Software Development Planning for Small & Midsize Businesses

Software Development Planning is important as it lets you have total control over the project. This article will help you understand various development models.

Posted by Shruti on 06 Sep 2020

Do you know how many IT projects fail and why? The percent revolves around 14%. There are simple reasons behind these failures, such as lack of time, testing, not having a proper software development planning, unspecified requirements, the involvement of many people, wrong estimation of budget, and much more like these.

But is failure considered to be a near certainty in business?

This can be sighted in some software projects as many of them do not work effectively. It should be kept in mind that if the software is an important part of your business, then failure is the last thing you probably get.

Every business's objective is to serve its customers and having certain strategies and skills during the development phase and software development planning is just the exact key you need for the successful accomplishment of your desired goals.

Now the main question arises, how will you choose which software development process is right for your business? If you are still figuring it out this, then your search ends here, as you will be getting every basic detail in this article regarding the software development planning.

Let’s Understand!

Every piece of software is developed or made with a plan and a clear process, which should be followed in an exact place. There are a lot of things in life which can be done with a little ease but software development planning is, absolutely, not one of them.

But, luckily you can always find the best software development company that can help you with planning according to your requirements.

Software development planning is indeed required by every enterprise, specifically for small and mid-size businesses to see a successful future. With a handy and effective software development plan and process, these enterprises can enter the league of large ones.

Small and mid-size businesses or SMB are the businesses that, due to their size, have different IT requirements and often face different IT challenges comparing with large enterprises, whose IT resources are highly reserved.

To communicate the importance of small and mid-sized businesses, below are some key SME statistics with the current scenario of small and mid-sized industries.

  • Total number of SMEs in India: Estimated to be at 42.50 million (registered and unregistered), almost 95% of the total industrial unit in the country.
  • SME and employment opportunity: 40% of India’s workforce, employs about 106 million.
  • Products: Produces more than 6000 products.
  • Output: 45% of the total Indian manufacturing output.
  • Fixed Assets: Current fixed assets at INR 1,471,912.94 crore.

What is Software Development Process/Lifecycle & Why is it Important?

Regardless of having a blueprint or not, every piece of software which is made has to go through a similar path or structure, which is from your software idea to a launching day. Altogether, the steps of this path are called the software development lifecycle or the process.

Conventionally each step is created with an output that can be in the form of an idea, document or diagram, etc. which is then used as the input for the next step until you reach your goal.


Importance of software development planning

With years of testing, development, and iteration, it helps in building new tools cheaper with more efficiency and less stress. Utilization of the directed and manageable software development planning has several benefits. They are:

  • Creating common lexis for each step.
  • Defining the communication channels and expectations between the developers and project stakeholders.
  • Setting clear roles and responsibilities for the entire team i.e. designers, project managers, etc.
  • Providing an agreed-upon definition for each step to help the project moving.
  • Guiding how to handle bugs, feature requests, updates, etc.

However, not having a software development planning in place may result in long time frames, insufficient quality, also at times categorical failure. Because without a structured plan of the process, the developers and managers will be clueless in terms of what to construct and manage with a limited budget in the future.


Stages of Software Development Life Cycle

Having fully planned and processed stages help you to perform well-focused, robust, practical, fully considered, and also able to have cost-effective outcomes. Also, it helps you to rectify your mistakes and to feed knowledge into your future. The planning cycle stages are as follows:

1. Analyzing the Situation and Planning

When a customer or stakeholder requests a project, the first step of the software development planning is analyzing the whole situation from their point of view and then starting with a plan.

Certain topics and questions can come in the light while planning such as:

  • Alignment

    How will this project connect with your company’s larger mission and goals?

  • Resource availability and allocation

    Do you have the rightful amount of people and tools you need on this project?

  • Project scheduling

    Will this project fit with your company’s goals and other tasks?

  • Cost estimation

    How much is it going to cost?

The software development planning phase gives a sense of security that you are starting with a right foot with a clear blueprint in your mind which will be beneficial in all the departments such as the impact on project managers, developers, operations, key stakeholders, security, and more.

Therefore, in the end, you should have a detailed plan ready with a high-level of information with all the analyses done in every situation.

2. Requirements

In this step, you will need to analyze and understand the technical and manpower requirements in this project.

Whether you are building a new app or redesigning a website or solving a customer problem, you need to analyze your requirements.

Some questions about some specifics are listed below:

  1. Who is going to need it?
  2. What kind of problems will it be able to solve?
  3. What kind of data input or output it will need?
  4. Will it need to be integrated with other tools?
  5. How will the security and privacy needs be handled?

Once your development team gets all the answers, they can start spanning their technical requirements, testing terms, and decide on a technology stack. One may also start sprint for software development planning in this particular step in which large tasks can be broken down into more actionable steps for better results.

3. Designing and Prototyping

In this step, you will start designing the look of your software and its functions. It will mainly depend upon the software development process which you are following.

In this particular step, you might create simple layouts to show how interactions will work in the software or will make more mature prototypes with the help of certain tools to test with your users. You can also decide to use the user feedback in record and design according to the idea and features of your users.

