Planning a software development project for your business? Here’s a detailed guide on the various stages and life-cycle of Software Product Development!
- What Is Software Product Development?
- How To Gauge When Your Business Needs Software Product Development?
- How To Prepare For Software Product Development
- 5 Essential Stages Of Software Product Development
- Tips To Select The Right Partners For Software Product Development
- Healthier, Better Business With Software Product Development
Behind all the conveniences that we use in our everyday life, there is complex software. Such ease of life is possible when complex software is implemented in various stages in definitive order. These models address the diverse circumstances of product owners and development vendors.
However, such a rich choice can be confusing. To fully benefit from the development process and successfully communicate with the development team, you must realize your needs and expectations from the product.
Here is a complete guide to help you understand and organize the complex process of Software Product Development – what each stage means and how you can drive a successful Software Product Development project.
What Is Software Product Development?
Software Product Development is a combination of steps, tools, methodologies, and management techniques that bring the concept of a product from the ideation stage to implementation and eventually to the market.
The primary goal of Software Product Development is to provide high-level products within the set budget and timeline. Typically, the software development lifecycle includes product discovery, software development, testing, deployment, and so on.
How To Gauge When Your Business Needs Software Product Development?
Every business in today’s fast-paced and volatile world needs Software Products. Software Products help your business gain momentum and a competitive advantage for your business. Here are some scenarios that indicate when your business needs Software Product Development.
1. When your company starts experiencing low efficiency and miscommunication-related issues.
Are your current methods of collecting data complicating the effective management of your company? Have you noticed miscommunication between your employees and managers resulting in missed deadlines? If these are restricting your business from reaching its potential growth, you need software development.
2. When your supply chain has many bottlenecks
A dissatisfied customer will quickly hop over to your competition. Bottlenecks created by miscommunication lead to loss of opportunities. When your company is dealing with a higher volume of complaints and low satisfaction rates, you need software development. It can optimize your supply chain management and guide all your decisions.
3. When your business is growing
Despite exponential business growth, the quality of your products and services should continue to be of the highest standard. Product development can help you comply with government regulations, evaluate the quality of the suppliers and the quality of your product.
4. When your customer base increases
When your customers increase, data increases. And that data has to be organized and maintained to help you make better understand your finances and use it to make strategic decisions. Product development can provide you visibility into all transactions contributing to the financial health of your company.
5. When your company is expanding to other locations
When your organization expands to other locations, you will need a fully visible information system that records all that happens at that exact location. Software Product Development equips you with the possibility to record all inventory movements in real-time.
How To Prepare For Software Product Development
All Software Product Development needs detailed documentation. This documentation must cover the business requirements and clarify product functionality. It can also serve as the basis to discuss essential issues between business owners and developers. Here is how you can prepare to start a successful Software Product Development:
- Do your homework: Even before searching for a vendor for Software Product Development, you need to conduct marketing research. Qualified marketing research will help you achieve your sales growth now and in the future.
- Develop precise product vision: Work out the “whys” in projects that are focused on the main product. You can eliminate mistakes by answering questions such as, “who is the product for?” and “why do they need the product?”
- Plan: Have a clear vision and communicate that vision to the development team. This will help them to create a software product that is aligned with your requirements.
- Timely execution: Have a written communication with designers and engineers to nudge them in the right direction. This will contribute to well-articulated timely execution.
- Make team members accountable: From day one, help your team members see their share of tasks that contribute to the development of the software product.
- Document everything: Keeping a record of everything from ideation to execution can help your team to access all the features that must be included in the product and the functions each of those features must perform.
5 Essential Stages Of Software Product Development
Stage 1: Product Discovery
The first stage in the Software Product Development lifecycle is where new ideas or concepts originate. A team is organized to study the idea, perform market analysis, and identify technical and market risks. This will help organizations to determine the need for Software Product Development.
Stage 2: Product definition
In this stage, the team creates the first comprehensive evaluation of the technology. Developers and managers evaluate the important points of differentiation of the new product. This will avoid misinterpretation of the needs of the market.
Stage 3: Product development
This is the most time-consuming stage. Software developers use the design document to write code for the components. The task is divided between team members according to their area of expertise. This includes front-end developers, database administrators, and software developers.
Stage 4: Product testing
Quality assurance team steps in this stage to ensure the software meets all the requirements for which it was built. It involves functional testing, performance testing, unit testing, security testing, and usability testing.
During this stage, software developers fix any bugs and retest as many times as required. This stage continues until the software is free of bugs and measures up to the potential capability.
Stage 5: Product deployment
Now, the software is sent into the market for user acceptance testing. Once again, the software team fixes any bugs based on the feedback from its first users. Then the final version is launched into the market. This stage also includes maintenance and strengthening of the software.
Perhaps now you feel you are ready to start Software Product Development. But, hold on! Selecting the right partner for Software Product Development will impact your company in the long term. So, read on to find a few tips that can help you define the right partner.
Tips To Select The Right Partners For Software Product Development
Selecting the right partners is an important decision that should not be treated lightly. So, here are few tips:
1. Conduct a background check on the company
To validate the company’s experience and professional trajectory, contact some organizations that have worked with the vendor. This will help you know their experience and the final outcome of the product.
