Software is changing the world around us. From how we entertain ourselves to how we do business, software development has revolutionized many industries in a relatively short span of time. As a result, there are more businesses that need software developers than ever before.
There is a wealth of information out there on what it takes to implement successful software development practices, but one thing most people forget is the checklist they must follow from start to finish when developing their own software.
Developing software is a complicated process. It involves many different steps and skillsets. If you are not careful, it can be easy to forget something important. That’s why we created this software development checklist of the most critical points in the development cycle – from start to finish!
What is software development?
Software development is the process of creating new software. It starts with an idea or concept for a program, which must then be properly planned out before it can be executed and built into code that computers will understand.
There’s a lot more to software development than just programming. The SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) is the life cycle of software creation, which encompasses everything from planning to testing and maintenance.
It consists of a series of steps: Planning, Requirements Gathering, Design Implementation and Prototyping, Software Development, Testing, Deployment, Maintenance.
The entire process can take a long time, depending on the size and complexity of the software. Small programs can be completed in a few weeks, while larger and more complicated ones can take months or even years.
Software Development Checklist
Regardless of the complexity of the projects, a checklist is always a good idea to ensure nothing is missed. The following is a comprehensive software development checklist that should be followed from start to finish:
Understand your business needs
The first step in any software development project is understanding the business needs. What does the company want the software to do? What are its goals and objectives? Without a clear understanding of these, it will be difficult to create anything useful.
There should be a real business need for the software. It’s not enough to just want a new program because it’s “cool” or “trendy”. Software development can be a costly and time-consuming process, so it’s important to make sure the project is worth undertaking. The company must have a specific goal that they want the software to help them achieve.
Understand your user needs
Just like understanding business needs, it’s equally important to understand the needs of your users. What will be their role in relation to the software? How will the software be used? Will it simplify or enhance their work?
Again, it’s not enough to just make assumptions about what users want. You need to talk to them and get their feedback. This can be done through surveys, interviews, or focus groups. Understanding user needs is essential in creating software that meets their needs and expectations.
Now that you have a better understanding of your business and user needs, it’s time to start brainstorming ideas for the software. Every good software starts with a great idea. Before you can begin development, you must have an initial concept or thought on what the program should be able to accomplish.
This can be done in a number of ways – mind mapping, sketches, flowcharts. The goal is to come up with as many potential solutions as possible and then narrow them down to the best one. Don’t worry about making anything perfect at this stage – the goal is to simply get your ideas down on paper.
Filter out the bad ideas
Once you have your list of potential solutions, it’s time to filter out all the ones that won’t work. This is more difficult than it sounds and requires experience and expertise in order to properly identify which solution will accomplish business needs while also meeting user needs.
Not all ideas are good ones, and sometimes the best option is to start from scratch. It’s important to be honest with yourself and not get attached to any one idea – that can lead to bad decisions down the road.
You can rank or score the ideas to help make the decision-making process easier.
Create an outline
Now that you have the core of your software, it’s time to create an outline. The best way to do this is by creating a mind map – basically putting all of your ideas in one place and then connecting them together.
When creating this document, ask yourself what will be needed for each function or feature? What are the steps that the user will need to take in order to accomplish what they want?
For example, if you’re building a social media app, your outline may look something like this:
- Homepage – where users can view their news feed and access other features of the program. They would click “Explore” or “Notifications” for example.
- Explore – where users can view popular posts, trending hashtags and topics, and access other features of the program such as “Notifications” or “Messages.” They would click on a specific hashtag for example.
- Notifications/Inbox – This is where messages from other users will be displayed. Users may also be able to “Like” or “Reply” to messages.
- Profile – This is where users can view their own profile, change their settings, and access other features of the program such as “Messages.”
Identifying project restraints
In order to develop desired software, you need to know what’s possible. What are the project restraints – limitations that will affect the development of the software?
This can be anything from budget and time constraints to hardware limitations. It’s important to identify these upfront so that they can be taken into account when designing the software.
Identifying project requirements
After the constraints have been identified, you can start identifying project requirements. What exactly do we need to create? These should be very specific and not vague or open-ended questions.
For example, “a user interface” is not a good requirement. The requirement should be something like “the software must have a graphical user interface that allows users to input data and view results”.
Having a list of requirements will help keep development on track and prevent scope creep from occurring – which happens when new features are added without letting anyone know beforehand.
Having a list of requirements is great, but it can be difficult to know which ones are the most important. It’s a good idea to sort them from highest priority needs down to lowest priority. You should also consider putting timeframes around each requirement – how soon do we need this by?
For example, if you have a requirement for “a user interface” but it’s not a high priority, you can put a longer timeframe around it. However, if you have a requirement for “data input” and it’s a high priority, then you’ll want to put a shorter timeframe around it.
It may seem counterintuitive at first, but not all requirements are created equal. Some are more important than others, and it’s essential to identify and prioritize them accordingly.
Determine the required technologies and level of expertise
This is where things can start to get a little hairy. In order for your software to function as intended, you need the correct technologies and level of expertise.
The technologies and level of expertise required for your project will vary depending on the type of software that you’re creating.
Create a timeline
Once you know what’s needed for the project, it’s time to create a timeline. This will help keep development on track and ensure that everything is completed by the desired deadline.
It’s important to remember that things can always go wrong, so it’s best to add some cushion time into the schedule just in case.
The timeline should include all of the steps required for completion – from requirement gathering to testing and bug fixes.
Creating a prototype
Before you dive headfirst into development, it’s a good idea to create a prototype. A prototype is an early version of the software that shows how everything will come together and function as intended.
A common way to do this is by creating wireframes or mockups – which are essentially sketches of screens with placeholders for content. This will help you get feedback from stakeholders early on and make any necessary changes before development starts.
It’s important to show the prototype to the target audience as well. This will help ensure that the software is meeting their needs and expectations.
Once the prototype is approved, it’s time to start development!
This stage is where the real work begins – coding the software and making sure it functions as intended.
It’s important to have a good development process in place, as well as quality assurance procedures. This will help ensure that the software is error-free and meets all of the requirements.
It is important that you keep your stakeholders updated on what’s going with the project. This will help identify any potential issues before they become a problem, and save time down the line.
A great way to do this while staying organized as well? Have regular check-ins so there are no surprises or questions when it comes time for a release.
The last step may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget! Testing is key in order to make sure that the software is working as intended before releasing it into the wild. This can be achieved through either manual testing or automated tests – both of which are extremely important.
Quality assurance is just as important as development, and should not be taken lightly. It’s essential to make sure that the software is functioning correctly and meets all of the requirements before it’s released to the public.
Maintenance and support
Just because you tested the software and it’s now in the hands of your users doesn’t mean that development is over.
Once you’ve released a piece of software, there will always be bugs to fix or features to add – which means maintenance and support are an ongoing process. It’s important to stay on top of this throughout its lifetime, as well as identify and address any potential issues early on.
There you have it – the ultimate software development checklist! This will help guide you through the entire process, from start to finish. Make sure to keep these steps in mind as you’re planning your next project, and good luck!
In case you are too busy to do all of this by yourself, consider using a reputable offshore software development company like MaxinAI. Our team of experienced professionals can help with everything from planning to development and support. Contact us for more information!