The software development life cycle describes the general process that software developers follow as they work through a software development project. Generally split into 5-7 phases, the process moves through planning, development, and testing for a complete project life cycle. While the general principles remain the same, there are tips and tricks to improve the SDLC. Here are a few SDLC best practices to streamline your development project.
Moving Through the Phases of the SDLC: Streamlining the Process
Once you get an idea for a software project and begin to see how it could benefit your business, it will be tempting to jump into development right away. However, the time you spend in planning will direct the course — and ultimately, the success — of your development project. Take your time during these early phases and use the time you have well.
To do so, work with a development company that is truly interested in learning the ins and outs of your business. If they understand how you operate, your development team will be better positioned to understand your pain points and the problems that can be solved with your custom software solution.
Additionally, your developers can speak to how new technology will make your business processes more efficient and productive. Think through the features you would like to include in your software. While you may choose to opt for a phased development approach, determine which features are most necessary for your project. Understanding your integration needs will also help to guide the development planning process. By prioritizing the discovery phase of your project, you will set yourself on the path toward success.
Setting Your Development Budget and Defining ROI
Though it’s part of the planning process, effectively managing the finances of your development project is a SDLC best practice that deserves some discussion. While a software project represents an up-front investment, it’s important to understand that when developed correctly, a software platform is an investment that will return dividends for years to come. Setting your development budget and defining a target ROI is important because it will challenge you to focus on a measurable goal. This is a big selling point that can improve buy-in within your company, whether you are speaking to key stakeholders or other business leaders.
If you can’t define a target ROI, pause your development plans and consider how you will tangibly measure the success of your project. At 7T, our goal is to deliver software solutions that provide clients with a 3x to 5x ROI in a 12- to 18-month timeframe.
Improve the Software Development Process by Sticking to Your Requirements
After the requirements document is outlined and a Statement of Work (SOW) is issued, development schedule adjustments become more challenging. Any additional work you add to the project scope could halt the development process until updates are made and a new work agreement is drawn up. Change requests can also prove to be costly, so sticking to your requirements is a key SDLC best practice. This underscores the importance of taking the time to perform an in-depth analysis and discovery process. The process of developing a comprehensive requirements document can prove to be a valuable exercise in and of itself, as you’ll be prompted to thoroughly consider key points that will guide your development project.
Whenever possible, avoid springing a design change or a new feature requirement as you approach development deadlines. However, if there is truly a need to change the requirements, your development team will work with you to adjust the project scope and schedule — perhaps planning additional work for a separate development phase or a post-launch continuation of the project. It is not extremely uncommon to have something crop up that alters the development timeline. However, if you follow the SDLC best practices of planning ahead and sticking to your requirements, you will be well on your way to streamlining the development process.
SDLC Best Practices: Take Advantage of User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
If your development company offers to involve you in the testing process, jump on this opportunity! In the end, your business or your customers will be the end user. Though the developers will test as part of the SDLC, you know how you want the software to look and function — this makes your input quite valuable. Don’t wait until you have a finished product to take a look at the features they have developed and understand how they work.
The development company you work with will be testing for bugs and making sure that the code is working effectively. Your business may be involved in User Acceptance Testing (UAT) where testers act as the end users — those who will be using the final product. UAT helps to determine whether the software solution meets the requirements you established in the beginning phases of the software development life cycle.
Additionally, take advantage of meetings where you can offer feedback. Preparing well for any meeting you have with your development company will help improve the software development process.
Work with 7T, a Trusted Development Company
At 7T, we like to solve challenging business problems with custom software solutions that meet the needs of your business. Whether you need a custom CRM or ERP solution, a bespoke mobile application or the power of cloud computing, our team is ready to help. With custom software, your business can integrate your systems, streamline processes and eliminate inefficiencies to reduce costs and drive greater revenue.