Whether you’re looking to build applications for downloading or as a service, the result of any endeavour in building out software is that it is going to be customer-centric and financially successful. Often, the language and process of software product development can be intimidating or may need some homework being done to understand. This results in many businesses shying away from pulling the trigger on building a product that would dramatically improve the revenue streams.
If there is one takeaway from software product development it is that in a progressively digital world, not having the correct products for your customers is at best preventing your business from scaling and at worst, opening up space for the competition to quickly fill in, with potentially catastrophic consequences to your company.
What is the Aim of a Software Product?
Software products are traditionally seen as solutions to two problems. One is an internal product with solutions in communication, improving processes, profitability and organization, and the other as a customer-facing product or service sold externally to a client base in order to help with funnelling sales and a frictionless buying landscape that results in company profits.
No matter which of the two problems your company is aiming to solve, it’s important that it be created from the ground up with the users it’s intended for in mind. A good company partnering with you on the software building will help and guide you and your team along the process, explain each step, and ensure every question or worry you have is answered and dealt with.
How do I build a Software Product?
To understand how you begin building a software product, it’s always good to start with preliminary research into what companies you think could potentially be a good fit for the software you’re planning to have developed. Ideally, each company you approach will dedicate time to work with you directly on a strategy plan, meet and discuss needs, and offer suggestions, realistic advice, and manage timeline and quota expectations. Be wary of companies that promise to do everything in minimal time for minimum pay, as a poorly created product may cost your company not just the finances gone into the production, but also customer trust and reputation.
So what is the software development process?
Product Development Process
- The planning process begins with capturing the business needs & goals of your unique idea. Understanding software requirements is key to alignment. This allows the dev team to begin constructing a roadmap for the completion and timelines leading up to the completion of your software.
- A Roadmap is the aforementioned high-level, strategic plan that the development team will work with you on creating. This is the part of the process where major steps, deliverables or milestones you want to see are laid out and discussed. Creating a roadmap will aid in communication, expectations, and will let you place a value on how the project is progressing, the main points that need to be completed first, and so on. It is the roadblock to your success with the development team and the document you can go back to for direction and further work.
- A roadmap will also help you hone in on the key deliverables, so you can get the product off the ground before everything is ready. Not all features may be needed to start releasing the product to the public, often, a preemptive release in beta can determine public perception, response, or even help guide further development. This will guide the planning of future development sprints and help the team focus on the features with the highest business value.
- There are a few different approaches to the product development process:
- Building in-house: having a development team working in your company is of course the easiest option. This allows for a close understanding of the brand, and easier communication, but in-house development teams tend to be small, and that means a project may take a significantly longer amount of time to launch.
- Bringing in a team to build in-house: If you have the resources like a dedicated HR team, you may choose to hire developers to create a permanent or semi-permanent in-house team. This may help with the number of developers you hire, but the training time for each individual and the chances of hiring the correct individuals make this a rarely used option for most companies.
- Hiring an offshore team: Many companies look to offshore development as a way to get the professional manpower but save finances. In theory, this should be a great option, but with time differences, language barriers, and long-distance communication issues, it often ends up creating roadblocks and delays projects, resulting in more or less the same amount of money spent.
- Partnering with a custom development company: Hiring a custom development company is like hiring a tailor to take care of your suit. Every aspect of your project is examined, weighed, and discussed with you. That means that timelines, key deliverables, and expectations on both sides are managed by a team of dedicated experts you can contact at any time, ask questions whenever they arise, and pivot based on your needs and team suggestions. While upfront costs may be higher than offshore teams, the quality of work and timeframes a good development company can deliver are unparalleled and long-lasting.
Building the Software Product
- Having completed the requirements list and with a detailed plan in hand, your team of developers can get to work building out the project from the most important deliverables upwards.
- Trusting your product to a team that leverages agile development as a strategy means you’ll have updates, regular iterations, ongoing improvement and a well-designed product skeleton to begin releasing to the public.
- The idea of launching a product (sometimes called beta) before every single check on your list is completed is most often described as the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This is the version of your software that has just enough of your desired features that it can be launched to the public early. This allows the developers to see what needs work and helps avoid unforeseen mistakes and unnecessary work.
Quality Assurance Testing
Have you ever let a product off the line without testing if it has defects, faults or if something important is missing? Of course not. Quality assurance testing is the inspection version of making sure the product that was built by the developers is checked, ran, tested for holes, flaws, or even security breaches. No good development company should let you walk away with a product without running it through QA and then let you test it on your end for any missing pieces. From visuals, to copy, to flawless integration between apps, devices, screen sizes and more, a QA session ensures you avoid embarrassing mistakes or a slow product that loses you clients or makes internal processes harder. In the end, seamless integration and frictionless user experience are the golden standards of quality assurance.
I’ve released my product, now what?
Once your product is released, you may notice that over time, there are parts that could be optimized, improved, or scrapped if they prove no longer necessary. It depends on the product, company, software partners, and many internal processes. Many companies like to be in contact with the company that built their software and the two end up in long-term partnerships that keep honing and improving on the product.
Sometimes, once a project is completed, the relationship is done until another project comes up
Ideally, the partnership remains, as it makes iterations and information easier to develop and improve on, but offshore development companies or contract workers do tend to fall off and not revisit finished products. This can sometimes lead to stagnation and loss of profit, with new software being then needed, incurring extra costs.
A Buyer's Guide to Custom Software Projects
Thinking of launching a Custom Software project? It's not as simple as it seems, but it doesn't have to be complicated either. Start with our white paper, and make the right choices to lead to your Software Project's success.
Konverge are the Experts in Software Product Development
At Konverge, we believe in people first, tech second, and we like to build our relationships on trust, support and mutual respect. Our dedicated team of developers, business analysts, project managers and QA analysts have been in the business of building software for over 20 years. We know we can satisfy any market and work closely with you on a plan that helps you accomplish your business requirements and strategies.