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Five Ways to Improve the Software Development Process

Software development is a continuously evolving process. You cannot perform today’s work to achieve tomorrow’s result with the process of yesterday. Building quality software in a repeatable and predictable fashion is hard.

In order to deliver the software product within a given time and budget, companies should follow certain processes, tools and project management practices. Successfully releasing software into production is much more a question of robust process architecture than design or code alone.

The more efficient a team or process is, the shorter their time-to-market. Additionally, if product quality goals are met, then customers are happier and market share should increase.

Below are the 5 proven ways used by top development companies to get the best of the software development process.

1. Developing Iterations

So far the software development process is close to what is described below:

  • Establishing the requirement as to what the software should achieve once it is ready.
  • What follows next is the software development by writing the code.
  • Eventually, you test the code and deploy the software and the job is done.

Now, go back and take a good look at the process. Ordinarily, by the time you finish developing the product, you need to rethink whether it is competent enough, given today’s market environment!

This very reason is good enough for you to adopt an agile or iterative development methodology.

It is not necessary for you to implement the Scrum framework at the very beginning, it may or may not work for you. At the same time, you should refrain from adding unnecessary features and devoid it from market expectations.

It is better to execute development in weekly phases, which helps to prioritize the work in order of importance and deadlines. This helps to provide feedback based on analysis, tackling changes then becomes easy.

2. Code Quality Management

This is one of the most pertinent propositions- how do you manage the quality of the codes?

Whether by employing manual or automated testing methods, either way, it is going to cause cost escalation. On the other hand, you don’t want to send bug-ridden software and lose the trust of the customer which will have even a higher price.

Experience suggests testing should be executed simultaneously to the core development process. The code written by one developer should be cross-checked by another. You should also have a system of unit testing at the place.

3. Creation of workflow is a must

It is quite obvious to point this out as a suggestion to improve the software development process. Many teams lose out on this important factor in creating the basic workflow.

Typical software development is usually divided into phases such as planning, doing, reviewing, and deployment. You may want to get the codes reviewed for a certain process that you feel is complex. Instead of doing it in isolation for one such process – you should make it mandatory.

This will make life easier even for the team members as no one will be forced to do it. Now, how to make sure if the workflow will be suitable. It will help to point out the inefficiencies and bottlenecks if there is any! In such a case, you should trace the inefficiency and bottlenecks.

At least the workflow will help to trace piled up activity, dead tasks (i.e. tasks that were killed before completion).

Workflow creation may not be right the first time, in either case, it will give you enough insights that will help you to streamline the workflow. Only a transparent process can help to detect and deal with anomalies.

4. Work In Progress (WIP)

Multitasking can work both in your favor and against. It is no brainer that if you pile up tasks on individual developers it is bound to affect the overall productivity of the team.

But at the same time, multitasking is also a necessary evil. You cannot eliminate it. If properly managed, it can be productive as well.

Reducing cycle times by having lesser tasks in progress is also another way. You should also consider setting WIP limits to your workflow. This can be done by using the Kanban method wherein you can monitor and manage the work in progress limits. Like you can fix tasks and responsibilities for each developer.

Lesser the pile-up, lesser is the hassle and happier the worker. This thumb rule will improve the quality of the work.  Often due to the sheer size of a task, it is better to break it down.

5. Tools to speed the process and enhance productivity

The following tools are free and are a must use in order to make a substantial improvement in productivity:

(i) JIRA

Originally designed to track bug and related issues, Jira has evolved into a powerful dashboard to now track and manage performances in a range of services from requirements and test case management to agile software development.

In terms of the software development process, Jira is extensively used to generate productivity reports and charts.

(ii) Jenkins

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) has been a challenge for decades when it comes to the division of labor in the process of software development.

Jenkins can be used as a self-hosted option that can help in automating the build cycle of any project. The biggest advantage is that it has lots of community support. The best part is its totally open source.

(iii) IntelliJ Idea

We recommend IntelliJ Idea that helps in code analysis, establishing connections between symbols across all project files and languages. By using this information, it provides in-depth coding assistance, quick navigation and of course refactoring.

(iv) Selenium

Best suited for automation testing for web applications across different browsers and platforms. The primary function of Selenium is automating web applications for functional testing. However, its limitations further extend for automating web-based administration tasks that are repetitive and exhaustive.

(v) AWS Cloud 9

Imagine, writing, running and debugging the code with just a browser! Being a cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE) the locational constraint is eliminated right away. As it comes pre-packaged with more than 40 programming languages, including Node.js, JavaScript, Python, PHP, Ruby, Go, and C++, you can start on your coding without the need to install or configure files, SDKs, and plug-ins for your development machine.

Conclusion:

There is nothing wrong in admitting that though the industry of software development has come a long way ahead somewhere the processes of execution have been stagnant and hence it has become counterproductive.

The points enumerated above are some optimum process improvement steps that are easy to implement and are bound to yield fruitful results.

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Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform, one of the top software development companies. He leads large scale mobility programs covering platforms, solutions, governance, standardization, and best practices.

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