Software Development

Many companies today use some kind of software in their organization to carry out their day-to-day business activities. Depending on the organization’s need, you may choose to go for software that is readily available in the market and customize possibly to the organization’s needs. While some organizations may choose to build their own custom software to exclusively cater the organization’s needs. No matter what type of software the business decides to choose, they go through the tedious process of software development.

Software Development is a series of complicated processes which finally results in the creation of software. Why is this process complicated? What makes it so? How does the business get involved in this? These are some questions that may rise in your mind. The simple answer to these questions is Software Development is similar to an engineering project, where something is being built. You need to reach a specific milestone in the development cycle before approaching the end product. Hence, different organizations take different approaches to this. You may come across some terms like:

  • Agile
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD)
  • Prototyping Method
  • Waterfall method
  • Scrum and the list goes on

Listed above are some of the systematic approaches adapted for the purpose of developing software. All these methods carry common characteristics which are described briefly below. Each method has its own merits and demerits. It should be noted that there is no one correct methodology that can be used for all sorts of projects. Instead, the appropriate methodology is to be selected depending on the requirement of the organization and the nature of the project. This page intends to give you a brief idea about software development as a whole. Hence, let us focus on the common characteristics found in most methodologies today. These are listed below:

Analysis
Before work can begin on a new project, you need to establish the organization’s requirements. At this milestone, business analysts along with the management will create goals and targets on what needs to be done and achieved. Typically business analysts would:

  • Gather requirements and analyze the existing problem – At this instance, business analysts will typically look into the primary facts such as what is the focus of the business? How are day-to-day activities taking place currently? What benefit can the new solution bring to the organization?
  • Conduct a market research – At this instance information is gathered on regarding who is going to be the user? Is it your employees or is it the customer itself? What sort of software are the users looking to use? What is the level of IT literacy does the users have?
  • Compile a feasibility report – Typically this will contain information such as how much is going to cost for the proposed project? What benefits can the business reap as a result of the savings? What new potential business can this software bring to the organization?

Design
Based on findings made in the analysis stage, the software can be created and implemented. But where do you start? The answer to this question can be found in the Design phase. In other words, the design phase allows you to establish a blue print or a plan that will aid the software development process. This is a key milestone in software development process and should be devised carefully. Some key aspects that are looked into will include:

  • The architecture of the proposed solution – The main goal of the software architect is to see if software meets the specified requirements and ensure that any future expansions can be met with the proposed solution. The software architect will also look into matters such as what hardware is needed and how will it be used? What programming language will be used?
  • Specification – This is the task of precisely describing on how the software is to be written. Who writes the software? It is written by the developer. In order to make the life of the developer easy various documents such as the user interfaces (example- data entry screens, output screens), database design, algorithms and all other necessary components are developed as per guidelines of the requirement analysis phase. Algorithms are step by step English like sentences which aid the person writing the software program to develop the logic in a particular programming language.

Implementation
Once the software has been designed, it has to be converted into a machine-readable format. The process of converting the software design to a programming language is undertaken at this stage. This is the core part of the software development life cycle and is usually longer than the rest of the other phases. A good plan and software design is required to ensure all activities in the Implementation phase runs smoothly.

Testing
Although you may think with the end of the implementation phase, the software is ready for use. No, this is not the case. The developed software needs to run through a series of vigorous quality checks before it can be released to the intended users and the Testing phase helps us to achieve this objective. Key areas that will be looked into at the testing phase include:

  • Testing against bugs / defects caused at the time of implementation.
  • Does the software meet the requirements as specified in the analysis phase?
  • Does the software solve the problem defined?
  • Does the software perform as intended/ promised?

Deployment, Training and Maintenance
Once the software has been tested and approved by the development team, it is then released to the intended users. This process is known as Deployment. In order for the software to be successful and of use to the business, the users need to precisely know how to make use of it. Hence, appropriate Training is given to the users by the software experts.

You may wonder what role has Maintenance got to do with a developed software. For an instance, during the Training phase, users may come across some an unexpected result in the software or there maybe a new requirement. Whatever the scenario, these have to be accommodated into the software and hence Maintenance phase comes into play.

Conclusion
When looking at the software development there are various methodologies in practice today. Characteristics common to most software development methodologies include:

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Testing
  • Deployment, Training and Maintenance

Each methodology has its own advantages and disadvantages and choosing the correct methodology lies on entirely on the nature of the problem and the organization’s individual requirement.

We at Cloud Computing can help you to develop your software which exceeds your expectations using the best available tools and methodology. Contact Cloud Computing Consultants today for a no obligation consultation on Software Development.

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