Global spending on enterprise software reached $856 billion, while there are hundreds of consumer-grade apps developed each day. Creating applications of any kind requires multiple factors to consider. Some of these include following the SDLC process, choosing the right methodologies, and partnering with an expert team.
Let’s find out how to develop a software product today!
What is Software Product Development?
Software product development refers to creating and designing a software product from concept to market launch. It typically involves several steps that lead to creating user-friendly, reliable, and scalable applications. The detailed process depends on the chosen methodology.
7 Steps of the Software Product Development Process
Usually, each project is developed by following the seven software product development stages. All of them are equally important for the project’s success. Let’s have a look at each one in detail.
1. Ideation and Planning
All projects start with an idea. This is where you create the initial concept for your software and plan the development process. You think of the target audience, project goals, and available resources to see what options are available. When that’s settled, you move to the market analysis.
2. Market Analysis
This is where you research the market to identify competitors and see whether there is demand for your product. You should gather as much information as possible. It will help you build a competitive application that meets the needs of your target audience.
3. UI/UX Design
Now your team starts bringing the idea to life. Designers develop wireframes of the product to represent how it’s supposed to work. They also create the UI/UX design to build a memorable, user-friendly, and visually appealing app. If you’re looking forward to future expansion, the design may be made scalable.
Software engineers start writing the application’s code to make the software work. They follow the best practices in the industry to ensure the app is well-optimized and meets your requirements. You might have daily or weekly meetings with the team to be updated about the progress.
The QA team uses manual and automated methods to identify any issues that may impact the software’s performance. They send reports to the developers who review the code and fix the bugs. When the QA engineers confirm that the application is working as intended, it moves to the next stage.
This is where your product is finally released to the public. Now people can download the application and use it for their daily needs. However, this is only possible when you have a clear release plan that covers your marketing efforts. Effective promotion is essential to reach your target audience.
After release, the development team still needs to work on your project. They provide ongoing support to fix issues that may appear. Also, the developers provide constant updates to add new features or optimize the product. This keeps it functional and competitive.
5 Software Development Life Cycle Models
There aren’t that many new software product development ideas when it comes to applied methodologies. Most companies follow the same approaches because they are time-tested and effective. Let’s check out the five most common SDLC models.
The Agile methodology is an approach that breaks down software development into small, quick steps rather than doing everything at once. It’s like building a house one room at a time. All teams collaborate and discuss the project’s detail to ensure the product meets the customer’s expectations.
Software engineers follow the Agile Manifesto, a set of guidelines consisting of four values and twelve principles. This leads to the following directions:
- Customer satisfaction – delivering working software frequently.
- Incremental and iterative development – breaking down the SDLC process into 1-4 week sprints.
- Self-organizing teams – high level of collaboration as each member owns their work.
- Continuous improvement – reflecting on current progress to enhance efficiency and quality.
- Adaptability – responding quickly to changes in requirements or other external factors.
These principles might be why 37% of respondents use the Agile methodology in their projects.
- ● Flexibility: the Agile methodology allows for flexibility in project requirements and ensures that changes can be made throughout the development process.
- ● Customer satisfaction: the Agile methodology prioritizes customer satisfaction and involves customers in the development process, leading to a better end product.
- ● Faster time to market: by breaking the project into smaller, more manageable chunks, the Agile methodology often leads to a quicker time to market.
- ● Lack of predictability: due to the flexible nature of Agile methodology, it can be difficult to accurately predict project timelines and costs.
- ● Heavy reliance on customer involvement: Agile relies heavily on customer involvement throughout the development process, which can be an issue if the customer is unavailable or unresponsive.
- ● Requires highly skilled team members: Agile requires highly skilled and experienced team members who can effectively manage and communicate throughout the development process, which can be challenging for smaller teams or less experienced engineers.
The Waterfall model is a sequential software development process that follows a linear, step-by-step approach. It involves a series of distinct phases, each of which must be completed before moving on to the next. The process starts with the analysis and requirements gathering, then moves on to design, implementation, testing, and maintenance.
- ● Structured approach: the Waterfall methodology is a well-defined and structured approach to software development. It brings a clear roadmap for the whole SDLC and only moves on if the current phase is completed. This results in the product being delivered on time and within budget.
- ● Document-driven: there is clear documentation of each phase. It is used as a reference point for further development, ensuring the software is easy to maintain and modify.
- ● Easy to understand: the methodology is easy to understand and use. It’s believed to even be suitable for people with little to no experience in software engineering.
- ● Rigid and inflexible: there is no way to revisit or change a phase after its completion. This may lead to the discovery of unforeseen issues during the next software product development steps.
- ● No room for customer feedback: the methodology presupposes that the client leaves feedback only after the end of the development process. This may result in an application that doesn’t meet customers’ needs or expectations.
- ● High risk: any errors during the early development stages may lead to huge challenges in the future, resulting in delays and increased costs. However, this may be mitigated by thorough planning and continuous testing.
The iterative and incremental development methodology involves the repetition of all the steps from planning to testing until the product is complete. Each cycle is called an “iteration” and is built upon the previous one, just like a scaffold.
- ● Flexibility: the iterative model allows changes to be made throughout the development process. This increases the chances of the end product meeting the client’s needs.
- ● Continuous improvement: each iteration builds upon the previous one, applying feedback to constantly improve the product. This means that bugs and issues are reduced with each step.
- ● Reduced risk: as the process is broken down into smaller chunks, it’s much easier to find and fix issues as they appear. This nearly eliminates the chances of any critical errors reaching the production stage.
