What is Software Product Development?
Software product development is the process of adding features tailored to meet the needs of a specific client. It is a regular process, where new features are added and the software is enhanced to help the user reach their business goals. This is done with the help of a well-planned strategy and multiple stages of development that create the product for the end-user to use.
Product Development Process
The product development process is the journey to take the product from a concept to reality. This stage is meant to cater to the ever-evolving needs of the user. Once a product goes into development, it is vital to stick to a schedule and deliver the committed user experience.
Software Development Process: The Six Steps
It starts with product consultation
This is the first stage where all the different members of the software development team come together and brainstorm. The goal is to facilitate the sharing of ideas for the desired product. During this stage, the teams at PowerGate Software attempt to understand the competitive software products and define a product strategy.
Be clear about the new requirements of the user to develop the software in a way that fulfills the needs and helps reach the goal for the product. This is where a minimum feature set is defined for a minimum viable product (MVP).
1. Design UI/UX
Software product design can be a crucial and sensitive point for the development process. The goal is to design for the product to be user-friendly and meet all the requirements without changing the dynamic hugely. Doing research and understanding the needs of the user, the behavior, pain points, and goals.
The goal for the design is to connect with the user and solve the problems faced to improve usability, accessibility, and user delight. Users are involved in this process and feedback is taken to test and validate the functionality as the user interacts with the design prototype.
2. Plan Solution Architecture
At this stage, the idea is brainstormed and the design is approved. Now that you know your idea is ready, this is the time to conduct a detailed analysis of the practicality of this idea. To build a well-thought-out solution for the idea the team needs to be cognizant of the requirements.
Analysis of the various system or product scenarios is done to identify the key parameters required for the development. The plan is to create a system that will survive requirement systems changes or extensions.
The software architects/ developers work to design the technical infrastructure that reaches the aspirations of the user. The goal is to design software that meets performance, scalability, and availability needs.
3. Building the Agile Way
The is the stage where all the code comes together, functionalities are created, conditions are linked and the design documentation is turned onto functioning software modules. This is the most important stage in the development cycle and consumes the most time.
Doing it the Agile way means developing the software iteratively and incrementally. Automating the iterative process in the development pipeline. The developers make sure that the designs are implemented and integrated correctly working in close collaboration with the product owners to ensure it meets expectations for every module.
The end goal of this stage is to create working software at the end of each sprint.
4. Quality Control and Testing
Then comes the testing stage, the aim here is Quality Control. Teams use the newly formed code, run it through rigorous checks testing iteratively and in units to ensure that it is acceptable and performing as per expectations. The expectation is that the software is functioning as desired and is integrated easily with the systems already in place by the product owner.
Testing is accelerated by the use of automated testing techniques. The product is audited, tested for secure applications and servers. The end goal is to make sure there are no bugs or errors unresolved before the product is forwarded and to ensure that the product complies with the industry standards and App store guidelines.
5. Performance Engineering Throughout
Now that the software is ready and has been tested to meet the fundamental requirements, this is part of the development cycle where capacity planning and scalability analysis are done with the assistance of the development team.
Any bottlenecks that have come up are resolved and an assessment is done to find any other bottlenecks analyzing the reasons.
6. Product Delivery
At this stage, the approved, tested and polished copy of the software is passed on for production and deployment. In the case of updates to existing software, only specific changes or new features will be deployed. This can be done in one go if the number of changes is minimal, or in multiple updates, if the number of changes is significant and complex.
Any training required for the user is also offered at this stage. The product is submitted and listed in the app stores. This is also the stage where feedback is taken from early adopters and the product is enhanced using this as the opportunity to learn and adapt.
7. Support and Maintenance
This is the final stage of the software product development process, at this point the product is out in the market and in the hands of the end-user. With 24/7 monitoring you avoid downtimes and receive updates, fixes, and enhancements to further improve the user experience.
The aim now is to make sure the software is always kept up to date and regular checks are done to keep the software safe. As the performance analysts, system engineers, and developers all work together to help make the features and design better to improve user experience and help build a better relationship with the user.
