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Steps for Effective Software Product Development in 2021

By Prateek Saxena
August 26, 2020 6. min read
Last update on: August 31, 2020

There are a lot of things that should be spontaneous in life, like office parties, weekend trips, even tattoos but software development is not one of them! Stages of software development should be efficiently and effectively planned. If you want to develop a great software product, you need to have a proper plan and process in place. Benjamin Franklin so aptly put it – “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Let me take you over the sequence of steps that are required for proficient software product development. The full cycle of product development involves several steps. The ending of one step is the beginning of another!

software development cycle

SDLC stages: What are the stages of software development life cycle?

1. Idea and concept:

It all starts with an out of the box idea and validating your application idea but I suggest that right from the very beginning document everything! Don’t keep your great ideas just in your head. Any concept should be carefully thought out and brainstormed in order to be executed. Here are a few things that you can probe upon:

  • Define your goals
  • List out the features your software will have
  • Research other software products and figure out how your product will stand out
  • Discuss the target audience
  • Sketch out what the software product will look like
  • You can be analytical and put together a user story

These simple steps will help your product development life cycle in ways that you can’t even fathom and make the process smooth right from the start!

2. Planning and Feasibility Analysis:

Feasibility analysis, an important part of the app discovery process, will help you determine not only the technical but also the economical aspects impacting your software product development process. You need to keep a few things in mind while planning the roadmap of your product like time, resources, essential tasks, estimates and ROI etc. Adequate amount of analysis and planning helps in foreseeing the risks that can occur during the software development phases. It will also help you in being ready with risk mitigation strategies.

3. Proof of Concept:

Once you are through with your second step, you can go ahead and start with a proof of concept. POC is one of the most important steps in software development. This stage comes into existence way before the software development process starts. It will help you in validating your idea and you would know if the software product is actually working for your business or not. It will not only confirm technical feasibility and possible expectations but also determine the potential blocks and the scope to accomplish them.

4. Design:

A good design is the one that doesn’t scream ‘look at me’ rather it shouts out ‘look at this product’. Software design is an integral stage of software development. Once the POC is successful, the design team conceptualizes a detailed software architecture hitting the bull’s eye when it comes to the features of the software. Product design strategy is about striking the right balance between user needs and business goals and not losing sight of either one during the SDLC.

The product design of your software will include prototypes and the final mockups, making sure that they are very customer centric. So the wireframes, standards, workflows and end goals should be defined keeping user interaction and final output in mind.

5. Proof of Value:

POV dives deeper into what the product means to your business. It helps you determine if your goals are achievable or not! Through the POV process you can easily take a single case from beginning to the end and inspect all the elements and understand the gaps on the way.

A POV basically provides a better understanding of the predicted value that the products will bring in and measure success

6. Development and coding:

Once we have all the key elements like the POV, design document and the functional requirement specification document, we can start with coding and development. It is all about giving life to your product! The software product development engineering team has to make sure that their coding process is accurate since it is potentially the riskiest step of the SDLC. Once the complete architecture that includes database, application programming interface and planned functionality of the solution is built, we can move towards the testing stage.

Development and coding

7. Quality checking and testing:

Now that your team is developing the software, quality checking and testing is one of the most important development process steps. I would highly recommend you to test, track and fix bugs simultaneously. However, once the product is developed successfully, you must have a final in-depth test as well.

You can start with these simple mobile app testing steps:

  • Releasing the product to a small group of beta testers
  • Using UX tools to keep a track of how the users are interacting to your product

You need to be 100% sure that you are not distributing buggy software to customers; this can ruin your reputation and result in loss of revenue. Testing plays a huge role in the software development procedure. I cannot emphasize it enough!

8. Deployment and Implementation:

Once you are done with software development process steps like designing, coding and testing of your application, now is the time of actual installation of the crafted product. The application is now moved to production including data and components transfer. However, during the next releases, only some specific changes will be deployed. At this stage, end-users and system analysts can see, use and experiment the ready application.

9. Marketing Strategies:

Simultaneously the marketing team will keep coming up with a multi-platform approach to turn the spotlight towards your product. Out of the box strategies that will focus on telling the product’s unique story, understanding the competitive analysis, investing in digital marketing, creating social media and SEO master plans will enhance the product’s value.

