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Software Product Development - A Complete Tutorial

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Software Product Development Overview

Today, software products have become a crucial part of our existence; it is tough to envision our daily actions not being powered by a computer-related app or process!

Nevertheless, building a solid software product is an even more complicated means to adapt when digging deeper. Around 14% of software projects drop since they fail to adhere to appropriate software product development regularly. In fact, 75% of IT and business executives anticipate that their software projects will fail.

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This is precisely why following a set of systemic steps is crucial in building a high-quality and feature-rich software product that fulfills business needs and overcomes challenges.

Careful software product development not just enhances the quality of the product but even the complete software development process. Let’s delve into this complete guide to answer all your questions about software product development!

What Is Software Product Development?

Software product development is the complete process of developing a software application or program from the idea to the market. The steps included in this process are similar to those used for building any other product. A team of people starts by researching and evaluating customer needs, then they design, develop, test and finally launch it into the marketplace.

How To Know When Your Business Requires Software Product Development?

Software product development is the complete process of developing a software application or program from the idea to the market. The steps included in this process are similar to those used for building any other product. A team of people starts by researching and evaluating customer needs, then they design, develop, test and finally launch it into the marketplace.

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When your business is on a low growth curve and needs more innovation.
Are you facing a low growth curve in the industry that you are currently operating in? If so, it's time to innovate on your products or services. You need to have new ways of attracting clients and making them stay loyal to your ventures. To achieve this goal, you need to hire software developers and create an innovative product.

When your business needs a better customer service experience.
Do your customers complain about the service they receive from your company? If yes, it's time to introduce new products and services that will give them a better shopping experience and result in satisfied customers who tell their friends and family to invest in your product. This will help you gain a high customer satisfaction rate, increase your sales and grow your business exponentially.

When you need a reliable method of collecting data on the go.
Do you collect data using surveys that take up considerable time? In today's fast-moving world, where everyone is running behind their schedules, you need a more straightforward and more reliable way to collect data. Software applications are the best solution for this problem.

When you want to make your employees' lives easier by giving them new, updated tools.
Are your employees complaining about the use of outdated technology at their workplace? If they face performance issues due to obsolete tools/products used at work, it's time to replace them with new ones. Software applications are the best way to make your employees' lives easier.

When your organization starts experiencing low efficiency and miscommunication-related issues.
When the employees are using obsolete tools for their work, they cannot perform at optimum levels. This leads to performance issues and may even affect deadlines negatively. Hence, it's time to replace old tools and software applications with new ones.

How to Get Ready for Software Product Development?

Software product development is the complete process of developing a software application or program from the idea to the market. The steps included in this process are similar to those used for building any other product. A team of people starts by researching and evaluating customer needs, then they design, develop, test and finally launch it into the marketplace.

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1. Start by Creating a Product Vision Document.

Once you have decided to develop your own software application, the next step is to understand what your customers want from your product or service.

To do so, you need to create a Product Vision Document that will help clarify the process of Software Development for both business owners and developers. The Product Vision document should include the following steps:

  • • Product Functionality
  • • Target Users/Customers
  • • Success Metric
2. Define Your Product Roadmap.

After you have decided on what features your software application will have, you need to prepare a Software RoadMap that will serve as an instruction guide for developers. This document must clearly define the method of Software Development and must incorporate all essential product development phases such as System Design, Testing, Deployment, and Maintenance.

3. Prepare a Project Plan that is Aligned With Your Roadmap.

Once you have decided on the features and functionality you want in your software application, it's time to prepare a project plan aligned with your roadmap. This will help you divide Software Development into smaller tasks and prepare a detailed project calendar that will help you estimate all possible development timeframes. You can use needed software applications to create a more flexible and dynamic project plan.

4. Get the Right Team on Board for Your Software Product Development Process.

Once you have prepared the documents mentioned above, it's time to start your Software Product Development process with the right team of professionals. You need software developers who are passionate about programming and ready to help you develop an excellent product that will fulfill all of your business requirements.

