handle all aspects of this process.
If your employees lack specific talents in these areas, then bringing in outside resources might be appropriate if they fit within your overall budget for this project. Writing a comprehensive software development plan will help you plan well for custom software development and ensure that everyone understands their role in the process.
Choosing the right people for each project development phase is critical to move forward successfully with this life cycle. In addition, by having realistic expectations about what features are possible with budget constraints in mind, you can create an efficient working environment that can help to ensure the success of your software development projects.
Document your step-by-step process
It is important to document each step in your software development life cycle so that you have a record of how this process unfolds. This documentation should also include information about internal resources, such as employees’ time commitments.
In addition, it’s helpful to keep records of employee training sessions and any conversations with potential developers or other outside sources which might affect the final results of this process.
Verify that all functionalities are in place before moving on to the next stage
All aspects of custom software development should be complete before moving forward with the next phase. For example, if you choose a user interface design company but rely on another business for services related to usability testing, it won’t be easy to make sure that the design of the user interface is on target.
Make sure that any new software development tools you employ are compatible with all other software involved in the process. It’s advisable to consult with experienced developers or other knowledgeable sources if you’re unsure about the compatibility of preexisting and prospective solutions.
Continually test your custom software throughout its creation
If you pay attention to new ideas and opportunities which crop up while testing your custom software, there is a good chance you can implement them so that your enterprise continues to grow alongside this project.
For example, suppose you are working on an inventory management app for mobile devices and discover how it could be adapted for use in wearable technology. In that case, you might want to implement these changes. However, be careful not to make changes that might slow down your custom software development progress or balloon your budget.
Create a budget for each stage of project development
Creating a budget before custom software development will help you plan effectively and ensure that you can keep costs in line with your overall expectations. While every project is different, it’s essential to have realistic cost estimates when choosing between external sources for any aspect of this process.
In addition, look at similar projects when developing an accurate estimate for each element of software development so that you are better equipped to adjust your plans if they are too optimistic or pessimistic.
Choosing custom software development can help to streamline your business and allow your company to grow in a way that best suits your industry.
Be sure that you carefully plan out each step of this process by consulting with knowledgeable resources and keeping records of all the work involved. Having your own software can be a boon, but only if you follow the best practices to help your development team reach its goals.