Agile Methodology – the best approach for Software Development
To have a simple and incremental development process, Agile methodology is the best approach to create a better user experience by providing regular updates, meet new requirements, and continuously improve integration with the help of the feedback received.
“Agile software development is more than frameworks such as Scrum, Extreme Programming, or Feature-Driven Development (FDD). Agile software development is more than practices such as pair programming, test-driven development, stand-ups, planning sessions, and sprints.”(1)
Iterative development helps with seamless integration and development of the software. The agile methodology emphasizes four core values:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan.
Why do we need Agile for a better Software Development Process?
When agile software development is executed correctly it can bring significant benefits to the development cycle and positively impact the quality of the software with every release. This methodology is based on the concept of short, fixed-length iterations also known as sprints where each sprint creates a working product.
The team collaboration and customer involvement in the development cycle of the software allow improved timelines and avoid delays saving time and helping companies keep the competitive edge.
Characteristics of Agile development approach 
In an agile development approach, the team breaks the project down into several iterations. A small set of features is targeted in each sprint, this means that the developers have their full focus on the sprint improving the quality. Testing and integrating regularly means that the developers have the chance to improve constantly and resolve any issues that are encountered when the sprints are integrated.
The flexibility that agile provides helps teams be adaptable to change, as the needs of the end-user evolve the teams must be also welcoming to this change. The use of time-boxed iterations means that the teams do not have to wait for longer more diverse changes, rather they can add any change or maintenance item to the backlog and allot to the next sprint based on priority.
- Predictable Delivery dates
By using time-boxed and fixed schedule sprints, new features and bug fixes are delivered effectively and timely in a predictable timeline.
- Predictable Cost of maintenance
By following a regular update pattern, the agile software development process helps keep the costs to a minimum. Any issues, bugs, or feature changes are added to a product backlog. This backlog is addressed at the next sprint planning session and prioritized based on the user’s need.
- Timely fixes
This is a crucial advantage of the Agile development process. Small incremental changes are shown to the product owner during the development helping identify any visible issues before deployment. This also helps fix any issues that are found after release and can be addressed in the next sprint.
- Customer Engagement
With the agile development process, the end-user is involved in the development of the process. As the teams plan the next sprint, they take input from the users and focus on the features and enhancements suggested. This continued involvement helps create a better engagement process.
The process of development is improved drastically as the users are involved in the development cycle user requirements are represented as user stories and the product owner works closely with the development team to help them gain insight into the expectations.
- Customer Satisfaction
The product owner actively participates in the development of the software in the Agile development approach. This participation means that the expectations and needs are understood and the customer gets to see a improve working product at the end of every sprint.
- Better Teamwork
Team members enjoy the involvement of the product owners and the collaborative development in the Agile software product development process. Rather than long and tedious projects, teams work on shorter stints helping them focus and bring their skills together to create a better product and improve morale.
The agile approach involves the customers and gives them insight into when the developers and designers are planning the next sprint. They are aware of the changes and improvements coming and can be confident that the team is constantly working towards improving their product.
Frequently Asked Questions about Software Product Development
– What does a software product developer do?
Software Product developers are responsible for developing the code for new software products or add to the feature set of existing products so that the user’s needs are met more effectively.
– What are software products?
Software products are essentially software that comes with a manual for the end-user to install and use the program. It is any software that can be deployed and have many users such as Netflix, Word, and Spotify.
– How does software help in product development?
Software helps product development by streamlining a business’s development process, focusing on the product and yielding greater returns overall.
– What are the stages of software product development?
There are multiple stages of software product development, including Product consultation, Design, Planning, Quality control, Optimization, Delivery, and Maintenance.
- Agile 101. What is Agile. https://www.agilealliance.org/agile101/
- 10 Key Characteristics of Agile Software Development Methodology https://www.v2soft.com/blogs/10-key-characteristics-agile-software-development-methodology