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Software Product Development: How to organize the process to bring more value to your clients

14 July 2021 • 12 min read
Software Product Development: How to organize the process to bring more value to your clients
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Slava Ivanov
Slava Ivanov
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Andrii Horiachko
Written by Andrii Horiachko
Co-Founder and CTO at Softermii
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47% out of 350 questioned innovation professionals stated that most failures occur while testing and refining the product experience compared to other processes because of the rapid market entry. Founders and C-suit can't often monitor and control every phase. That's why building a clear software product development process helps projects survive and become all the buzz.

As a multifunctional set of goals, the product building process requires a holistic understanding of numerous activities and procedures: development, design, marketing, business, and target audience research. Whether you want to launch an app or revamp a user interface, you need well-thought-out and data-driven solutions to receive the desired result. Otherwise, the project might fail.

So, what is the software product development process? Let's dig deeper and discuss the following:

  • what methods suits your goals;
  • what are the main phases of the development process;
  • how to effectively implement project development experience in the right niche.

Software product development process

A product development process stands for the multiple stages that a software development company or an outsourced team takes to bring the idea of a product into reality by undergoing software product development steps.

“The purpose of software engineering is to control complexity, not to create it,” states Pamela Zave, an American computer scientist now working at Princeton University.

Thus, companies rely on the software development life cycle (SDLC). The procedure implies building high-quality software within the shortest possible period, in line with the 7 phases of the software development life cycle.

The development life cycle phases involves:

  • the assessment of the user’s needs,
  • research on customer behaviour and marketplace competition,
  • creation and visualisation of the roadmap,
  • concept design,
  • code development,
  • creation of a minimum viable product.

With SDLC models, you won't miss a thing and find the balance between different actions while developing apps. The table showcases 10 SDLC models’ principles and goals, plus defines matching needs and preferences.

Methods Principles Goals Projects

Waterfall model

Sequential workflow


Low customer involvement


Strong project documentation

Divide software development into different stages


Define the goal at every phase of software product development


Move to a new stage after finishing the previous one

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems


Point of Sales (POS)


Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS)


Supply Chain Management Systems

Inventory Management Systems

V model

Sequential V-shape workflow


Testing after each development phase


Planning and building


Testing & improving

Mitigates project risks


Ensure quality


Cut expenses


Improve communication between stakeholders

Tax-related software


Medical software products

Iterative Model

Production process split into small chunks


Clear requirements


Integration of new technologies


Parallel development


High risk analysis

Simultaneous work on several iterations at once


Deployment of every single product build, after its completion


Possibility to make slight changes to software

Urban design apps


Marketing solutions


Graphic and UX design



Spiral Model

A mix of the Iterative No matter how revolutionary your idea is, its success depends on the process behind its development. Airbnb, Grubhub, or Spotify once began as a startup and passed their way from the idea to a multibillion business. Why do some startups gain worldwide popularity and others can't even kick-off as an MVP?

model with some aspects of the Waterfall method


Planning & task prioritization


Engineering


Early deployment of developed features and elements


Evaluation

Minimize medium or high risks


Test every phase of the process


Adding extra features and elements when developing

Creation of prototypes in the scope of large software

Agile model

Daily team cooperation


Constant workflow


Project division into smaller parts


Face-to-face communication between team members


Give a regular feedback to the team

Encourage changes and avoid documentation


Customer satisfaction


Constantly release software and get feedback


Strict change control

Small to medium-sized software developments like Lastpass


Short-term projects

Scrum methodology

Adaptability and flexibility


Self-organized, cross-functional team


Project is divided into sprints


Three leading roles in a team: a product owner, scrum master, a scrum team

Adopting changes promptly


Sticking to strict workflow


Raising high responsibility of every team member


Meeting and communicating daily



Financial Services

Data Analytics

Engineering

Construction

Telecommunication


E.g. IBM, Amazon, Yahoo, Netflix, Lego, Raynair

Extreme Programming methodology

Simple forms, encouraging MVP development


Team communication

Flexibility to change process and methods


Customer feedback


Strongly bonded team

Highly experienced and motivated team

Producing cutting-edge software


Holding daily meetings


Cutting the project cost


Applying automated units


Running functional tests



Long-lasting projects without specific requirements


Small teams from 2 to 12 people

Rad Model

Skilled and committed team


Prototype as a constituent part of the whole software


No specific planning


Fast adaptation to changing environment


High client’s engagement with the process

Develop reusable prototypes


Delivering and testing prototypes on the market

Small teams, up to 8 people

Software Prototype model

Fast identification of errors and missing functionality


Flexible designing


Integration of innovations


Often team meetings

Build, test, and fix prototype until the best final result

Developing teams, startups

Big Bang model

Fast and easy management


Little or no planning


Developers' flexibility

Fast adaptation of new developers


Creation of the clear end result

Small projects

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Along with the phases of the software development life cycle, you may also carry out various supportive tasks like:

