Explaining the Software Development Process for Non-Tech People
Whether you consider yourself a regular person that has a “pretty good handle” on your smartphone and computer use, or you’re a business leader that leaves all the “tech stuff to the experts,” we’ve got you covered.
Yes, software development is a very complex process on the tech side of things. But the process itself isn’t all that different from the steps you take to develop a new physical product, cook a great meal, or construct a building.
So, why is it important for you to understand the steps that a company like Next Idea Tech takes to bring your new software ideas to life?
Because you should know what you are paying for — the process is as important as the end product.
Because understanding the process helps you and your company get the most value from the process.
Let’s get started.
The Four Fundamental Elements of Software Development
● A Great Idea
● People — Software Engineers
● Development Processes
What’s the Difference Between a Software Product and a Software Solution?
Software products are generally aimed at the consumer market to download and use on their smartphones, tablets, and computers. On the other hand, software solutions are applications, integrations, and automations that are developed for a business — usually to solve a workflow challenge within that company and to produce efficiencies.
Usually, when an established company comes to a software developer with a problem, they are looking for a software solution to be designed and built.
For companies that build software products for consumers to use, the process is similar, but the end-user is different.
Knowing who is going to use the software being developed, for what purpose, and in what setting, helps determine some of the process — especially in the testing and rollout phases.
Who is Involved in the Software Development Process?
After you have had the initial meetings with a software development team and have “pulled the trigger” on the project, these are the people that do the work of bringing your vision to life.
● Business analyst
● Project Manager
● Team Lead
● Technical/Content Writers
The High-Level Overview of the Software Development Process
● Consultations to determine what software should be developed
● Roadmapping the development process
● Conducting a feasibility analysis
● Bringing in concepts and insight from all stakeholders
● Designing the software
● Delivering the design to the development team
● Developing the software
● Deploying the software
● Evaluating the software deployed
● Addressing any outstanding issues for the next software iteration
● Repeating the process of development, deployment, evaluation, and optimization until objectives are met
● Operations and maintenance of completed software
What Technologies Are Used in Software Development?
● A project planning tool such as JIRA, Trello, or ClickUp
● A communications platform such as Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams
● A wireframe utility tool such as Microsoft Visio, Balsamiq, or Adobe XD
● A storage location or “repository” to organize and structure files
● Code — Java, C++, Python, etc.
What is the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?
The Software Development Life Cycle is an interconnected ecosystem of processes — each with well-defined procedures, rules, and steps that must be followed by the development team toward the finished product.
The SDLC provides structure and a roadmap for the development process.
Things you Should Consider When Looking at a Software Development Project
Is it Affordable? Will the software pay for itself/be profitable?
There are times when a software development project looks good on paper, but when you run the numbers, you come to the realization that it is not fiscally viable. This doesn’t often happen, because usually a software solution in your company or a software product to sell to your customers has been vetted well in advance and has been determined to be financially sound.
Who is Going to Use the Software?
Knowing who is going to “use” the software that is being developed makes a difference both in the approach of the development process but also in the presentation of the final product. For example, a piece of software that has little interface and is designed to simply automate a workflow stage will have a different fit and finish than a smartphone application designed to be purchased by consumers.
Social Media Integration?
Although most software solutions for businesses wouldn’t require a social media integration, most consumer software products do.
What Features Do You Need?
Features and functionalities need to be brainstormed from the beginning. Take your time with this and bring in stakeholders from across your organization to help imagine what the new software can do.
What Development Strategy?
It is widely accepted by software development professionals that an iterative strategy (agile development) is usually the best course to take. However, there are a few others that can be leveraged if needed.
● RAD (Rapid App Development)
An agile development strategy allows for faster product release and more quality assurance controls.
The iterative software development strategy stands in stark contrast to a “develop and done” process where issues and “bugs” may go unaddressed.
Who is Going to Test the Software?
While software undergoes layers of quality assurance within the development process, it’s important that people who represent the target “end-user” be brought into the equation. Having a “test team” put together to utilize the software in a real-world environment limits the “surprises” at software launch.
What Post-Deployment Support is Available?
Is the software development team you are considering only available for the development process? What kind of assurances do they give for post-deployment support? Can you engage them to do ongoing management, maintenance, and upgrades of the software that they have developed? What about integrating it with any new software or hardware that you purchase for the business?
All these questions must be considered BEFORE signing a software development contract.
Are you considering developing a software product to sell to the public? Maybe you’re looking at streamlining your workflow with a custom application? The Next Idea Tech team is here to help! Just give us a call or send an email to begin a no-obligation conversation about your development requirements.