Software development has manifold benefits for organizations and it can be said that having custom software takes businesses to new heights. From improved sales, service, and marketing campaigns to boosting client, customer, and employee experience, business software can make life much simpler for companies looking to benefit from technological advancements.
When coupled with automation solutions and other modern technologies, organizations can also ease their digital transformation process with custom software development and gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets. All of that makes software development an integral part of today’s business strategies, and so, it should not be taken lightly by any means. However, as software development is an evolving process, and is rapidly changing as per the varying trends in technology, it is important to shift gears and keep up with the pace of the industry.
It is impossible to make use of outdated processes to develop quality software that could help to achieve productive results. Therefore, you need to make sure that your software development process is efficient and drives the best outcomes as you expected. Below are 7 actionable tips that will help to improve your software development process and meet your intended goals.
1. Set Up the Workflow
It may sound quite obvious, but the mantra to successful software development solutions involves creating a well-devised workflow and plan before starting the project. Without a proper workflow, it can be very difficult to manage the tasks involved in software development and the multiple stages, such as coding, reviewing, and deployment, that you need to navigate to accomplish the desired results.
You can make use of many tools to customize your workflow and have a clear and precise path ahead to move on. In order to identify the inefficiencies in streamlining your workflow, you can ask yourself a few things like:
- Is the workflow managing slow tasks well?
- Have workloads started to pile up for certain processes?
- Are your tasks marked as done at the right time?
Answering these questions will help to optimize your workflow and make it more efficient.
2. Develop the Iterations
You need to establish your requirement specifically before starting the software development process. Then you can begin writing the code, testing it, and deploying the software when everything is perfect. Yet to ensure that you have built a competent software application as per your needs, you need to adopt an agile or iterative development strategy. So choose your software development life cycle (SDLC) model wisely.
In general, the waterfall SDLC model is recommended when you need a rigid structure and extensive documentation. Agile and Scrum frameworks, on the other hand, are suited to dynamic, continuous development. It is also a good idea to execute the development process in weekly stages so that you can prioritize things accordingly and meet the deadlines. Besides, it will also help you to gather insights based on analysis and deal with the changes proactively.
3. Sort the Backlog
It is evident that you will come up with different ideas when on the software development project and fill your backlog with them. However, it will not be of any use unless you implement the ideas by focusing on what is important right now and ignoring those things that may not be that critical. So if you are using multiple channels to manage your backlog, you need to refine it adeptly too.
A good way to do that is by splitting the backlog into tasks that need immediate attention. You can also keep separate lists for high-priority and low-priority work to stay away from being distracted. When you are done with the critical tasks, you can easily start looking into the other ideas to explore further possibilities for upgrading the features in the software.
4. Maintain the Code Quality
Testing the code is a vital element of software development and it can help you greatly in managing and assuring the quality of the code. Many beginners getting started with software development often cut back on testing to save time and resources and deliver the product on schedule. However, this can often lead to badly written software, which could run into all kinds of errors when in operation.
That is why you should dedicate a good amount of time to testing the code and carry it out after the completion of every phase of your software development process. You can also employ automated tests to monitor minor fragments of the software concurrently during the development process and ensure that the quality of the code meets the standards you are expecting. You can also have another developer cross-check the code for quality assurance.
5. Manage the Work-in-Progress
It is seen that multitasking often leads to inefficiencies in software development. That is why you need to manage your work-in-progress well to ensure that there is no overload on the system and you can meet the desired results on time and with fewer chances of errors. A good approach to that is to reduce the work cycle times by including fewer tasks to complete at the same time. This, again, depends upon how sensibly you have planned the workflow.
You can also set up work-in-progress limits to better focus on specific tasks and ensure that there is less context switching. This will make sure that you can complete the individual tasks quicker at every stage and carry out the testing properly. However, you can always start a new task when you have completed the previous one before time irrespective of the work-in-progress limit defined by the workflow.
6. Classify the Definition of Done
The Definition of Done (DoD) refers to a set of acceptance criteria, which states that the tasks are actually done once they are marker completed, both in terms of quality and functionality. This allows you to know exactly what you need to achieve to finish the project. Moreover, it also helps to avoid any uncertainties in the software development project and complete everything on time.
Having a DoD will allow you to restructure the processes involved in software development as well as working habits to minimize the chances of rework on already completed tasks because of unsatisfied standards. At the same time, it also helps you to think ahead of what you are looking to accomplish and plan things to meet those goals to add more value to the final product.
7. Make the Progress Visible
Tracking the progress of your software development project is another key element that can improve the process and help to eliminate the shortfalls. Making the progress visible to all the stakeholders, including your software development team, upper management, and other relevant parties also makes it more transparent and motivates you to deliver your best performance. In addition, it also allows you to see whether you can complete the project on time and if it has all the required features.
You can either set up a physical board on the wall to visualize the progress of your work or use a team collaboration tool for that. This will avoid the need for asking for status updates. Besides, you can also collaborate with your team members well and track their performance using an all-in-one platform to ensure that they complete their part on time.
An efficient software development process not only means that you are delivering the final product on time but it also ensures that you meet the budget, scope, and other specifications of the project aptly. That is why you should implement all the above-stated practices with due consideration and increase your chances of developing the right software for meeting the varied needs of your clients.
Remember that software development is innovating as we speak. So it will also be a good option to invest in new technologies and frameworks, as well as the skills of your software development team to tackle any challenges and make the system far more productive.