5 Simple Steps for Building Software

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Don’t get me wrong…building software is hard work. Especially good software that customers are willing to pay for. It takes a lot of outstanding people to pull a successful software project together. But the app development process can be pretty straightforward. Simple, even.

Follow that process faithfully, and you’ll have a roadmap for creating successful software.

In this article, I’ll share with you five simple steps for building software. Most of these processes have been covered separately in our blog and presentations, so I’ll tie it all together here.

1. Know What You Want

First, you need a clear vision of your software’s objectives. What does it need to accomplish and why? How will it impact the company? Why is it important?

These questions are the most important ones you’ll face in any mobile app development. For a more detailed list, see 14 Things to Consider Before Building a Mobile App.

2. Find Your Software Development Team

Choosing the right people to build your software is half the battle (giving them the tools, resources and support they need to succeed is the other half).

If you’re planning to create software in-house, here are 14 Skills Your App Development Team Must Have. Already have a team, but not sure how they stack up to the challenge? Contact us for a free 90-minute consultation.

On the other hand, you can reap huge benefits from hiring a professional app development company instead. We discuss the merits of that decision – and when it makes sense to do so – in The New “Outsourcing” of App Development.

Should you decide to go that route, be sure to consider these questions before conducting your interviews.

3. Nail Down Your App Development Process

Building software is far simpler when you have strong processes in place. In fact, adopting the right tools and methodologies is one of the best ways you can support your team.

In What’s Involved in Building Software we discussed several methods you’ll want to use in your app development process. These should include:

  • A flexible, collaborative project management process like Scrum
  • A way to define tasks and prioritize them like user stories and the product backlog
  • A process for handling change requests and managing source code
  • A means for monitoring progress and reporting it to business stakeholders
  • A “test-as-you-go” method of quality control

These are a few of the major app development processes you’ll want to have in place before starting to build your software. A good framework should provide direction for just about any situation your team encounters.

At Ascendle, we use Scrum at the core of our app development process. Driving Business Results with Scrum explains why we use it – and how Scrum enables better, more productive teams.

4. Publishing Your Software

When is your software ready to publish? That’s where your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) comes into play. In What to Expect When You Release Version 1.0, we explain the importance of the MVP and how it’s just the beginning, rather than the end, of the app development process.

The type of software you’re building comes into play here as well. Is it a mobile app or web app? Is it iOS, Android, or cross-platform?

If you’re building a native mobile app, you’ll need to certify it through the iTunes and/or Play Store review process before your customers can find it. You’ll also need to determine who your potential customers will be at each stage of your product, and how to market (i.e. make them aware of) it.

5. Rinse and Repeat

No, I’m not talking about a whole new project. I’m talking about the next version of your software. Mobile app development is a highly iterative process. Each successive production sprint builds on – and learns from – the past.

That’s one of the reasons we believe so strongly in Scrum. With Scrum, you reassess your priorities after every two to four weeks of development. That means you can act on customer feedback, address change requests, and adapt to new business strategies and competitive factors with amazing speed.

This gives you a level of flexibility that used to be unheard of in software.

Building the Right Software

All these processes not only keep your software development team on track and productive, but also help them build the right software. And by that I mean software that customers want and are willing to pay for. This is an important distinction, because with the app development process I’ve laid out, you’ll be taking your cues from real customers and data rather than the expectations of your management team.

In fact, once your MVP is published, it’s quite possible to simply follow the requests of your customers and build exactly what they want. This won’t always be the case, of course, because your business will sometimes dictate its own strategic needs. But if you follow these five simple steps for building software, you’ll be much more likely to provide software the market wants – and the results your business needs.

Contact us if you have further questions!

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