Going through any kind of software build is usually a daunting prospect - it can be even more overwhelming for those who lack technical experience or background in the development process. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to commit a considerable amount of time to familiarize yourself with every facet of the project. After all, you can leave the job in the capable hands of experts.
But that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t at least have a good idea of what the process is all about. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way in managing and tempering expectations accordingly. It will also enable you to spot any red flags before they turn into real problems. With that said, here are some essential steps in software development that every programmer should know.
1.Analyze and evaluate
No matter what kind of application you’re creating – be it a customer relationship or reputation management software – a common misconception is that the first step in its development involves coding and design. While these elements are undoubtedly essential, they won’t do any good if they fail to meet a demand or need.
Therefore, you must start the process with careful analysis of what to build. Then, understand what businesses can gain from it by looking into challenges, goals, pain points, and the technology ecosystem. Only after you’ve collected and evaluated the information should you begin the process of the software’s development.
2. Design the software
After establishing the need for the custom software and objectives for the desired outcome, the next step should be getting into its design. In this stage, your team must identify everything the software requires to operate and fulfill its intended purpose, the way it should look, and the time frame for its completion.
So begin mapping out your workflows, determine the databases you'll be using, and produce a model for the data. Doing so will allow you to create a foundation for all of the other development process steps you'll be working through.
3. Code the program
Only when the design has been documented, and all other requirements mapped out should you begin with the coding stage. The reason for this is that there’s a lot more planning involved before any code can be written than people realize. And in this phase, every development task will need to be fractionated and built back up in pieces because it gives more time to review and assess that everything is on track.
As the software is being coded, there must also be regular communication with the project's progress. From emails and SMS to messaging services and video conference calls, make sure that you use the appropriate channels that every team member is comfortable with so that everyone stays on the same page.
4. Test the application, especially if it’s reputation management software
Any product gets stronger the more you develop and test it, and software is no different. For this reason, you must never skip the testing phase. This is especially important for software like reputation management because its complicated nature can lead to potential issues. Through testing, you'll be able to find any problems and bugs that may exist in the program and give you the chance to address them before your clients find them.
5. Implementation and maintenance
Once the software is ready, you can release it. However, the development process doesn’t stop at this stage. Your staff will need to understand how to utilize and support the tool, after all. In addition, after its implementation, you’ll need to support it for your clients continuously. There’s always a chance that they may find some problems with the software, and your ability to rectify these errors and improve their experience will determine the success of the tool.
The process behind the development of software can be a tricky and complicated affair. When you get right down to it, it does involve a lot of technical elements that not many will be able to understand fully. However, most development processes usually follow the stages laid out above because it simplifies what would otherwise be a complex undertaking. More importantly, it leaves minimal margins for error, ensuring that the software functions the way it should once it’s released.