You have a new idea for an application but don't know where to begin?
Updated: Aug 10
Here are the 7 stages of software development you ought to know about:
1. Preparing a requirements document
A Requirements Document is a document that contains all the requirements you may have from the system – whether functional (for example a screen that enables the user to register) or of performance (for example the list of orders will be displayed for the user within X seconds). Before the planning process begins, it is important to understand what your requirements from the system as a client are. Understanding these requirements will enable us to make sure throughout the project's stages that it does indeed meet the requirements defined.
2. Detailing Specifications
The Specifications Document consists of your entire system specifications. This document is based on the Requirements Documents and contains all the system's components together with functionality specifications. This is a critical stage within the system, and it is best to be assisted by a suitable professional for the purpose of writing these specifications.
The specifications should contain all of the system's components. It is important to make sure that each screen allows the user to complete a logical sequence within the process.
UX - Designing the user experience – this stage will determine the convenience and ease of use of the system, and will impact users' level of satisfaction from the system. At this point, it is important to understand who the users of each section of the system are, what their needs are and to consider an interface that will enable them to have a positive and pleasant use of the system.
UI - Designing the graphic interface of the product - such as colors, graphics, images etc. When designing, it is best to coordinate the colors and style to the message we would like to convey to system users.
4. Architecture and choosing Technology
In order to build a properly suited architecture for the system, many factors should be taken into account. For example: What information shall be saved and where, what is the required level of security, how many users will be using the system simultaneously, what is the geographical distribution of users, and what queries should be performed on the information required. In the event that special components are needed in the systems, additional relevant information will be required. The vast variety of technological platforms constitutes a complex challenge when we come to choose suitable technologies for the project. In many cases the transition from one technology to the next, after the project is already up and running, will prove to be costly, and may even cause a shut-down of the system for a certain period of time. The architectural design product of the system will be a Recommendations Document that will present the recommended distribution of servers, storage units, network design and operation systems and databases.
The big moment had arrived – all the design, UX and architecture phases are completed and we can begin writing the code which will realize your idea. There are 2 major models we can work with: Hiring a development team – In this model, you will employ one developer or more, who will build the product for you according to specifications. In most cases there's also a need for a team leader to manage the programmers' team as well as a project manager. A Development Company – In this model, you will be assisted by a company that will be responsible for developing your product up to the delivery of a working product. The company will be in charge of managing the project and the team, code quality control and meeting the timetables and budget. In this model, you will also be able to include the option of testing and system distribution by the development company.
The system is ready to be delivered. This is truly an exciting part of the project. It is now time to begin testing the scenarios in the system from the user's point of view. At this stage you will want to examine several major issues: gaps between specifications and execution – should there be any, and if so, were they documented and coordinated with you.
Failures at specifications phase – were there any improperly characterized processes?
Failure at user interface phase – Is the system actually simple and convenient as you thought? Is it possible to complete the designed processes in an optimal, convenient and logical manner?
It is best to execute this phase as close as possible to the completion of the system development stage. Make sure that the development team is at your service until the completion of this stage.
Every system requires maintenance. Even if the system was delivered in working order after undergoing acceptance tests, there may be some undetected errors as a result of unforeseen implementations. Maintenance includes: Fixing code errors (bugs), installing updates in the operating system and preventing system breaches.
It is important to set maximum time duration for beginning problem fixing according to the severity of the fault. If you are working with internal staff, it is best to include the times of treating the system into their position capacity.
In conclusion, software development is a challenging and complex project. Planning and thinking ahead will enable you to receive a reliable, convenient and functional software product, which will serve you for many years to come. We hope we have succeeded in helping you understand the various stages you will go through along the way.
Should you have any questions, we will be more than happy to consult and assist you with any of these stages.