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Best practices for efficient software development methodology

Best practices for efficient software development methodology

Surveys show that 58% of software development professionals feel overworked and burnt out because budget cuts and resource constraints lead to increased workloads. In this scenario, a software development company must implement an efficient software development methodology. Before proceeding further, let us understand what software development methodology is and define certain best practices that enhance its effectiveness.

What is Software Development Methodology?

Most development teams adopt specific approaches to streamline the different processes of a software development life cycle or SDLC. These approaches provide predefined principles and guidelines to help structure, plan, and control the development process. Some popular software development methodologies adopted by the top custom software development companies include:

  • Agile Methodology
  • Scrum Framework
  • Waterfall Model
  • DevOps
  • Lean Development
  • Spiral Model
  • Prototype Model
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD)
  • Iterative and Incremental Development (IID)
  • Extreme Programming (XP)

Each of these methodologies have individual principles, guidelines, advantages, and disadvantages. The selection of one methodology depends on the project requirements, team size, timelines, budget, and risks involved.

Best practices adopted by a software developing company

To enhance the success of the selected software development methodology, a software developing company must apply certain best practices. Let us understand the critical ones and see hoe they optimize the software development process.

Clarity on Requirements

Create an SRSD or Software Requirements Specification Document to mitigate the need for seeking constant clarifications. Outline the client software requirements and note down the design specifications. This document should also include essential details on:

  • Software design characteristics
  • Design diagrams 
  • Project-related constraints and decisions

With all project-related details available in the SRSD, the development team can quickly seek answers to their queries without waiting for a reply from the client.  

Keeping projects open for review, creating troubleshooting documentation, software testing, etc., are other ways to gain clarity and adhere to project requirements. 

Systematic Approach to Development Process

A software development company must maintain a detailed flowchart of the different phases that make up the SDLC. Specify all project goals and actionable items and align them with the methodology adopted so clients and software development teams can set expectations. The choice of the SDLC depends on the project requirements and specifications, client demands, and involved timeframes. 

For example, choosing Agile is best for fast-paced environments. Here multiple teams work together to streamline processes by identifying issues making agile an ideal choice. Large organizations commonly use the agile software development methodology to streamline their software development methodology. On the other hand, the waterfall methodology is ideal for projects that require a logical and careful step-by-step approach. 

However, irrespective of the methodology selected, ensuring a systematic SDLC approach is essential to define the success of a software development project.

Using an Application Framework

Developing software from scratch is time and effort intensive. Choosing and implementing an application framework benefits developers by allowing them to reuse software components and tools. This simplifies the development process and frees programmers to concentrate on writing codes instead of getting involved in repetitive tasks. 

The choice of language is also essential. A software development company must select the framework and the language at the beginning of the project. Modifying them after completing a part of the project is challenging, time-consuming, and undesirable. 

Other advantages of an application framework include error mitigation, cross-platform compatibility, time efficiency, and enhanced software development quality.

Adopting the Clean Code Approach

Developers spend egregious amounts of time fixing code errors. Adopting a “clean as you code” approach will help relieve developers of this time-consuming burden. The clean-code system allows developers to identify and resolve coding issues while writing the code. Fixing bugs and errors this early prevents them from snowballing into major problems later in the SDLC. This ultimately saves time and helps developers do productive work.

A clean approach refers to a collection of software development environment best practices. Developers can write codes that are simple, easy to understand, modify and maintain. Clean, well-structured, efficient codes written in sync with established coding conventions and standards are testable, reliable, scalable, and have minimal bugs and defects. Thus adopting this approach enhances output quality and meets the client’s business requirements.

Writing Unit Tests Before Software Codes

A software application development company follows this approach to conduct continuous testing throughout the SDLC. Developers can identify and resolve bugs by continuously testing codes for bugs and errors as they are created. Pinpointing a bug by wading through a sea of codes after completing the software development process is nearly impossible.

However, to maximize the benefits of this practice, developers should have a fair idea of DevOps testing concepts. Shift-left testing helps detect errors early. Other options that can also be explored for early bug detection and elimination include regular automatic testing and exploring TaaS or Testing-as-a-Service.

Implementing Continuous Integration 

A software development best practices checklist is incomplete without discussing Continuous Integration or CI. This standard software development practice aggregates changes from different developers and stores them in a shared repository. The combined codes are then tested to check for compatibility and to ensure they integrate seamlessly. Adopting CI helps reduce bugs and errors and improves the quality of the written code.

Use a Code Signing Certificate 

A software development company can use a code signing certificate to sign the software and establish its identity as the software creator. This is also an essential requirement of software development coding standards. Further, it also ensures the integrity of the software by preventing unauthorized use, thereby enabling software development companies to protect their intellectual properties. 

Maintaining Separate Staging and Production Environments

This is extremely crucial for the success of a software development project. A production environment is a real-time setting. Here the latest software versions and updates are deployed live for usable operations by real-time users. 

A staging environment is a clone of the production environment. It allows developers to test software components, builds, and changes/updates within a controlled environment. Developers ensure software quality by testing it here before it goes into production and gets deployed on the live site. Hence software debugging, application of security patches, disaster recovery, and performance testing can be done without impacting the users. A staging environment also allows developers to simulate real-world traffic for automated and manual testing. 

Deploying the software in the production environment after ensuring its seamless operations in staging enhances its chances of success. Hence, maintaining a separate staging and production environment is essential for an efficient software development methodology.

Adhering to Software Development Standards

Software development standards have been predefined to ensure software quality, adherence to project needs, and evolving technologies. Developing software in compliance with the software development standards ensure that it meets project requirements, changing technologies, CI, and team strengths. The software can be delivered on time and under the estimated budget. Adapting to team strengths enhances team efficiency and effectiveness. Adopting changing technologies keeps the software relevant and up-to-date. Finally, regular updation and evaluation ensure the delivery of high-quality software. This makes it lucrative for an agile software development company to adhere to software development standards.

Implementation of Best Practices Leads to Success

Software development is ever-evolving. Implementing the best practices of software development methodology will help developers improve productivity through collaboration and communication. Software developed using these best practices ensure its quality, reliability, integrity, and security. These practices also help a software development company meet project deadlines and reduce costs and errors significantly.

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