10. Maintenance, Upgrades and Enhancement:

You think that you have accomplished all the steps of the SDLC, well think again! The software development steps are not over yet. The final stage includes maintenance, operations and regular updates. Since this process starts post-launch, keep in mind that the customer needs are evolving every single day, which makes this step extremely essential.

The product will be upgraded, maintained, polished, redesigned and enhanced according to the feedback of the customers and the rapid development in the IT sector. I believe that this is the perfect time to vigorously modify the application’s functionalities to upgrade its performance. This way, you will be able to meet the actual needs of your target audience.

How an MVP approach can make the software development process more effective?

How an MVP approach can make the software development process more effective?

The full-form of MVP is – minimum viable product. The MVP will help you gain the users perspective. How? Below are some important pointers for you to keep in mind:

  • It is a ready to launch version of your software product with the sufficient amount of features that are enough for the initial users.
  • Once the feedback is received from the initial users, only then the final product is designed with all the elements.
  • The MVP process is cost effective since it saves time and accelerates the development process.

Building an MVP is not the only important task but testing its viability is just as important too. A company may think that the product can satisfy the needs of the customers but until and unless the MVP test is run, it can not be said for sure.

Steps to lower the software development time and cost:

Step-1: Turn to outsourcing

Turn to outsourcing

Outsourcing the software development process results in 40% decrease of the actual cost. You should consider your outsourcing options because:

  • Initial in-house cost cutting will save you a lot of money in the form of on-shore salaries, benefits, taxes, marketing and management costs, etc.
  • Zero pay out on software architecture.
  • You’ll be able to choose designers and developers on the basis of technical knowledge, relevant experience and lower budget criterias.

We suggest you do your due diligence and award yourself with a software product development company that is capable of meeting the quality requirements and completing your product successfully.

Step-2: Leave no room for assumptions

You should not be ambiguous about what you want when it comes to product development! If the requirements are not clear your product can turn into a disaster because of haphazard design, unplanned functionality and the lack of distinctness.

Documenting each and every requirement and expectation regarding your product will help you eliminate the room for vagueness. This will reduce the overall software development costs and save time for you, helping you focus on other important business problems and solutions.

Step-3: Testing is the key element

Make sure that the testing team is involved in every step of the way. Successful software developers reveal that they started testing for red flags, errors or bugs right from the design phase.

If the errors are found at a later stage, the intensity of rework increases! The quality check team will not only save the cost and time by reducing the chances for mid-project redesigning but also avoid sub-optimal application quality. By making software testing your ‘mantra’ you will throw light on potential risks and surface functionality conflicts.

Step-4: Prioritize the ‘must have’ features and eradicate the ‘nice to have’ features

I’m sure that we all buy gadgets and do not use about 50% of the features, same is the case with software products! They have a lot of unessential functions that your target audience will never use. Such features increase the development time and maintenance cost, so make sure your product has the most viable features.

I advise you to start with a smaller chunk of money and create a basic product. Once it turns out to be profitable, you can always expand the functionalities of the product. This step will save your time and cost. Also, carry out a proper market research to determine and forecast what your clients are embracing about your product.

Why Appinventiv trusts agile methodologies

The Agile software development process and its most popular methodology – scrum, give you an interactive and dynamic experience. Agile methodologies will give you the power to stay in constant touch with the team working on your project and produce sustainable, profitable and successful products.

agile methodologies

It is all about accelerating the process, making it more efficient, and responding to the real needs of your customers, even if it does not align with your initial plan. Agile does help you to go with the flow and move in one direction with the understanding that you’ll change course along the way because of the constantly evolving technology and requirements. Also, this is the reason why the agile approach is really effective when it comes to startups.

The path to success

The most important outcome of following the above software development life cycle phases is that it will give fluency to the project execution process. Understand that the software development life cycle can be structured to the needs of a particular project in order to deliver the best product possible.

Appinventiv offers custom software application development processes. The Appinventiv product development team accomplishes in understanding your product, designing and developing it, testing it and finally constantly evolving it. We align lean principles in our software development process. Lean development principles is an agile approach which was developed on lean manufacturing principles.We assist in discovering, designing, engineering and scaling up your product. We excel in customer satisfaction, cost effectiveness and efficient workflows. This is how we can make your product successful!

Prateek Saxena
Prateek Saxena
Co-founder of Appinventiv
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