You might need to outsource the work to an offshore software development company. However, if you wish to manage and monitor your product development process on your own, you can hire a software developer who is experienced in product development and has enough industry exposure. Below are a few qualities that you should look for while hiring a software developer:

  • • Proven Track Record in product development
  • • Clear Communication Skills
  • • Problem-solving skills
  • • Enthusiasm for new technologies and programming languages
  • • Responsiveness to emails and requests
  • • Willingness to help you with all your software application requirements throughout the project.
  • • It is best if they can offer additional services such as training, maintenance, etc.
5. Ensure you Test the Developed Product to Avoid any Post Development Issues.

Once your software application has been developed, you must ensure that it works as expected and meets all business requirements. Testing is one of the vital stages in Software Product Development that should not be skipped or postponed. You can use a testing checklist for this phase and ensure that you are ready to handle any post-development issues.

6. Deploy your Software Product After Testing it Thoroughly.

After testing your Software Application thoroughly, it's time to deploy it for your end-users or customers. You can start by using a pilot group of individuals to give you valuable feedback on finding the helpful application. If they have no issues, you can then begin using the application for your business needs.

What are the 6 Essential Stages Of Software Product Development?

outsource software development
Stage 1 – Definition of Product Goals.

The first step is to determine your product objectives. You need to learn about what you want to achieve with the development of this software application and how much it will cost. It is wise to include all functionalities in your initial plan so you can easily track your progress and adjust your roadmap accordingly. Here are the key points to consider-

  • • What will be this software's use in your business, and how much time does it take for you to complete the functionality?
  • • What is your budgeting strategy?
  • • Do you require any additional features in the application after its release? If so, what are they, and how much extra expense will they add to the product development process?
Stage 2 – Features/Functionality Design

At this stage, you need to look into each feature that will be included in the product. You'll find it easier to divide your features into groups and then explain how they work in detail in a document. Once done with this, you need to finalize the features based on their importance and feasibility (cost/time) for development.

Necessary Point to Consider-

  • • What are the core functions of this software app?
  • • How can you make these features work better for your end-users?
  • • Who is the end-user/customer of this software, and what are their requirements? Answering these questions will assist you in finding out how each feature should be designed.
Stage 3 – Project Planning & Scheduling

In this stage, you need to plan how you will divide your project into multiple development milestones. This will not only help you track your progress but also ensure that all deadlines are met as per the initial project timeline. In some scenarios, you might discover it challenging to meet the deadline, so it is essential to take this matter seriously.

Stage 4 – Development Phase

This is the coding/programming stage of your software development process. A Software Development Team will work on each feature and implement it to complete this stage successfully. What are the factors to keep in mind-

  • • You can use a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) strategy if you are looking for affordable solutions. It will help you with faster time to market and an early release of your application.
  • • Now that you better understand the functionality, ask your development team to explain how it works in detail. You need to make sure that each feature is built as per the initial project plan.
  • • Sometimes, the development team might come across problems during the development process. Make sure that you have another plan ready in case this happens.
  • • The team might not use your project management strategies properly. You can appoint someone to monitor the project and make sure everything is going as planned.
Stage 5- Testing & Deployment

The development team needs to test each feature and fix bugs before moving ahead to the next stage. Once it is ready, your product will go through a quality assurance process followed by system testing. This will be done to improve its compatibility with different devices/software. You also have the option for signing NDAs or non-disclosure agreements with 3rd party vendors, so they can help you test the product on their platforms.

Stage 6- Maintenance & Support.

You need to plan what you will do once the product is released and how much time and money you can manage to spend on its maintenance/support phases. You also need to ensure that all customers are satisfied with your application's support services before claiming it as a success story. This will help you make your software development project a success story.

How Can an MVP Approach Make the Software Product Development Process More Effective?

One way for a startup to secure feedback is to deliver the minimum viable product (MVP). The concept of MVP implies that the product is released earlier in the development process than it would be under a traditional waterfall.

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The idea behind the minimum viable product approach is to release an early version containing limited features and then use direct customer feedback to develop the product into something bigger iteratively.

