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3 Essential Elements for Successful Software Development

When trying to deliver a new product to the market, you probably focus on this: product . What is it? What is it doing? Why does it need to exist? Who will use it? Is there a sufficient market to support this business model? All of these questions require answers even before you can start thinking about development.

But let's say that you have already answered these questions or that you have at least a list of hypotheses that you are ready to test. The next logical step would be to start building your product; but that comes with an even bigger list of questions: Who will build it? Should I hire a team or outsource? Should I go balls on the wall, or build small, iterative sprints?

The list goes on and on, and if you are a first product owner, the development of your software product can suddenly turn into an overwhelming task. That's why we recommend new owners focus on three areas of development: people, processes and tools.

People: The Human Side of Software

There is an old saying that "you are as good as the people with whom you surround yourself", and this is more true than in software development, where there are a million moving parts to follow , daily discoveries to make and many personalities to juggle.

However, the people you should think about first are your users. Who are they? Are there multiple customer segments that you will need to call on? Who is your first adopter? And from whom will you receive your comments?

The answers to these questions are absolutely essential to the development process; but when it comes to building the actual product, you will have to rely on a completely different group of individuals.

Who are we talking about? They are your designers, developers, engineers and managers. In short: they are your experts, the people who will build what you have envisioned, and those who will keep your project on track. And unless you are an expert in software development, you probably will not be able to create your product without a team of similar professionals, whether they are internal or they are hired outside of your organization. l & # 39; company.

But how do you build this team? Where do you find the talent you need?

Every software development project is different, so there are no uniform expectations or requirements for talent. Instead, you must align the skills of the developer or engineer to the needs of your product. When it comes to our client projects, we assign teams that are:

  • Multifunctional
  • Self-Organized
  • Well trained
  • And focused on creating value for you and your customers.

This may seem like a vague reference, but it works in the ever-changing field of software development, where teams often need to turn ethereal or conceptualized ideas into material products or services. And as we often help start-ups and large companies to fill their staffing needs, we have also developed our own process of integrating our developers, engineers, and account managers into the development process. a customer while offering maximum value.

In addition, we believe that the best product developers take customer service much further by caring not only about their initial customer, but also their customers' customers. This point of reference should be the goal of any hiring you bring: Do they add value to your development process? And will this value be recognized by the end user?

Process: moving from A to B with the least waste possible

Once your staffing needs are met, it's time to put these people to work to create your product. But where should they start? Some developers can only work in one direction, while others may be more flexible. Some product managers will prefer one methodology over another, while some designers may require some freedom.

Every team and every project is different, which is why we prefer a more flexible process. Yes, we can work Agile; but we can also approach a concept with an open mind and adapt it to your unique needs. In the end, it all comes down to your product.

Ask yourself the following question:

  • What characteristics will I absolutely need to call my user?
  • What benefits will my user receive from these features, if any?
  • When will I contact my user for comments?
  • How will my team and I respond to this feedback?
  • How can our business expand and grow over time?
  • How are we going to market our product to the user?
  • How will we provide customer support or educate our users down the line?

The answers to these questions can shed light not only on your product but also on your development process. Here are three processes to consider:

Consequent (aka Cascade)

The waterfall is a step-by-step process that requires the completion of one task before moving on to the next. Products are only tested at the end of the development process, not during.

What to expect: With a consequent process, you will struggle to control the budget. For example, if you need a certain Scope to be ready on a certain date, and something is wrong in the development, you should plan to pay more money to meet deadlines. And since you do not get your product until the end of the process, you might be surprised to find that no one really needs your product once it's on the market .

iterative (agile alias)

The Scrum framework allows an incremental approach with short sprints led by self-organized and multi-functional teams. This means that your team will be composed of narrowly specialized members who, combined, can provide all the skills needed for development without resorting to external resources.

What to expect: With an Agile development process, you can not really control the timing, but you are free to play with Scope on the fly. And since you will have functional software at the end of each sprint, and you almost always pay by sprint, you can stop developing whenever you feel the time is right. However, you can not really determine when the development process is really over. There is no reference for "done."

Mixed (Consistent + Iterative)

This is a mix of waterfall at the beginning and iterative at the end. In other words, the concept, requirements and design will be achieved step by step, while the architecture, construction and testing will be done by iterative sprints.

What to expect: Although this process is a compromise between the resulting and iterative processes, you will not get any real software until the end of the design phase. However, once you have solidified a design, you can get a much more accurate estimate of the budget and schedule, which allows you to plan your product more accurately.

Keep in mind that the process you choose can make or break the development of your software. Again, we believe that it is best to keep an open mind and choose the process that best suits the product you are building, but always try to make sure that what you are building has a feasibility on the market. We would hate you to review all the problems of creating software to discover that there is no market.

Tools: Flashy efficiencies

A man walks into a hardware store to buy an electric drill and then goes home to drill holes in a wall. What did he really buy? In this case, he essentially bought the holes he needed to complete his project – not the drilling. Exercise was simply a means to an end. And from this perspective, we can see that even software development tools are not what they seem at first glance. In other words, what do you use as tools?

Sure, you can buy all the upscale equipment with gadgets and seemingly infinite capabilities, but if you only need it to do a very specific little thing – and can not do – then the value of this tool will collapse. So, how do you choose the good tools for your project?

Our goal is to provide our employees with the best tools for productive work so that value can be delivered to our customers in the most robust and efficient way possible. And that means using the right tool for the right task at the right time – not just buying any instrument that is "hot" right now. Until now, this has been a winning strategy for our customers, and we believe that it can work for you too.

But what do we mean by tools? Well, the tools can be whatever you use for:

  • Defining your information architecture
  • Understand your user journeys
  • Create the user interface of your application
  • Coding the logic of the underlying characteristics
  • Creating a database or data model
  • Or synchronize information

Make sure you focus on efficiency when looking for tools, and think about what you need. Do you need to drill holes? Or do you need panel saws? What does your product need and what will allow your team to work smarter?

And, of course, maybe all these questions are still overwhelming. Maybe you have no idea where to acquire tools for software development, or how to determine which process is right for you. That's why companies like Distillery exist: to provide the people, processes and resources you need to get the job done right the first time. Contact us. We are here to make your vision a reality.