Find out 6 techniques to improve the software development process that will help your company get great results and boost your team’s management.
Software development has been growing fast in recent years. Even during the difficult times the world is currently living in, software continues its growth to achieve digital transformations and innovations that the industry is aiming for.
Yesterday’s software can’t be used to accomplish future goals. This process is complicated and full of unexpected challenges. To attain excellence in the quality of software development, there are certain ways and processes. This is so important, and to give one example, it is estimated that poor software quality costs organizations across all U.S. sectors $2.08 trillion in 2020, according to the Consortium for Information & Software Quality (CISQ) report.
So what are we missing when it comes to improving our projects? With this in mind, we want to reveal some essential techniques to improve software development that will help companies boost their team’s management, create effective strategies and processes, and get the results they expect.
Common problems during the development process
For better implementation of techniques to improve the software development process, we should be well aware of the problems first. Many of them might seem obvious; however, the obvious things are usually forgotten. Bear in mind the following issues we have identified as obstacles when aiming for great software development results:
Ignoring the customer’s needs
Requirement gathering is one of the phases within a software development project and refers to the practice of defining software requirements, where analysts and engineers communicate with the client and end-users to know their ideas on what the software should provide and which features they want the software to include. Since this early phase encompasses various parties, the requirement document can go off track.
One way to avoid this issue is by involving the end-user throughout the development process. The Scrum model can help you with that because it involves all stakeholders’ participation to guarantee meeting the expectations.
Sudden changes asked by the stakeholder
Sometimes, there is a request to add a specific feature to the software product, resulting in more complex processes and changes in the estimations, deliverables, and budget. Try to identify all stakeholders’ requirements in the early stage so the team can consider all the variables that might appear along the way. Be prepared to adjust to late requests.
Lack of time to test
Testing plays a key role in high-quality software development and can help detect security issues in advance. It improves the quality of software by highlighting the issues so that developers can remove them. Moreover, it also adds security to the software. However, testing requires time and other resources so it can be put aside due to a lack of resources.
During the development of the software, give proper time to the team for testing.
Don’t miss this reading: Software testing best practices and tools to avoid bad testing
6 techniques to improve software development
Now that we have listed some of the obstacles that might show up during the development process, look at some techniques that we think will make a difference in your daily work.
1. Choose the proper SDLC model
This is the first step to take. Choosing the right software development methodology for the project will highly improve the process and the results. Whether you decide to use Waterfall, Kanban, Scrum, or Lean, the best decision will rely on how well-defined the goals, scope, budget, capacity, and functional and non-functional requirements are.
Not having the proper model means you will drive the car blindly, with no purpose or direction.
2. Optimize your workflow
Creating the workflow is essential to improve the software development process. Many teams ignore this important task, arguing they already know the processes. However, having a well-defined workflow will assist in pointing out any flaws and inefficiencies, if there are any! Furthermore, it will aid you in tracing the “dead” tasks (those that were killed before reaching their completion). Workflow creation will help you to streamline the process by giving insights from data.
Sometimes developers might follow a previously established workflow. However, how can you know that this will work efficiently?
Consider these questions to identify faults in your current workflow:
- Does this workflow contain sluggish phases?
- Do the tasks accumulate for one or more developers?
- Are there tasks that need to be reviewed again when they were actually noted as completed?
- Do you notice any tasks that are dead before they’re finished?
Although having the proper workflow seems obvious, some teams prefer to skip it. Keep in mind that it is more than labeling a task as “done” (or not); it is about labeling things according to the development stage they are at (backlog, planning, doing, review, deploy). No matter what, make a clear workflow so the team is always aware of the entire process.
3. Have a clear Definition of Done (DoD)
Define what the “done” is for the tasks that are truly completed to their quality and performance. Ensure the entire team is aware of this Definition of Done (DoD) so everyone is aligned and following the same objectives and there is a common understanding about the set of items that must be completed before a project or user story can be considered complete.
4. Implement code reviews and testing
If the code of your software lacks quality and has bugs in it, it will undoubtedly result in a drop in customer trust. To overcome these problems, there are two ways to tackle them. First, make sure the development team runs a code review of every (at least the most important) code they write. Code reviews are a technique that can transform the way development teams work intrinsically to improve quality and promote culture and communication.
You may want to get the codes reviewed for certain processes that you feel are complex, so rather than doing it optionally, you should make it mandatory.
Second, the testing stage is another — a big one — path to follow. Although teams can put into practice the code review technique, testing is essential when it comes to quality. It is the best way to find failures before the release of the product. Testing enables the processes, work methods, and tools necessary to guarantee software development quality. Without in-depth testing, the overall project will undoubtedly fail.
Take a look at this reading: How to become a Code Review Master
5. Pay attention to your Technical Debt
The cost of accumulating technical debt is extremely high for both the client and the development company, which makes it necessary to manage it as a risk. One great technique to improve your software development project is to wisely manage and detect when technical debt is growing more than expected. Although it is not possible to avoid it completely, we can apply some preventive measures to reduce the occurrence or growth of debt:
- Establish standardized processes for quality management and refactoring.
- Always keep technology tools up to date.
- Promote continuous training within the team to stay informed of technology trends.
- Define responsibilities and tasks for each team to avoid rework, duplication, or feckless steps.
6. Choose the right tools to work with
You can consider these free tools to speed up the process and enhance productivity:
This assists in the analysis of code and creating connections for the files of the project. Additionally, we can find detailed help in coding, refactoring, and fast navigation.
It was developed to find bugs, but now it is used to track productivity in a wide range of tasks from Agile software development to management of test cases.
To divide the tasks among developers, CI (Continuous Integration) and CD (Continuous Delivery) have been a challenge for decades. Jenkins is open source, provides community support, and helps to automate the build cycle of any project.
Its basic task is to automate web applications for functional testing across different platforms and browsers. It can help in automating testing for web-based software development.
- AWS Cloud 9
It provides the facility to write, run, and debug the code with a browser. It has eliminated the constraint of installing a plugin on the system for the development of software.
There is no doubt that the software industry has developed enormously in recent years. However, processes can become unproductive at any moment. A reliable development process of software guarantees that the tasks have been done within the time, budget constraints, and scope of the project. By following these techniques carefully and implementing these practices to improve your projects, you will increase the chances for your team to build a fantastic piece of software smoothly and get fruitful outcomes during the development process.
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