Advantages of the MVP approach to product development:
  • • The minimum viable product (MVP) provides companies with an opportunity to obtain data about customers, their behavior, and preferences;
  • • Early delivery allows startups to validate market assumptions;
  • • Minimizes risk through eliminating unnecessary features;
  • • Reduces development time and cost.
Disadvantages of the MVP approach
  • • It doesn't work for certain kinds of products;
  • • Customers can get frustrated by the fact that the product doesn't have all the desired features at launch;
  • • MVP is an unstable foundation, and it might collapse, so startups need to be ready to rebuild it if necessary.

Some Considerations On Successful Software Product Development

“Product development will always outstrip our understanding of risk, but there is a lot we can do to narrow that gap.”

– Andrew Maynard.

Usability:
A software product may be very innovative, but it should also be usable by design. Usability can affect reliability (“an intuitive interface is less likely to lead to user error than a complex one”). Besides, it can affect scalability and security.

Scalability:
This is the ability to “scale” both up and down, i.e., handle increasing or decreasing system load (or other requirements) without significant re-design or re-engineering. It can be integral or an afterthought of design; there are many (justified) examples where scalability was added in later with varying results.

Security:
This feature cannot be precisely defined, but almost all software products will need at least some degree of innovative behavior to gain acceptance. A core function or activity may be “taken-for-granted” and not particularly creative in itself, but the interface design/execution should still emphasize user-friendliness and be intuitive.

Reliability:
Reliability is often confused with usability, but it can also include other elements such as performance (response time) and maintainability (how easy is the product to keep running). Reliable software products are less likely to fail during usage or must at least recover quickly. The reliability of a software product should be built-in from the beginning, during design and development. The use of a proven/tested platform or framework should also contribute to reliability

Portability:
Portability can include not only product design but also data/code segregation across platforms. It is generally used in the context of the application. Data portability refers to the ability to migrate or transfer data from one application to another without loss of information. Code and platform portability refers to the capacity for an application and its requisite code/modules to run on various platforms without code changes.

Tips To Select The Right Software Product Development Partner

Did you know the demand for Saas development companies has increased drastically within the last few years?

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1. Team Skills & Expertise

Allocated team size for an assignment is critical. You may have to consider pairing people with different skill sets. Depending on the nature of the software product, you may need expertise in both front-end and back-end technologies. If your product is more business-centric, choose people who are well versed in business modeling skills.

2. The Breadth And Depth Of Team's Expertise

Carry out due diligence at each stage of your software product development process to make sure the right people are working on the project, and they can deliver as per your expectations. People involved in requirement analysis need a strong analytical mind, whereas coders should know data structures.

3. Product And Team Life Cycle

The product life cycle plays an important role in choosing the partner for software product development. The stage on which the product is decided determines what type of skills you need to bring on board and who can provide those skills then. A startup business will require a different set of people compared to a firm that has been into product development for several years.

4. Quality And Time Frame

The quality of the product and the time frame involved in its creation affect partner selection. A short chosen timeline leads to a fast go-to-market strategy with high-risk factors. In contrast, a longer timeline suggests a lower risk factor, and this type of approach requires a greater level of stability in the product.

5. Degree Of Innovation Involved

The degree of innovation involved in your product also plays an important role in deciding the right partner for software product development. You want to bring on board people who are capable enough to innovate but not let that creativity take a toll on time and budget constraints.

6. Flexibility In Team Composition

You may have to consider team composition flexibility during your search for the right partner for software development. You can hire freelancers or full-timers from a reputed firm, both of which will add value in their own capacity. The other option is to bring on board a consultant who can give you an idea about technology trends, the latest methodologies and help you quickly implement good ideas. This may not be the best route for small companies.

7. Funding And Expertise Availability

Most startups go to consulting firms to find software development partners as they offer quick turnaround times and affordable prices. Still, this may affect the quality of the product significantly because these guys work with multiple clients. You may have to consider hiring an offshore software development company that can dedicate an entire team to your product and work diligently so that you don't need to compromise much on quality.

8. Commitment To The Project

You should check the commitment to the project of each partner before selecting one. This includes their response time, the methodology they will employ for software development, how much leeway they will give you to oversee the project, etc.

