Before starting a software development project, it’s essential to figure out each team member’s area of responsibility and determine how to track everybody’s performance during the process. These tasks may seem relatively straightforward. Developers write the code, QA engineers test it, and project managers ensure that each team completes their tasks on time. However, there are many tricky parts to consider. Full-cycle development can take many months. Involved specialists have different expertise. Communication difficulties may arise, some team members may be forced to work remotely. Additionally, specifics of a given software system may require rethinking the habitual way of doing things.
These and many other considerations require due diligence when developing and adopting a company’s fundamental software development principles. They must guarantee outstanding product quality and leave space for flexibility vital for solving unforeseen difficulties. Today, we’ll talk about how to make sure that a team won’t run out of steam while working on the software project and, at the same time, will show the productivity required to deliver a top-notch product.
How to Implement a Software Project From Start to Finish
Let’s talk about what we mean when discussing full-cycle development. You may have different reasons to cooperate with a company providing customized software development services. Say your software system’s UI turns your employees’ work into a nightmare and requires significant rework. Or it lacks functionality, and you decided to implement and integrate modules adding new features. But if you have nothing but the idea that will make your business more profitable or issues your company is suffering from, full-cycle development will be a proper solution.
In this case, the team will take care of all the stages involved in creating a full-functioning software product. You can also consider developing a minimum viable product (MVP) first. This option can become pretty helpful if you decide to test your idea in practice before investing in full-featured project development. The team’s goal is to understand your needs and expectations better, design the software system according to them, implement functionality, test the system, and deploy it. To ensure that the system works properly, after the launch, the maintenance team fixes bugs and polishes everything to a shine.
It depends on the specifics of a given project to what phases will be the overall process divided into. Of course, different companies have their own vision of how to deal with a software project to better meet the needs of a client. However, in most cases, the overall process will consist of more or less similar steps. To better understand how full-cycle development looks like, let’s take a look at the following scheme:
Before the team starts writing the code, it’s crucial to spend as much time as needed to understand the client’s problems and create a software system that will help solve them. During this stage, the team decides the must-have features and sets the priorities for them. At this point, the Business Analyst (BA) plays one of the leading roles. The main aim for a business analyst is to formulate business requirements and translate them into technical requirements a team can work with.
For example, a customer’s business creates outstanding products that customers are satisfied with, but the overall sales remain drastically low. During the system requirement phase, the business analyst should clarify product features to help the client’s business. Say a CRM system that can analyze social media data to identify potential buyers’ current and future needs and generate interactive reports for data-driven decisions can become a decent solution. A programmer doesn’t need to know the specifics of a client’s business. Instead, a set of functions to implement will be more helpful, and that’s why BA’s job is so important.
During the system requirements stage, the development team creates a bunch of documents (e.g., project scope, project vision, software requirements specification, and others) that will become a guiding beacon for them during the work on the software project.
Each piece of information collected during the previous stage must be studied to develop a design that will guarantee the best possible outcome.The team discusses what data layers, programming languages, frameworks, libraries will help to achieve the set goals more efficiently. The system architecture to be implemented during the next phase is also determined here.
In addition, mockups and prototypes that visualize the future state of the product will be sent to UI/UX designers. Their responsibilities include creating layouts based on the results of the first development stage and ensuring a great user experience.
That’s where all the magic (also known as coding) happens. To ensure that all team members have something to do, Project Managers (PM) monitor the overall state of affairs and track general performance to ensure that tasks are completed on time and within budget. PMs also must ensure that the development team has all the necessary resources, and in case there’s a risk of missing deadlines, they can suggest possible solutions. Developers, in their turn, use documentation to implement required features and make reports about their accomplishments so that a PM can sleep peacefully knowing that the project is moving according to the initial plan.
Unfortunately, no matter how many bright minds the development team has, the software will always contain bugs. Fortunately, there’s a quality assurance team to deal with them. The main aim of the QA team is to detect and report bugs, determine if the final system’s quality corresponds to requirements, and cooperate with the dev team to achieve it.
Deployment and Maintenance
The software product’s life cycle doesn’t end after the development team has deployed the software system. Even if the first users left rave comments about how easy it is to use your platform to find the very best trampolines, it’s still too early to celebrate.There’s always the possibility that some bugs have eluded the eyes of QA specialists. In addition, users can find unpredicted ways of working with the system leading to unforeseen crushes. Hackers also don’t waste time and are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities to access valuable data. Due to all these concerns, it’s vital to support and maintain the system continually to ensure that it’s functioning correctly and consistently up-to-date.
Read Also How Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Works and How to Choose a Proper Model
Once again, this is a simplified representation of what a full-cycle development process may look like. Real life is often tougher than any hypothetical model. Real software projects often involve a wider circle of specialists, such as a business unit manager, product manager, or technical lead. Also, the Waterfall Model is a well-established approach that, unfortunately, doesn’t match the specifics of current development tendencies due to the complexity of modern software. More often, you’ll deal with Scrum, which implies incremental development, bringing new challenges. Our point is that the overall complexity of software project development does not allow leaving processes to chance, as this can lead to many undesirable consequences.
Tips For Building an Efficient Development Team
Whether you decide to delegate development activities to a development company, want to handle development using your IT department resources or hire a dedicated software development team, some tips will help you ensure better results.
First of all, don’t underestimate the importance of soft skills. Most probably, the ability of a specific team member to collaborate with others and respect their opinion won’t replace coding skills. Still, it definitely will have a significant impact on the software project quality. Even the most experienced developers must sometimes overcome their stubbornness and look at the project from someone else’s perspective, even if it means putting the opinion of a less savvy colleague ahead of their own.
Close cooperation between all involved specialists is essential not only in terms of healthy relationships within the company. Early involvement of all team members in the development process usually has a huge positive influence. For example, it may seem that there’s no reason for a QA engineer to start working on the software project before the development phase that we mentioned earlier is complete. In fact, the earlier you prevent possible mistakes, the cheaper it will be to solve them, so it’s better to implement testing in the early stages of development, ideally during the discovery phase.
Regular code reviews are another critical aspect of team members’ collaboration that can invest in creating high-quality software products. The process is as simple as it sounds. Developers check the code written by their colleagues in order to find errors and possible opportunities for improvement. This seemingly simple approach enables a valuable mechanism of exchanging ideas, resulting in better code quality. In this scenario, the significance of soft skills is pretty high. When all team members can freely exchange ideas in the workplace, there will be no situations when developers feel like their more experienced colleagues are patronizing them or just want to point out their mistakes during the code review.
The next tip suits any development team, no matter how big or small they are and how much experience they have behind their backs. Automate everything automatable and document everything that is documentable. Unfortunately, the human brain has its limitations both in terms of processing powers and subjects that can be simultaneously kept in memory, so it can be an excellent decision to force technology to take care of some tasks. Performing repetitive actions over and over again can be more exhausting than working on something creative. Additionally, it can significantly increase the overall project time and cost. Creating comprehensive documentation is also the process of automation in some sense. When it’s time to clarify some specific details related to a project, a team member can either spend half a day asking questions to the colleagues or spend ten minutes looking for information in the docs. It is obvious which approach will be more productive.
A software development team that you hire is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check a company’s portfolio to understand which projects it performed best in the past. But the relationship between the team members and their willingness to cooperate with each other will remain a mystery for the naked eye. Fortunately, suppose you’re lucky enough to collaborate with a company that appreciates close cooperation and is focused on long-term relationships. In that case, you’ll quickly recognize a perfect team whose primary goal is to make their clients happy.
If you’re looking for a software development team with extensive expertise in web development, please contact us.