As custom software development companies in the UK continue to offer their clients a nearshore option of building and deploying software, much potential still lies in improving the processes that make the same possible. With competition skyrocketing in an over-saturated marketplace, businesses need to remain relevant in the eyes of their consumers – else risk losing out to the very same competition.
Software companies in the UK can therefore be a boon for businesses operating in and around the region, as in-person meetings are made possible in addition to virtual collaboration whenever required – especially in the wake of rapid scaling and innovation. At EFutures, we understand the benefits of this, since custom software development in the UK can also be better attuned to the needs of businesses operating within the region (as opposed to one that’s based halfway around the world).
While UK software development companies like us continue to focus on quality software development for our clients based on their unique business needs, getting a refresher on the basics is always a good idea so everyone’s always informed. Here, we discuss the different stages of software development, but also how alternative methodologies have evolved (whether it’s in the interest of improving the punctuality and quality of deliverables, or for addressing the limitations posed by the different stages of software development).
Although software development is a highly dynamic field with no two processes following an identical trajectory, the below stages of software development are by far the most basic, and relevant to any project at hand. These stages can be extended or tweaked depending on a business’s unique requirements, so they aren’t final by any means, and therefore very much open to flexibility.
Gathering information for software development is always the very first stage in the process, as it enables business teams to identify the problems that exist in the current system, prioritise which ones need to be addressed first, and ensure all decisions are made in alignment with key business objectives. As is the case for building (or purchasing) software, a business assessment can be carried out with relevant team members, including those who will be subject to using the system on a daily basis.
In order to get the discussion rolling, business leaders can ask questions such as:
As discussions are ongoing, noting and collating all feedback into a brief can then serve as a primary point of reference for both your business and development team, for all successive stages of software development.
Based on the business assessment built during the information gathering and analysis phase, discussing design requirements is the next step with your software development team. However, certain fundamental things need to be determined prior, such as whether you require a proprietary software, web app or mobile app (or all of them). Based on these specifications, a UI/UX designer will develop wireframes representing a low-fidelity mockup of how the UI will look like. Upon feedback and successive iterations, this mockup will ideally then take its place in a UI/UX design app where users can interact with the system and offer further recommendations, before it is finalised for development.
During the software development stage, the programming team gets to work by building the code necessary to produce a functioning system. At this stage, bite-sized versions of the main application may be shared with the team to receive feedback, so that any suggestions can be incorporated into the code at an early stage. For projects of a particularly complex nature, building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is always a wise option, as it will only consist of the necessary features during its very first release; more features can be added later with customer and employee feedback, while otherwise rudimentary existing features can be upgraded with greater functionalities.
Although testing and QA typically follows after development in the stages of software development, it is common for development and QA to progress concurrently. In cases where sections of an entire app are being demonstrated to business teams, your software development team needs to ensure that the version in question (albeit still being a work in progress) needs to be free from bugs. Once the application is fully coded, it passes over to a team of QA specialists who inspect it for bugs and loopholes, before providing their approval for going live.
Once the application is fully developed and approved by QA, it is ready to be deployed for use. At this stage, the IT operations team is responsible for publishing the application live, whether it is internally within an organisation, or over the web for customers to engage with. The deployment of an MVP will involve more participation from the IT team in the future, especially since user feedback will generate frequent changes to the application, and as a result – equally frequent deployments of updated versions.
While the conventional stages of software development have been the base for all forms of developing software irrespective of the size, niche or complexity of the project at hand, it isn’t free from limitations. As a result, improved methodologies now exist to address these limitations, so software development teams aren’t constrained. Among the many alternative methodologies that exist, DevOps and DevSecOps are two out of many that are frequently adopted by software development teams, so they can work efficiently – even in the tightest of deadlines.
The DevOps lifecycle combines software development and IT operations for the purpose of building iterative applications as part of an ongoing process. An amalgamation of the words ‘development’ and ‘operations’, DevOps features a continuous suite of processes that ensure any requirement which enters the pipeline during the planning phase can be scaled easily and quickly, for implementation.
DevOps has become a popular way to build iterative applications by numerous software development teams and businesses alike, since silos between development and operations teams are completely eliminated. This way, deployments of new and upgraded features happen faster and via increased collaboration, so no valuable piece of information is missed in due course of building and releasing an update.
DevSecOps infuses security practices and protocols early on during the software development process, for the purpose of building software that has strong perimeters, and isn’t prone to compromise. With cyber attacks frequent and severe, nobody is immune. Likewise, software development teams need to ensure that their software is robust, and can keep adversaries away.
A notch above DevOps, DevSecOps ensures that your software is bolstered with quality cyber protection from the beginning. Whether it’s monitoring preliminary designs for security flaws, or conducting code-level analyses to detect any loopholes, DevSecOps can enable highly secure software applications early on, and from a foundational level – unlike a conventional software development lifecycle that may only add security patches well after release.
The different stages of software development always come together to systematise the building and upgrading of modern software applications, be they websites, mobile apps, SaaS or anything in between. Starting with the initial analysis of requirements, teams proceed to design and develop software, before finally implementing it for customers, employees or relevant stakeholders. However, software development is seldom a linear process, and these stages of software development are subject to changes, depending on objectives, budgets, timelines or any other circumstances that may prevail in the case of the client at hand.
For this reason, software development teams need to be able to scale – and fast. Thanks to cloud support services, this is possible owing to virtualized resources now available for use on an on-demand basis. With aggressive competition across today’s business landscape, software product owners are keen to have a software development team that is in lockstep for the purpose of innovating quickly yet strategically, so they can stay nimble in front of evolving customer demands.
DevOps goes beyond the conventional stages of software development to offer a flexible system of planning, building and releasing updates to an application. By integrating development and operations teams, greater transparency is achieved, so no information falls through the proverbial cracks and releases are expedited with minimal downtime. DevSecOps, on the other hand, functions just like its DevOps counterpart, but helps build strong software applications by infusing security practices and protocols early on during the development process.
Irrespective of what your software requirements are, the different stages of software development shall always apply to you – albeit with changes, to suit your unique objectives. Determining the ideal software development lifecycle for your needs is something that is best done upon close coordination with your software development team, so you are able to work according to a methodology that can help you tackle challenges both in the present and future.