2. Check their ability
For your product to be of excellent quality, the vendor should have abilities and excellence in software development. To guarantee their excellence, find out if they have QAG (Quality Assurance Group) or GMO (Organizational Improvement Group).
3. Knowledge of different methodologies
Solid methodological training and experience in using various technologies are vital for product development.
4. Ability to support throughout the cycle
Ensure that the vendor does not abandon the project at any of the stages.
5. Ability to understand your business
All in the team should be able to understand your unique business requirements and help you find the best solution aligned with your objectives.
6. Capable testers
Ensure the vendor in consideration has qualified testers who can guide you on how to perform your own tests.
Healthier, Better Business With Software Product Development
It may be time for you to start thinking about Software Product Development that helps you run a healthier business. True, it requires an investment of time and money. However, in the long run, you will realize that you have saved time and money by enhancing customer satisfaction and improving employee retention. We at Fingent ensure a streamlined product development process that simplifies both deployment and transition. Call us to see how you can get this started for you right away.
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Success is a relative term. A successful software project means different things for different stakeholders.
To a programmer, a successful software project is rolling out an error or bug-free software within the stipulated time. To the business manager, it means the same thing, without the project being affected by scope creep. On another pane, the success of a commercial software may be determined by the revenue it allocated and agreed-upon budget.
The success of enterprise apps, however, depends on user adaptability. The very raison-d-etre for developing the software in the first place is to realize something for the end user. Even when the app unlocks a new possibility, the possibility doesn’t actually realize unless users use the software to get things done. The targeted end users accepting the software wholeheartedly is the best measure of success.
Very often, the most evident parameter of the success of an app is the functionality it realizes. Apps, by its very nature, are intended to make things simple. If whatever is done by the app can just as easily be done in another way, there is no reason for users to take the trouble to download and install apps. The scope of the app, in terms of the extent to which it simplifies otherwise complex tasks, unlocks new possibilities, or make the user’s job easier in any other way is a good measure of success.
Functionality has always been a key issue with software projects. On the face of it, the extent to which the software co-opts the required functionality depends on whether the requirements gathering stage is done right. However, real success depends on the project having support and buy-in across the enterprise. The top management has to support the project and then ensure buy-in with the rank and file. They also need to establish clear cut goals and define the scope of the project. Only then will there be a right atmosphere to draw up requirements that genuinely benefits, over status-quos.
The onus is on top management to inculcate a sense of ownership of the software project across the key stakeholders, and the onus is on the project leaders to sustain such ownership by involving the stakeholders in the project.
Good UX and UI
Functionality alone does not make a successful app. A key factor determining user acceptance is user experience (UX). A neat and solid design, manifesting in an equally good User Interface (UI) allows the user to get things done seamlessly. On the other hand, a poorly designed app, with convoluted logic and a complex interface is more likely to put more users off, no matter the functionality the software would realize.
Good UX often resides in code quality. A lean code base, developed using agile principles, and factoring in established best practices such as a minimalist design, usually goes on to ensure a good UX. A good UX directly correlates to customer satisfaction more often than not.
Usability differs from UX. In fact, usability comes above UX. Unless users can actually get to use the software, UX will not matter. Usability means the software working seamlessly across devices and the operating system it is intended. Poorly designed and provisioned apps crash frequently leaving users in the lurch. Some apps require full-time connectivity.This may not be practical in today’s age where a majority of users use public networks and hop between networks. Apps that allow offline working obviously score over apps that don’t, unless there is a very good reason to be always connected.
Determining usability requires understanding the conditions in which the app or the software has to work, and making adequate provisions.
Technology is always in a state of flux. The key to success is not on selecting the latest technology, but on identifying and applying the most relevant technology. For instance, it doesn’t help to develop an enterprise app for the iPhone when all the enterprise users have an Android phone. To be successful, the solution fits the problem on hand, and not the latest technical buzzwords or jargon.
The technical stack depends on what is viable, or easily available, in terms of resources and development team skill-sets, and such factors are reconciled effectively with what is the best technology for the project. For instance, a resource-strapped enterprise may do well to develop in open-source, whereas an organization that is technically challenged, and wants the least hassle with their software may do well to opt for some proprietary solution that offers robust, dedicated and reliable support.
User Acceptance of Change
One oft-overlooked factor when trying to make a software successful is coping with changes. The extent to which rank-and-file users support a software is often inversely proportional to the extent to which the software disrupts status-quo. Most enterprise users already have a cozy ecosystem in place, which they are reluctant to dismantle. The new software either has to gel in seamlessly with the existing ecosystem with a little requirement of change or else the benefit of change has to be communicated effectively to the rank and file. Such communication also has to be accompanied by training initiatives to familiarize users with the new software.
The Importance of the Team
Successful software projects are sustainable in the sense others can take over even if a critical member of the team leaves.
It requires a solid project team, with powerful team leadership, to execute a software project successfully, with fidelity to all the above principles. The success of a software project often depends on the extent to which the project team can overcome the latent cultural, hierarchical and bureaucratic barriers that exist in the most enterprise, to roll out cutting-edge and powerful software. It takes intense collaboration to ensure the key stakeholders are committed to the project to its logical end, and even afterward.
New projects are almost always a distraction and drag on the in-house IT team, who have their hands full with keeping enterprise systems up and running. The best way to roll out a successful software project is to rope in a partner for whom developing software is a core activity and not a distraction.