The software development process is complex. There are many moving parts taking place across the span of months. Developing a software product takes between 4 and 9 months, on average.
The software development process itself has many steps. Sometimes referred to as the software development life cycle (SDLC), developing software usually has between 5 and 7 steps depending on who you ask.
We’ve put together a small guide to the software development process to help you know what to expect.
Software Development Process Step 1: Planning and Analysis
Let’s begin with a bit of a disclaimer. The software development process has changed a great deal in the last 10 years. The demands brought on by constant connectivity combined with an intensely competitive market has caused numerous different models to gain prominence among software developers.
There are a number of different models you could follow to create your software project. Agile and SCRUM are two of the most popular, for example. Hardly anyone uses the traditional waterfall development.
You might think of the steps in developing your small business software than a recipe that you need to follow to the letter. These general principles are relevant no matter what software development process model you decide to follow.
The first step in creating your software is deciding what it’s going to do. If you talk to any software developer, they’ll tell you a majority of the work is done before ever sitting down in front of a keyboard.
During the software planning phase, you’ll want to spend some time at the whiteboard. You’ll need to break down your software project into smaller, actionable parts. You’ll need to think about everything from user experience to database management.
Once you’ve broken things down into smaller pieces, you should have a better idea of what kind of resources you’re going to need. You may need to set up some sort of cloud-based server in a container, for instance. You might need to hire some additional programming help, as well, depending on the scope of your project.
Software Development Process Step 2: Design
You should start to have some idea of the overall structure of your software during the planning phase. The design phase is when your software for a small business starts to become more concrete. This is the stage when you’ll start writing code and testing the overall structure.
You won’t want to create anything permanent or worry about presentation too much during the design phase. You could think of the design phase of the SDLC as the ‘prototyping phase.’ Rapid prototypes or wireframes should be more than enough to make sure your code is functioning as it should.
If you’ve got a design component of your development team, you might have them start working on the frontend design while the rest of the team works on the code. This way you make the most of your time. Some design choices might reflect on the code, as well, so the sooner you begin the better.
Software Development Process Step 3: Implementation
Now it’s time to start development in earnest. At this stage, a software development company should be striving to make things permanent. You’ll need to decide on official data flows, universally define your variables, and make sure that everything is built to last.
Even if you’re working with a small development team, you’ll still have different groups and responsibilities. Someone’s going to end up working on the backend while someone else is in charge of UX, for instance. Once the implementation phase gets underway, it is vitally important that everyone stays on the same page and works closely together.
This is one of the main reasons why Agile development is so popular. The closely collaborative nature combined with short development cycles guarantees that everybody stays on the same page and you don’t waste any time.
Working closely together is recommended to ensure that everyone has what they need. Deciding on data privileges and access are some of the most essential questions in modern software development. Working closely together helps make sure that these questions are answered as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Software Development Process Step 4: Testing
It’s difficult to imagine all of the variables when you’re first designing software. It’s one thing to get a project up and running with fixed variables. It’s a whole different matter where it can handle any situation that arises.
During the testing phase, you’ll just put your software through the paces. You should create a battalion of tests to approximate some of the scenarios your customers are likely to run into in day-to-day life.
Once you’ve got things dialed in a bit, you might start to conduct some user testing as well. It’s a good idea to conduct some A/B tests at the very least before going to market. How else are you supposed to know if your customers prefer blue buttons over yellow?
Software Development Process Step 5: Release
Now that you’ve finished prototyping and testing, it’s officially time to release your product into the wild! If at all possible, you might want to do a soft launch before a full release. You might have an offer for your regular repeat customers to get an early trial version of your new software product.
Think of this like a Beta release. It’s like user testing on a wider scale.
It’s okay if that’s not possible, however. Products are updated far more regularly during these times of constant connectivity. Additional problems may arise but you can always fix them later on with a patch or a new build.
Software development doesn’t have to be a daunting proposal. When you about it in a systematic and thoughtful way you can have a new software solution in a matter of months.
Looking For Software Development Help?
At Tartlabs, we believe that developing software is an art, as is collaboration. It is our great pleasure to work closely with our clients during every stage of the software development process.
If you’ve got an idea for a digital product you’re ready to launch, get in touch with us today and let us know how we can help make your dreams a reality!