In today’s fast-moving environment, you need to deliver software quickly to remain competitive. It’s a delicate balancing act. You can’t afford to release software that’s buggy or doesn’t work as advertised, but delays can miss market opportunities.
Maintaining the balance while accelerating the dev cycle and ensuring quality requires experience. Expertise learned through a significant deployment of projects helps develop the best practices it takes to produce optimal results. Here are five software development success strategies that industry leaders rely on.
1. Define the Scope of Your Software and Value Proposition
The first step is to ensure you have clearly defined the problem you are trying to solve or the need you are addressing. Whether you are bringing a new product to market or updating existing software, you want to create a clear value proposition for users so they can understand what your product delivers.
The project scope is key to software development success. By creating a framework for builds, you can help avoid scope creep and ensure that you are delivering on your goals. An effective project scope encompasses these steps:
- Understand why the project was initiated: Projects are initiated to meet specific goals. These must be addressed in the project scope statement.
- Define the key objectives of the project: The objectives describe why the project was selected and funded.
- Outline the project statement of work (SOW): The SOW provides a detailed breakdown of the work the project team will perform.
- Identify major deliverables: List the tangible items that will be delivered at project completion at a high level.
- Select key milestones: Indicate dates when stakeholders can expect deliverables or steps to be completed.
- Identify major constraints: Note limitations on personnel, resources, schedules, or other requirements.
- List scope exclusions: Deliverables that are assumed to be included but are out of scope should also be listed.
- Obtain sign-off: Require stakeholder sign-off to confirm understanding of project scope.
The project scope becomes your roadmap for development.
Make sure you include key stakeholders in the project to come to an agreement. Many companies find including target users or existing users is helpful to avoid overlooking key components.
You can think of the value proposition as how you would sell the software to users. What problem does your software solve, and how does it do it better or differently than other products on the market?
Establishing this upfront helps keep your team focused on user needs.
2. Take an Agile Approach to Development
Modern software development teams have largely embraced agile methodologies. Waterfall development practices with long release cycles extending over months or years have proven rigid and slow-moving. Adopting an agile approach enables you to deliver working software faster by breaking projects into small, iterative sprints.
You will want to prioritize your development roadmap on minimum viable product (MVP) features first. This helps you create feedback to catch any oversights early in the process. An agile approach is about committing to continuous improvement and empowering development teams to organize and manage their own work using collaborative, cross-functional teams.
An agile approach provides significant benefits, including:
- Increased flexibility: Allows dev teams to make changes more easily than other methodologies.
- Improved communication: Enhances collaboration and feedback between teams and product owners.
- Reduced risks: Breaks projects into sprints and lets managers tackle complexity and meet demands.
- Increased customer satisfaction: Involving stakeholders, including customers, throughout the development and incorporating feedback.
Employing an agile approach produces software development team resilience to adapt quickly to changes, making it a normal part of software development.
3. Work With an Experienced Software Development Group
Even if you have strong internal teams, most companies find great benefits in partnering with an experienced software development group. When you work with a team that has extensive experience in developing software, you get access to pros who have refined best practices over multiple projects. This can save you time and money while ensuring you meet deliverables. This is crucial in a world where more than 70% of organizations struggle to complete software projects on time and budget.
Working with the right partner allows you to stay focused on high-level goals during software development. Depending on your needs, you can use an experienced software development group to augment your internal team or for full lifecycle development.
One of the key advantages is access to high-quality specialists in different areas of development. Teams can scale appropriately with the right talent and tools, deploying software development success strategies at each step.
Experience helps account for unforeseen road bumps, enhancing software development resilience. Resilient software is crucial to:
- Isolate failures so they don’t contaminate other components
- Deploy emergency safeguards to prevent catastrophic outcomes
- Halt the propagation of errors before they cascade
- Deliver core services with minimal interruption during adversity
- Function reliably even when facing hostile conditions
- Rapidly restore stable and effective operations after disruptions
Often overlooked in the development cycle, software development resilience is crucial to maintain continuity and deliver a robust customer experience.
4. Deploy a CI/CD Strategy
The days of annual software updates are over. Users expect continuous improvements regularly. A continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) strategy accelerates time to market and reduces risk for developers. By automating builds and tests, developers can make small changes and ensure compatibility within builds. Because dev teams get feedback more quickly, they can improve the pace of development.
By building, testing, and releasing code, developers also catch bugs earlier in the process. For example, automated continuous integration merges codes, often multiple times a day, to identify any conflicts from code changes. Rather than waiting for a single large integration at the end, this makes it simpler to find the root cause of these conflicts for remediation.
Before new code is committed, testing validates each addition and ensures production remains focused on releasing working software.
CI/CD also helps provide significant benefits to end users. The first few interactions customers have with software can determine whether they are satisfied. CI/CD strategies produce:
- Higher quality and reliability
- Reduced failure or fault rates
- Faster delivery for fixes and new features
- Quicker response to customer concerns or desires
- Improved customer satisfaction and reduced churn
5. Test and Iterate
Quality assurance and testing are integral throughout development, not just at the end. Testing validates whether your software meets your goals and delivers on your value proposition.
A test-driven development strategy includes automated unit tests before coding new functionality. This ensures behaviors match specifications and design intentions. Each sprint should include time for testing, including:
- Functional testing: Confirm features operate properly from the user’s perspective.
- Regression testing: Catch any bugs introduced by code changes.
- User acceptance testing: Put MVPs or prototypes in front of users earlier to validate designs and functionality.
- Load testing: Confirm system performance under real production conditions, mitigating problems that may arise when software is used at scale in the real world.
An agile approach as part of your software development success strategies relies on consistent testing and data to prototype, test, learn, and refine. By embracing this iterative approach, dev teams can create stronger customer experiences at each stage of development.
Optimal Results and Higher Revenue
These strategies can help you deliver software that fulfills your project goals and value proposition. By incorporating these steps and working with an experienced software development group like Ascendle for custom software development, you get optimal results. With more than 40 years of software development experience, the Ascendle team does more than just build software. They deliver business value designed to delight customers and drive higher revenue on a predictable, accelerated schedule.
Contact the software development experts at Ascendle today to improve your software delivery process.