The Rules for Effective Software Production

Gimena Aguerreberry
April 20, 2021

The US spends more than $250 billion each year on software projects and IT application development.

The average cost of software design for larger companies is $2.3 million and $434k for small businesses. Yet nearly a third of these software products will not even reach full development. And over half will cost 189% of their proposed budget.

This article highlights 7 rules for an effective software development process.

We uncover essential software development methodologies that projects should implement. From hiring the right team to using experienced managers, learn how to keep an app on course and on budget.

Read on to discover what makes software projects succeed and the golden rules to ensure that happens.

1. Plan to Succeed

Initial planning is key to the success of software design.

It's the first step of the software development life cycle. Together with initial analysis, planning helps to evaluate scope and factors like:

  • Calculating labor costs

  • Creating a timeline with achievable milestones

  • Forming a suitable team and leadership structure

  • Feedback from stakeholders

The goal is to clearly define the purpose of the application and to plot the course to achieve it. Planning also sets boundaries so software projects don't veer from their original goals.

Setting a realistic timeframe should not be taken lightly.

A software development company with little experience often underestimates timescales. The human mind tends to undervalue real life so managers give unrealistic deadlines.

Use software developers who have worked on similar projects and know how to plan to succeed.

2. Choose the Right Software Products for the Job

Is the project a web app or will it run as an executable file? How will the finished product be distributed? Who are its end-users and do they need it to work on mobile platforms?

These questions and more form the basis of selecting the right tool for the job.

For example, some software engineering languages will only work on Windows. Others are web-based and can run on any device. Some require native mobile development to operate on iOS and Android.

Make sure the software development company has experience with several languages. Ask to see their portfolio and whether they've developed a similar project in the past.

3. Select Suitable Software Developers

Speaking of software developers, what rules define which team to hire?

Agile development uses collaboration and short sprints to create a minimal viable product (MVP).

Most modern team members use Agile as the basis for their project management structure. The benefits of this approach include:

  • Stakeholder engagement throughout the process

  • Predictable delivery date

  • Less chance of a cost overrun

  • Focus on user experience and business values

Agile methodology ties with where should the development team be based and does it matter?

Sophilabs offers a comprehensive software outsourcing service through nearshore developers.

Nearshore Agile development gives all the advantages of local teams but at a reduced cost. Our Latin American staff also operate during normal U.S. working hours.

Communication occurs online and our clients interact with managers to view the state of their projects.

4. Follow Software Development Life Cycles

The industry-standard software development life cycle consists of six stages:

  1. Planning

  2. Design

  3. Development

  4. Testing

  5. Deployment

  6. Review

Each stage is carefully tested and signed off before the next commences. This ensures a solid structure and a secure foundation for the finished product.

Ask your software architects if they follow this cycle and if they don't, consider hiring a team that does.

5. Use Experienced Software Project Managers

A recent report suggests that one in six software projects has a cost overrun of 200%. One of the main reasons cited is poor project management.

Only a fifth of companies have standardized project management systems like Agile in place. Forty-one percent who report poor project performance put it down to a lack of qualified managers.

Larger software products require larger teams. Each of those team members needs individual tasks that demand careful monitoring.

The project manager's role is to facilitate those responsibilities while liaising with the client. They need to have their finger on the pulse at every development stage as well as to inspire and motivate the team.

Scrum masters in the agile system also act as team leaders yet provide a pivotal role separate from the overall project.

Check how the team works in practice and if the leadership is worth their salt.

6. Constant Communication With Development Teams

Human memory, being what it is, requires constant confirmation that the team member is on track. Coding is an intense experience and it's easy for one individual to become overwhelmed by their workload.

A project's success lies in the software development company's ability to communicate with its staff.

Project managers must lead their team step by step towards the ultimate goal. A good team will talk with each other but a great time takes time to properly communicate. The difference being that scheduled meetings take place daily to check for issues and assess productivity.

Keeping stakeholders in the loop is also a priority.

They sign off on a project and dictate whether they're happy with the development. Project managers must maintain an open line and offer constant feedback.

7. Keep to Budget

A poorly managed software development process can lead to costs spiraling out of control.

Unforeseen factors can add to development time and having to hire more staff. Teams with no experience will underperform and not reach set milestones in time. Undertrained staff learning on the job will impact everything and the result is a bloated budget.

Be sure to agree to a realistic budget from the outset, then stick to it. The best teams will account for this and won't go over the initial figure.

The Rules For Successful Software Projects

All software projects live and die on factors like initial planning, the software developers used, and project scope.

Implementing a poor plan or the wrong software development process will lead to disaster. So too is hiring software architect team members with no experience and a lack of skills.

Sophilabs was founded in 2012 with a simple goal in mind. We wanted to deliver quality nearshore software engineering solutions and staff augmentation.

Our software outsourcing service guarantees our clients get access to the top 3% of developers. Project managers ensure development teams deliver on time and on budget.

Contact us today to see how Sophilabs can provide cutting-edge technology and problem solving to your IT projects

"The Rules for Effective Software Production" by Gimena Aguerreberry is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Photo by Austin Distel.

Categorized under software development / mobile.

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