Best practices for custom software development
If you see the market 20 years back, it was a different scenario for custom software development than it is now.
Companies often rely on software for various reasons, such as managing work operations to increase sales and revenue.
But the question is, does every company need software?
The answer is certainly not because different companies hold different requirements. And, a single software cannot cater to the requirements of different companies.
Often, companies depend on internal systems to manage their business. The greater complexity of the system requires integration and features in the solution.
When managers lookout for the solutions a company needs, the most significant doubt is – whether they should buy a ready-made system or invest in custom software.
The ready-made systems or Commercial off-the-shelf software hold advantages such as reducing deployment time and lower cost in the short run. On the other hand, investing in custom software adds a series of benefits in the longer run.
Custom software development plays a significant role in the company where it can create custom solutions to cater to their specific requirements. Thus, they can opt-in for custom software to get the best solution for their needs.
According to Gartner, there is a $70 billion market for custom software development services growing about 5% per year. Some are even able to increase by 20% per year. Further, the report states that some can grow fastest by understanding buyers’ needs and solving problems by using custom-made software.
This article will discuss the best practices for custom software development in detail. But before we go into details, let us explain –
What is custom software development?
Custom software development is the process of designing, deploying, and maintaining software for specific requirements either by individuals or organizations.
Custom software focuses on specific requirements with a narrow approach to its design and functionality. Unlike ready-made software, they meet a wide range of requirements. Moreover, custom software is more expensive than ready-made software or commercial-off-the-shelf software.
Best practices for custom software development
1. Understanding the process and future needs
Companies often outsource when there is a lack of skilled resources and an inability to understand the needs.
But if using custom software will impact your company, start evaluating your process from the most basic foundation level. By understanding the processes, you will understand the requirement of custom software and improve your company better.
The measure of success and expectations of your current process are most important if you plan to go ahead with custom software. You need to consult with experts about the current processes as it reflects on the overall management process.
Discuss your processes, workflows, and desired state with the expert.
2. Select the best custom software development company
Software development is a critical process, and not every software development company will match your needs.
So, you need to check with your internal IT team, different software development companies, and vendors.
Start the filtration process of figuring out the best custom software development companies through – domain expertise, location, company size and history, IP policy, security, and references.
3. Needs and budget
The most important thing for consideration is to find a custom software development company that fits your needs and budget.
Though budget is crucial, picking the right pricing model is also essential. You need to ensure that your company’s needs are met within an estimated budget.
The below factors could impact the development costs –
1. Number of working hours to develop a solution for your specific needs
- Features and functionalities
- UI/UX and Product Design
2. Hourly rate, which can vary upon
- Requirement of different kinds of developers or skills for specific needs.
- Location of the development partner.
3. Third-party APIs cost monthly or annually, like web and domain hosting, SSL, and cloud services charges.
4. There could be a buffer of 20-30% of the total cost for unpredictable circumstances.
The pricing model is of 2 types, and the explanation is below –
1. Time & material pricing model
This pricing model suits flexible projects that don’t have any defined scope.
The cost of this pricing model may change throughout the process. You can control the expenses of this whole model by involving in the process. Moreover, you have to pay the developer for the number of hours and the cost of technologies.
2. Fixed pricing model
In this pricing model, you need to determine the project’s timeline before it starts and calculate the final cost.
Here, the cost won’t change during the process. You have to pay the fixed cost to your development partner. You can prefer any of the pricing models from the above for your business.
4. Select the appropriate technology
Your primary goal is to understand why you need custom software and its benefits.
Your needs for your company can be –
- Advancing your processes
- Automating the flow to accelerate the productivity
- Making a seamless customer journey
Once you identify the need, it will become easy for your company to approach experts and select the specific technology as per company needs.
Utilizing the appropriate technologies for development goes in the longer run. Further, the development includes – frameworks, libraries, programming languages, and different development tools to build and run your product.
Thus, defining them in advance is crucial to selecting the right experts.
5. Set realistic milestones
You need to assemble a team to lead the overall initiative.
The team further includes project managers, developers, and subject-matter experts. Realistic milestones should be set to track your project. Further, you need to review each milestone at each stage and decide whether there is a requirement for changes or not.
6. Perform detailed testing and security
Discover problems while testing your software applications even before your clients and end-users do.
There should be a minor error in your custom software once launched. Achievement of all this can only be done through regular testing and quality assurance of your custom software.
Testing applications is crucial and needs to be tested by experts consistently.
Your software application should be unique, and hence, testing is done to accomplish it with a qualitative benchmark. If you ignore the testing of software applications, it could damage your brand image and customer base in the longer run.
Testing is a vital aspect at the initial stages of development which further includes –
- Avoid any errors/failures
- Plenty of time is required for corrections.
- Track of bugs either evolved or resolved.
To ensure all data and information are safe during the testing process, test every logic and element and review the security certificate and encryption.
Further, testing occurs on two levels –
- Developers and IT professionals focus on technical testing to decide whether the essential elements are fully functional.
- The company beta users perform the second testing level or user testing to check if the software works appropriately or not.
7. Document the entire process
The primary role is documentation during the development and implementation phases.
Documenting allows you certain benefits –
- Define your assets and value
- It helps you to deal with any staff changes in the future
The most vital document includes –
- Test reports and plans
- Project plans
- Specific requirements
- Status reports
- User documentation
- Low-level and high-level designs (LLD and HLD.)
Further, a project plan includes who is responsible for performing each task and set dates and expectations.
User documentation ensures that involved user parties are not left with frustrations or questions even after launching a software application.
As more companies opt for digital transformations, custom software is becoming popular. And because they are opting for digital transformations, those businesses are getting cutting-edge solutions based on their specific needs.
In the upcoming years, more businesses will opt for custom software development. Custom software will become the backbone of the progression of any business. Thus, any business will get responsive, robust, and high-performing services from the best custom software development company.