7 Steps for Effective Software Product Development

All software developers know that in order to build quality software products, cutting corners isn’t an option. 

Every step in the custom software development life cycle is essential, and details must be carefully managed throughout each stage. From idea validation to product deployment, step-by-step planning underpins the entire software development process. To keep it concise, we’ve narrowed it all down to 7 steps. By learning these 7 steps for effective software product development, you’ll be well-equipped to begin launching your own project.

Step 1: Readiness Assessment

Before jumping into your project, you first need to assess whether or not you’re prepared. If you’re already an established company with broad domain expertise, then you’re ready for Step 2. But if you’re newer to software development and haven’t yet developed a product spec sheet, make sure to scope out your target market, conduct customer interviews and research, and team up with domain experts who can help substantiate your project vision. 

Step 2: Know Your Team

Effective product development is a team effort. In most cases, your team will need 4 main specialists: a chief technology lead (CTO) to manage all the technical aspects of your project, a delivery manager to monitor deadlines and resource allocation, and a business analyst to crunch numbers and analyze your customers, and then a development team to design, develop, and ensure the quality of your software. 

Step 3: Idea Validation

At this stage, your team will analyze all the information gathered, put together user stories, and sketch your software ideas in action. This information will allow you to visualize how your software will function in real life.

Step 4: Design 

This is the visual milestone of your software development process. Draw up a design brief, develop user personas based on research, and then map out the user journey—these elements comprise the information architecture your team needs to build your product. Next, have your team build wireframes and mockups, tailor an eye-catching UI/UX design, and then test for usability. 

Step 5: Development

In this step, your software development team takes over to handle the technical parts of development—primarily, writing code. But it is up to you to provide a statement of work (SOW) detailing why, when, how, and what needs to be done. You’ll also need to provide 8 project artifacts in order to ensure clarity across development: a communication schedule, project charter, RACI matrix, change request register, Gnatt chart, project roadmap, risk register, and user stories.

Step 6: Testing

It’s impossible to create a perfect product without thorough testing. Specifically, you’ll want to ensure your software conforms with standard requirements, track for defects, and consistently check for code errors throughout development. Whether you conduct tests manually or via automation, test-driven software development is proven to produce cleaner code, fewer inefficiencies, and hours of saved testing time at the final stages.

Step 7: Implementation and Deployment

During this last stage, as you begin to deploy your software product, there are several important things to do. First, set up servers to house your software, and then build a Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) pipeline. Ensure that your software is protected from third-party failures, and then you’re ready to implement your deployment plan.

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