9. Commitment To Help You Grow

A software product is not just about coding and development; it requires continuous maintenance and support too. It will be good for your business if the partner you select has plans to stay with you for a longer period and help you to grow with their knowledge and expertise

Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Software Product Development Company

Mistake 1: Not specifying the business goals of the project

It is good to have an idea that you want to build a software solution for your business. However, not specifying all the features required for this solution will fail to achieve the desired results. A software product development company needs to know your exact requirement and what you want due to the product.

Mistake 2: Not performing due diligence check of the product development company before hiring.

This is essential. You need to conduct your research before you end up signing contracts with a company that might not be able to deliver what they initially promised. Clients should always keep their eyes and ears open when working with a Software Company.

Mistake 3: Having unrealistic expectations of receiving on-time solutions/products

This is one of the most common mistakes that clients make when hiring product development companies to build their software for them.
The client has an idea in mind but does not realize that this concept will take time to be developed into a full-fledged final product. A client should have patience and understand that the timeline is only a mere estimation and not a definite time frame for their project to be completed.

Mistake 4: Not involving the client in the dialogue development process.

The client shouldn't shy away from contacting the development team to know how they progress with their software. The client should have an open dialogue with the company they are hiring because this will help them provide valuable feedback to the team. This process should be ongoing throughout the development stage until the final product is delivered.

Why Outsource Software Product Development Company?

software outsourcing

Benefit 1: Access to Highly-Skilled Engineers
Any company which is new in this market needs an experienced development team. The cost of building a development team from scratch can be very high, and this can be a significant roadblock for small and medium-sized companies entering the booming app business. A good software product development agency has a dedicated team of developers ready to take on any challenge.

Benefit 2: Cost Savings
Building a development team is not only time-consuming but also very expensive. Setting up an offshore software product development division can provide significant cost benefits. The budget allocated for hiring resources will be much lower than the costs of building your own development team.

Benefit 3: Access to Expertise
An experienced software engineering company has a large pool of expert developers, and the expertise ranges across various technologies and domains. Therefore, the company can provide a rapid solution to your app development needs, unlike general IT companies, which typically have engineers with varied skillsets.

Benefit 4: Access to Tools & Technology
Inside an outsourcing company, you will find all kinds of tools required to build a software product. A dedicated team of developers uses cutting-edge tools and technologies such as agile and test-driven development, continuous integration and delivery, DevOps practices, and more.

Benefit 5: Consistent Quality & Delivery
You can always predict a constant level of quality from the development team of an outsourcing company. Your product development team will meet all the milestones that you set through regular updates. Likewise, you can expect your software product to be delivered within agreed-upon deadlines.
An outsourcing company can provide a long-term solution to your business needs by providing quality and cost-effective resources. You can always depend on an outsourcing company for software product development services as they have an established track record of delivering products that meet client expectations.

See What our Customers are Saying...

We sign strict non disclosure agreement & IPR with our esteemed clients. However, some clients came forward to appreciate our hard work by providing us video and textual testimonials for our work. Here are a few testimonials sent by some of our esteemed clients from across the globe:

We were very afraid that there is no agency that will deliver the quality that we were looking for. Pixelcrayons turned out to be a very good solution. Since day one, we were engaging in the product development. At the begining, I thought it's gonna be a very hard road...

Mr. Nilo Quiroz, Wyzchef

PixelCrayon’s management has been very knowledgeable & flexible with assigning right resources. The developers are skilled, focussed, and professional who have delivered their thoughts on time. Definitely would recommend PixelCrayons and would use them again...

Philip Hamichi, Eurowise

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Nikhil, Proadviser

Celler Angels has been using PixelCrayons for about six or seven months and as a virtual company it's extremely important to have deadline met, content delivered, promises kept. Everything that PixelCrayons has delivered so far has been top notch...

Martin Celler, Celler Angels

Hello, I am Bas Buys owner of 'Enter Baby Allant'. I worked on a project with PixelCrayons team India. I am very pleased about corporation. They did a very good job, and delivered exactly what needs to be done and communication is very effective and pleasant...

Bas Buys, Enter Baby Allant