However, you may choose to work it, this stage will help your team and your client, uphold ideas, and get valuable feedback before you carry out your ideas to code.

4. Software Development

In this stage, you will finally decide whether you will be working in Agile sprints or will build out an MVP or will use any other traditional waterfall method. The ultimate goal here will be to avoid any spread edge and to build a clean and efficient working software which obviously makes this stage to be the hardest and the riskiest stage possible.

5. Testing

As you develop the software, the next term will ultimately come to test, track, and fix any error or bugs. Once the features are ready and complete the product will be considered ready to go and you will therefore need another round of more in-depth testing to go.

As the testing stage is a long one, it is very important to make sure that you are not releasing the buggy software in front of your real customers. It may kill the reputation of your business, make you lose your revenue, and also can take up hours of development time which could have been put towards building new features.

6. Deployment

Considering all the heavy lifting and coding, in this stage, you will launch your software to all your users. You will push your code into production with a go-to-market strategy, you will release your software in the market.

Most of the companies use automated continuous deployment models or ARA which stands for Application Release Automation tool to release their software out in front of the users.

7. Maintenance and Updates

One should always remember that Software Development is a Life Cycle, therefore the ending of one phase is the beginning of the other which can go for post-launch as well. The requirements and the needs of the customers are always developing and advancing.

As people begin to use your software, they will unquestionably find bugs and will therefore request new features and ask for different functions, and more. All these requests will therefore flow back in your product’s backlog and the task list will increase. You will thus, again need to start from the beginning with a particular roadmap and fulfill their needs to make your software a successful run.


Best Software Development Processes

Software Development Planning for Small & Midsize Businesses
Software Development Planning for Small & Midsize Businesses

Over the years, a number of software development processes have been created to handle more and more complex projects. You can pick the right one which will come down to your goals, follow the size of your project, will be easy to use for your team and you start with software development palnning for your product or services.

To help you decide below are some of the best software development processes of all time.

1. Agile Software Development

It is a theoretical framework for undertaking software engineering projects. The main goal of Agile Software is to minimize the risk by developing software in short duplications. It is basically supported that describes various methodologies and is specifically designed to satisfy the needs of the dynamic environment by an increase in the development of the actual final product.

Some of the basic principles behind the development of Agile software are:

  • Satisfies the customers through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • Welcomes the dynamic environments with quick adaptation.
  • Increases face to face means of communication

Advantages

  • Transparency is high because of direct communication.
  • Alteration to any change in the environment is very quick.

Disadvantages

  • Difficulty in assessing the effort of large software projects at the beginning of the software development life cycle.
  • Produces fewer documents because of more code-focused development.

2. Prototype Model Software

This model is considered to be one of the most popular software development life cycle models where a prototype is produced and tested as well as reworked also, if necessary. This model works successfully when there are known project requirements in detail in the mere future.

This model basically opts for 2 approaches which are:

  • Rapid throw-away prototyping

    Provides a method in which exploring the ideas and receiving the feedback of the customers are taken into consideration.

  • Evolutionary or later prototyping approach

    Develops gradually processed customer feedback until it gets accepted.

Advantages

  • Clarification leads to the accommodation of new requirements.
  • Supple or flexible designs.

Disadvantages

  • Time-consuming and expensive.
  • Variability in determining the number of duplications that would be needed before the prototype, finally accepted by the customer.

3. Rapid Application Development Process

This software development process uses minimal planning in favor of fast prototyping. It is a type of duplication model where the components are developed in parallel. There are several phases available in this model such as business modeling, application generation, testing, turnover, process modeling, and data modeling.

Advantages

  • The events of the initial review are quick.
  • Customer feedback is taken into consideration.

Disadvantages

  • Dependent on modeling skills.
  • Not applicable for cheaper projects.

4. Scrum Development Process

It is a gradual and collaborating agile software development framework for managing the development of products. The development strategy used by Scrum is very flexible because, in their structure, a development team works as a particular unit to achieve a certain goal. This method thus follows as proof based on real approaches where it mainly focuses on increasing the team’s ability for quick delivery.

Advantages

  • The working team is in charge of decision making.
  • Light controlled method with continual updating.

Disadvantages

  • Not suitable for complex and large projects.
  • Requires a highly trained and expert team.

5. Dynamic System Development Process

This is an Agile software development software that is collaborative and gradual and is mostly based on the Rapid Application Development strategy. This strategy provides a 4 phase structure that comprises the design and build iteration, prototype iteration, business study, feasibility, and implementation.

Advantages

  • Easy entry to the end-users.
  • Quick functionality outputs.

Disadvantages

  • Execution is cost-effective.
  • Hard for small organizations.

Final Thoughts

As technology is evolving at a fast pace and is driving the software companies to move forward and work at a fast pace, the software development processes are meant to be made sure that an app is therefore completely tested as a whole particular system. As with the help of these software’s, the small and midsize businesses will be able to enter into the big leagues with proper software development planning. To create such an impact in the market, each organization should very carefully choose their software which will go hand in hand with their goals.

But, always remember that it is a life cycle if you did not get it right in the first round, understand why it didn't work, and then choose a better software with a better process and start over.

- Shruti


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