- ● Time-consuming: considering that each iteration repeats the same steps, the model requires a lot of additional time to complete all the activities.
- ● Requires active involvement: the client should be actively involved in the process to provide timely feedback for the developers to move on.
- ● May require more resources: as each iteration repeats the same activities, it may lead to increased costs in terms of time and money.
The V-model is considered to be a variation of the traditional Waterfall methodology. Its peculiarity is that each stage is paired with a parallel testing phase. Developers use quality assurance during all stages simultaneously to ensure that any issues found can be addressed before moving on to the next phase.
- ● Reduced errors: each step is validated before moving on to the next one, reducing errors and potential risks.
- ● Predictable outcomes: the structured approach provides a clear understanding of the project’s progress, ensuring timely delivery with predictable outcomes.
- ● Efficient testing: QA takes place at each stage of the V-model, detecting and correcting issues during early development stages. This may potentially save a lot of time and money.
- ● Inflexibility: as each stage is rigidly defined and linked to a testing phase, it may be difficult to accommodate changes to the project’s requirements.
- ● High cost: since testing is conducted at every stage, it may require additional resources, time, and QA engineers.
- ● Limited stakeholder involvement: due to the sequential and linear nature of the V-model, there may be a lack of input and feedback from stakeholders. This could result in the end product not meeting their needs unless everything is clearly defined in advance.
5. Rapid Application Development
The Rapid Application Development (RAD) model focuses on creating prototypes quickly and efficiently. Its design makes it highly adaptive and flexible. This lets developers make changes to the project during any stage, adapting to all challenges.
The RAD methodology has four phases:
- Requirements planning: identifying the requirements and project scope.
- User design: creating the UI and prototypes.
- Construction: the actual development process.
- Cutover: application deployment.
With the right skills and expertise, the Rapid Application Development model can help you get high-quality software faster than with any other approach.
- ● Faster development: the RAD model focuses on creating working prototypes and testing them immediately.
- ● Increased collaboration: there is a large accent on collaboration and communication between developers and clients to provide better results.
- ● Flexibility: changes can be made immediately during any development stage.
- ● High cost: you need highly skilled developers and frequent testing, resulting in increased development costs.
- ● Complexity: this model is more difficult to understand than others because it uses multiple prototypes and requires constant testing.
- ● Requires active involvement: the client must be actively involved throughout the development process, which may be challenging if the client is not available or responsive.
Common Challenges in the SDLC
There are many challenges that may be encountered during the software product development process. They may be generalized into three most frequent options: deadlines, lack of communication, and new requirements during the late development stages. Let’s check it out with more details.
1. Setting Timeframes
Although each project is usually planned in advance, the designated deadlines are often unrealistic. This leads to project delays, quality issues, and budget overruns. Project managers can mitigate the risks by considering all factors like tools, team size, expertise, dependencies, and others. Also, monitoring ongoing progress can help the team make adjustments to the milestones and ensure all deadlines are met.
2. Lack of Communication
Effective communication is often the key to successful software product development. It keeps all team members on the same page and ensures they work towards the same goals. Lack of communication may lead to significant misunderstandings, delays, and even the need to rebuild the project. This challenge is usually mitigated by using transparent communication channels, regular meetings, and progress reports.
3. Late Requests
Sometimes stakeholders request changes or additional features during the development process. This may disrupt the schedule and increase costs, as the software engineers get additional work. Project managers mitigate this issue by using change management practices. These include reviewing the request’s impact on the project, its feasibility, and approval from all stakeholders.
How to Approach Software Product Development?
Hire an in-house team
Working with an in-house team provides you with dedicated software developers who only focus on your company’s projects. Team members can easily collaborate with other departments within the organization, ensuring that the development process is aligned with the company’s goal. Also, such teams usually work full-time, bringing you faster development at a larger cost.
Outsource software development
Outsource development usually provides you with lower costs and a broader talent pool. You will be able to easily find all the required expertise at an adequate cost. However, outsourcing usually presupposes remote work and the team might be working on other projects simultaneously. This depends on your contract.
Where Should You Offshore Product Development?
Hiring an offshore software product development team requires you to consider multiple factors like locations, time zones, and costs. We made a list of the three leading countries for outsourcing that have the best skills and costs for startups and businesses.
As the world’s top technology country, Ukraine is consistently ranked 11th in the HackerRank developer skills report. Its IT sector demonstrated a 10% growth in its IT sector in 2022, showing that Ukrainian software engineers are dedicated to their projects regardless of any challenges.
You can contact developers from Ukraine to bring any idea to life. From MVP development to project expansion, these experts can do it all.
Poland is ranked third as the best country for investment in 2020. The country’s IT market revenue is projected to reach $7,12 billion by the end of 2023. Polish developers are known for their high level of education, technical proficiency, and communication skills.
As one of Europe’s leading technology destinations with over 1 million employees in the IT industry, Germany is another popular option for offshore development. It is ranked 8th in the Global Innovation Index, making it an attractive place to hire expert engineers for startups.
Team Up with Experts From Ukraine
SapientPro is your reliable software product development company. Our large team of industry professionals will help you build scalable, efficient, and good-looking applications that keep your customers engaged. We work with both small and large-scale projects.
Your success is our goal. That’s why our team will guide you through the process, applying the industry’s best practices and avoiding potential pitfalls. You’ll get the most effective solutions that align with your business goals. See how our partners already benefited from collaborating with us.
There’s no time to lose. Let’s start working on your project today!