If you are thinking to develop your software product, you should have a clear idea of all the process stages, including preparation, making technological decisions, and managing business processes. Below you will find useful tips and tricks to get ready for your first software development project.
Step 1. Preparation to development
Before moving on to the development of a software product, you need to answer several key questions:
- What should the UX of this product be?
- What functions should the product have?
- What level of quality and security do you want to achieve?
- What about the rollout and upgrades?
User experience and design
Describe all potential users of your product, suggest how you will interact with them. This way, you are creating user scenarios. You get to know what your clients need and wrap this functionality into your solution. Requirements can be various for different target groups of users. For example, sellers and buyers, teachers and students, doctors and patients will have different reasons to try a tool and hence have different needs and expectations.
Verify the ease of navigation and the usability of the UI. It should be clear without instructions how to start using your tool, especially if there are children and the elderly in your target audience. The visual component is also important as it attracts attention and stimulates buying. Explore what users like and give it to them.
Must-have and nice-to-have features
You should remember it is impossible to satisfy all needs and expectations because too many functions will only make software complicated. Such a product can lose relevance even at the development stage and won’t have commercial success.
That’s why it is crucial to choose an optimal set of features, which are most often repeated in your user scenarios. This is known as creating an MVP (a minimum viable product), and it will be a starting version of your software.
Remember that software has to be of the highest quality since day one. If the first impression of the product is negative, the customer will not be interested in it in the future. Even if you release an update as quickly as possible, it will not fix the situation.
Pay maximum attention to the security of code and client data protection. Your software should comply with safety standards and prevent data leakage; otherwise, it will bring you losses instead of profit.
Update software product on time so that it does not lose relevance in the market. You can add interesting functions from your user scenarios and keep up with the trends. For this purpose, you should keep monitoring the application performance and the ways users interact with your tool. Listen to your users and customers, keep an eye on competitors, and you will always know how to make your software more engaging and helpful.
Step 2. Consider the technological component
The technological stack will differ for every software project, as the choice of the tools and delivery models depends on:
- how you want to interact with users;
- what features you want to provide;
- how flexible pricing plans you want to offer.
Strategy Software as a Service is based on cloud data storage and online access to the software. It allows clients to download updates independently and quickly, and to use any device with an internet connection. This facilitates the delivery of the product and lets you set a flexible pricing policy.
This strategy is centered around clients’ behavior. You will see how users interact with the product, what they expect from this software, and how it performs. Also, by tracking code performance, you can solve users’ issues much faster.
Integration with hardware
If your software product should work with some particular hardware, IoT devices or equipment, it takes extra development effort as well. Software developers should cooperate with your hardware manufacturing partner to achieve good results. In this case, it is crucial to pay attention to the experience of your software provider. As the more expertise, they have in developing IoT-driven software for your kind of hardware, the more successful your final solution will be.
Interaction with a mobile device
Mobile availability is the required component of any modern software product. There are several ways to make your product mobile-friendly:
- If your product is a web solution, it should be responsive to look well on a mobile screen.
- If your software works on different platforms, create a mobile app version with the same or basic features.
- If a product is intended for specific hardware, develop the app for remote control.
Step 3. Mind the business component
It is vital to remember about the business component at the stage of product development. You should manage costs and plan your time to market, think ahead of the software updates, and calculate the risks.
There are useful strategies that can accelerate the process of product development.
First of all, you should understand what will guide clients in choosing your product. Will it be the brand image, user interest, or competitiveness? This choice will help you indicate your key goal on the development stage and determine primary and secondary features. This way, you will be able to optimize the resources required for product development.
Your product can reuse platforms, tools, or services that are freely available. Reinventing the wheel is not what you need at the stage of development. Make sure you don’t waste time and money.
Think ahead about what will be included in your updates. What features, instruments, visual elements will be there? Planning them is important even at the first development stage. You also need to work with feedback, consider the opinion of users, and fix bugs.
Prioritize risks based on their probability rate and potential damage in timing, budget, and production. After that, you can develop an individual strategy to solve each of them. If you do not foresee these risks, you can miss the deadlines and scheduled release dates, the product quality can become worse, or the costs exceed the budget.
Pay close attention to keeping the ownership of your product. You should have access to code, configuration files, and documentation. This way, the change of the provider will not slow down the release of the product.
Remember that the success of your product in many ways depends on your choices and decisions. Сonsider different business and technical scenarios, choose qualified providers and be ready for risks.
How do you get ready for software product development? What’s your experience? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!