There is really no conventional way to develop software products. It will always depend on what do you want, who are you working with, and how fast do you want it. Either way, proper software development does involve some standards to make sure you are developing the right solution. Writing code is not merely to solve a user problem, but need to think in the final result to be better supported and maintainable.
Making it simple when it comes to consistency and propagation is essential. In any case, the method to develop an app isn’t an exact science, and there is no right way to do things. To be prepared for developing any kind of program is almost like craftsmanship, where there are a few distinctive approaches to making your product. Non-technical entrepreneurs usually don’t have exceptional know-how on software engineering. But you see, the key to running software solutions effectively comes more from non-technical skills. It’s more about how you plan. Deploying your application into production is less coding and more handling the way you are going to do it. Nowadays, excellent communication with your team will get you more on track to reach your concept to production.
The value behind your product
Before starting any work, you have got to make sure that you simply recognize the worth of it. Grasp the justification of the long hours you are going to dedicate to the project. Ask yourself, who is your target consumer, what problem are you solving, how will you solve it, and for that extra mile, what worth are you adding. Because I can assure you with 99.97% certainty, what you want to do, it’s already out there. Validating your idea is as important as the work you put into it.
Creating a plan of action
Your team needs to have a clear plan. It should include a collection of diagrams, describing every part of the project. From the technology you are going to use, how it is integrated and how you are going to plan to make it. An application graph and a user-interface mockup are standard things you might have to make as well. Doing this will allow your team analyze and create better solutions for each individual task. It doesn’t matter if your group has all the technical experience you would like at the start. Once you get your coding on, you’ll be able to grow and even invite extra hands if required. Following a precise roadmap, will allow you to see ahead on any blocker or problem before it creates delays on delivery. You’ll be able to track every step of your team’s advances, calculating the speed of your development, and creating near precise predictions for delivery. This is always an ideal case, and there is still the human factor. Either way, creating a solid plan will get you a long way.
Documentation, documentation, documentation…
My father always told me, have everything written down on paper. In software development is no different. Documentation is a must, especially if you have a remote team in different time zones. There should be an area where your team can share information about the project. There’s no correct quantity of documentation to possess. The more, the merrier. Especially once you are in an advanced stage of development and find yourself in trouble if a vital member of the team decides to leave. You’ll need a helpful guide got to work things out. Once the project is complete, remember to review the documentation.
Collaboration is essential for any code project, and in my opinion, it is represented in one word: DevOps. DevOps portrays a culture and set of mind that brings development and operations along on code development. It permits organizations to produce at a faster pace than they will with typical techniques. And, it’s getting popularity at a quick rate. The most significant advantage of adopting this culture is a reliable code, faster releases of features. Additionally, less work is done on each development cycle due to automation.
Here is wherever lots of people tumble. A quality code is not based only on your team’s writing skills, it also involves loads of soft skills. Negotiating with your team to decide what are the steps you wish to make for the whole development, testing, deployment and maintenance stages are more about your managerial skills, and your team’s ability to communicate. Guide everyone to give the best they can, to collaborate and share, there is no “I” in team. Your product won’t be born in a day, it takes time, and in order to reach the goal, never compromise quality, always have that in mind.
Split the work
Typically, in an agile development method, you may divide the implementation into many checkpoints instead of one full delivery. They’re referred to as iterations. Use the roadmap you created. And guarantee a minimum viable product before beginning new parts. This reduces risk and provides you an idea of your development speed.
Test the code on every iteration. This may involve pilot users who will play with a partial part of your product. Any feedback provided is good, it will let you know if the product meets the expectations of the client. However, this kind of testing is no substitute for unit testing, meaning testing a single part of the code. Only after you accumulate enough tested code, you will be able to manage better the deployment of the product.
So now, your team is convinced the code is completed, and acceptance testers are positive the product is functioning how it ought to. The following step is to validate the assumption that your code is prepared to become a fully mature product. You will not be comfortable reviewing the team’s code yourself if you don’t have the technical ability, and that’s alright. You don’t have to. Work along with your team to create a plan for code review that works for everyone. Establish a peer code review program. Check for code integrity, does it follow the conventions you agreed on implementing? Use your schemas as an indicator; it will help you clarify; however, the code accomplishes the goals proposed. This way, the developers should feel they have control of the code.
During the code review, you can also check security and documentation. This usually involves testing the code in different ways to spot weak points wherever a hacker may gain management of the server or use it to disclose personal information. Your developer can use various tools for security code analysis.
The last stop
The code has passed the review. It’s able to be released. Is it time to celebrate? No, not quite yet. It’s still may not be ready for production. You have one more step to clear. How hard is it to deploy your code to that final place where your client is going to interact with it? The faster you can do it, the better because if the code in production doesn’t work, or a change you make crashes the system, you must be able to revert the modification, this is called a rollback plan. Your operations team ought to review the deployment and rollback documentation and allow you to understand if it’s enough. There should be only a few manual steps since each manual step introduces an opportunity for human error. Once you’ve crossed this stop, push that code into production.
You are in production!
But not out of the woods. It’s vital to circle back and review; however, the plan went once you’re done, be it a success or a failure. Did production work as you expected? Did your team accurately estimate all development issues and blockers? Review how the team performed by revisiting the implementation and testing stages. Gather feedback from the team. This will build up trust, resulting in a lot of benefits down the road. Above all, ensure you’re holding yourself and your team responsible for every action. Your team can regulate their performance consequently as they grow, and this will show in their results.
An excellent software release involves a well-understood, well-documented plan for moving code through the pipeline from idea to a final product. You don’t need intensive technical know-how for this. And in the end, you can always hire companies able to manage the technical part for you.
Make sure you have an open communication channel with your team. However, it should be understood by everybody. Also, make sure that your demand for the product is matched by the plan you traced at the beginning, in every iteration. Remember that your initial untested draft won’t be excellent. Don’t be afraid of modifications to the plan on each step, but let everyone know about it. You’ll finally have a foreseeable code development plan.
Josias De Lima
Josias De Lima is the CTO and Co-founder of Codesurf. He has been working in the IT sector for more than a decade. From development to leading and co-founding startup companies in Europe and Latin America. He has had the opportunity to work also with Silicon Valley & European startups for many years.
Codesurf is a web & mobile app development house. We help corporate & startup entrepreneurs thrive by bringing their ideas to life.
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