Best practices and success factors of software development projects
Most software development projects fail. Though a company may have a great interesting idea, or a lot of money, or hire the best engineers, or something else, the product often loses out. In this post, we will consider the best practices and success factors of application development.
1. Requirements Analysis
Gathering and processing customer’s requirements is a very important stage of app development process. This step allows getting a clear understanding of project goals and the final result you need.
It’s better to collect the requirements before starting product development, so that designers, software engineers, and other specialists know what to build, in what way, as well as be able to help prepare an SRS (software requirements document) and provide meaningful recommendations to/during the project to deliver the best result.
One should note that quality requirements are divided into functional and non-functional. The first ones include the description of project business tasks and goals as well as user needs and expectations, etc. A good and convenient way to document functional requirements is to apply Use Cases generally prepared by a business analyst.
Non-functional requirements include the requirements for the product performance, scalability, operating systems, interface, and more. Thus, they have a major impact on a technical part of the project: app architecture, design, and functioning.
2. Idea validation
No matter how great your idea is, the application should meet needs and preferences of your target audience. So, the key to success here is to test your idea on users, measure their feedback, make competitor analysis, and conduct market research. Testing and validating the idea will enable you to define what needs to be enhanced and which new features should be added.
You also need to clearly understand tasks and problems your target audience has and how your app will solve them. Competitor analysis and market research will help you determine app features and characteristics that will allow you to take your market niche and stand out from your rivals. Thus, providing users with real value is a key to success.
3. Lean Startup – MVP
Lean Startup is very effective for software development projects. This methodology appeared as a solution of startup problems and reasons of failures. Сoming from manufacturing and baseJapaneseanese car industry practices, it can be applied in different fields. However, Lean Startup has gained special popularity in IT.
The core of Lean Startup methodology is MVP (minimum viable product) development and Build-Measure-Learn principle. What does MVP mean?
MVP concept means that you define only key (several) features of the app, implying only the very functions required to solve the main tasks. After that, we build the application. The primary goal here is to get a working product for further testing on the target users. Gathering their feedback allows understanding how to make the app successful: what to change, which enhancements to make, and which new features to implement (Build-Measure-Learn principle).
So, Lean methodology provides many benefits. First, you save time for the development (building a good working product in 3 months, after the release defining the scope for a new enhanced version). Second, you develop the app tailored to the needs and preferences of the target audience, providing them with real value. Third, you save money as you build only the key features, test the app, measure feedback, and then create a successful product.
4. Project Management
Poor project management can result in poor consequences: wasting a lot of time, failing to commit deadlines, developers’ overtime, staying within the budget, and much more.
At the same time quality project management is a key to project success. The right coordination of the work of business analysts, marketers (if they are required for the project), software engineers, designers, and testers, the definition of the total scope and its division in iterations has great importance for the process goes well and according to the plan.
Flexibility and changes are two words associated with Agile. This practice refers to an iterative method of software development process including all the activities of specialists involved in the project. The total scope is divided into small iterations, where product versions are developed and expanded with enhancements and new features.
Agile focuses on communication and cooperation with customers, the creation of a working product, app continuous improvement, and less – on large amounts of project documentation (documentation matters, but the focus is on the communication first). Usually, the customer is involved in the project, for example, in testing the product, in order to ensure receiving a great final result and meeting expectations.
This approach allows to make various changes during app development process (including changes in the requirements), build products quickly with less effort, as well as then test and enhance them, so each new version is better than the previous one.
Now Agile is probably the most popular practice in custom mobile and web app development. We use other methodologies for software development projects too, depending on their nature, and are always ready to help you define the best one exactly for your project.
6. Application design
Application design is one of the main parts of software development projects. Even with a good architecture design can be made in a bad way. Obviously, it should be modern, beautiful, and provide great user experience and high usability (UI+UX). Keep it simple, make it intuitive. Now it’s not just a trend, but the main requirement. Show the prototype to users, test it, improve. Ensure that designers follow platform guidelines.
7. QA and Stabilization
We emphasize the importance of this part of custom mobile and web app development. The quality of this stage directly affects product success or failure. Poor performance leads to user negative feedback, bad reviews, low ratings. Moreover, it usually means that your application won’t meet your goals or will be completing tasks wrong way because of poor functioning.
On the other hand, when QA engineers test everything and on multiple devices, prepare right test cases and on time (test cases should be planned before coding begins), the final result will be of high quality. Once a QA stage is finished, the stabilization comes (bugfixing and product enhancements).
The choice of technologies plays a significant role in the total app development process. For example, for scalable secure projects Java is a good option. For simple websites you can choose WordPress. React Native suits well for making mobile app interfaces, PHP will be an effective option for small software development projects. It’s possible to go on and on. We help our customers to define the technologies for the project and find an optimal technical solution.
9. Marketing project part
Mobile app marketing is important for product success. Surely, if the app is devoted to solving tasks inside the company, there is no such a need for app promotion, but in other cases steps like competitor analysis and market research do matter.
Also, remember that nobody knows about you perfect application without marketing strategy development and completion. It can include multiple activities such as App Store Optimization, publishing of tech publications and press releases, receiving positive reviews, gathering and measuring feedback, and a lot more. Find out more information in our post “How to promote a mobile app? Part I: Before release & launch stage”.
We hope the article has been useful and interesting to you. If yes, share it with your friends and colleagues.) Also, if you have a project idea, apply to a reliable custom app development company and get a free consultation!