  • requirements validation,
  • quality assurance,
  • configuration adjustment,
  • change management.

Let's have an in-depth look at each phase.

Stages of New Software Product Development Process

The software product development process is long-lasting – on average 4.5 months, and requires a comprehensive approach. If you want to make it hassle-free, let's have a look at the main steps you'll need to take before gaining a desirable result.

Video calls in a telemedicine app development

Planning/Discovery

Planning or the discovery stage lays a cornerstone of software development. It allows for pointing out the product's market fit, analysing industry demands, and evaluating budgeting and other available resources. You can't skip planning until you might omit some essential points that will later fail the entire product.

We can single out the next roadmap for successful planning: identify stakeholders,

  • research the subject,
  • set company goals,
  • set tech requirements,
  • and design UI/UX wireframe.

Well-thought planning ensures cost optimisation, thorough users research, step-by-step process and other benefits, which we described in our article.

Strategic Brainstorming

Start with an in-depth analysis of the market and a meticulous plan. That means you have to study customer behaviour and understand market expectations to apply relevant methods. In turn, they have to meet demand and match company strategy and resources.

Besides, it's significant to estimate the product development procedure from different angles and outline its frames. You may find the following tools useful when arranging come in handy to speed up and better organise.

You may find AppAnnie, Sensor Tower helpful for Mobile Analytics. Also, you can run your market analysis based on the Big 4 accounting firms (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC). Use SimilarWeb, ZoomInfo and Statista for analytical research.

Don’t forget to check out your milestones timely to track the product building process, assess current achievements, and improve possible flaws.

SRS Document

The next step you should take is to write a Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document. It's a written agreement and set of requirements for product development. This guide explains the software features, functions and illustrates stakeholders' (users' and businesses') requirements.

A typical SRS consists of three components:

  • a goal,
  • a summary of the product development procedure, and
  • particular requirements.

Software requirements specification documentation highlights critical information for every team involved in software product development. It allows you to track the lifecycle of your product. Plus, it cuts costs and speeds up the workflow. SRS ensures that everyone follows the same requirements — development, operations, maintenance, and quality.

Have a look at the image below to understand better what pillars a proper SRS is built on.

You can write an SRS document in-house. However, hiring an expert team to create a software product development guide will save you much time and effort.

Concept Design and Prototyping

When you've finished the initial stages, it's time to create a concept design, a macro design, and a prototype. Start with sketching and outlining technical and commercial features. It will help you understand what problems your software can solve and choose the best methodologies to cope with possible challenges. You will need all the previously collected information, research, and user inputs to customise your software to the industry demand.

You can use digital drawing tools to share and comment on your concept design within a team, simpler and faster.

  • Photoshop is a multifaceted tool with lots of downloadable brushes and plugins.
  • ZBrush suits modeling and texturing.
  • ProtoPie allows for building complex interactions and highly interactive design.
  • InVision studio serves to level up your interactive interface.
  • Figma is a vector graphics editor used for designing web and app interfaces, social media posts, and prototypes.

You may also jump into a proof of concept stage to test out your assumptions and ideas. This phase is not mandatory, but it can show potential viability. So, you’ll get a comprehensive picture of whether a feature or a product is worth developing.

Then, you can launch prototyping to understand how to develop software. This phase allows you to receive the logical and physical design, layout, and navigation. Moreover, you can estimate technological effectiveness, quality of the end design, and ultimate production cost. Find a design team to provide you with top-notch concept design and prototyping opportunities.

Development

Developing is a pivotal process of software product development. There, programmers write code in line with SRS documentation. You should expect the creation to be the longest of software product development steps. Programmers release alpha and beta versions previously producing ready-to-use software. They match tech principles to the project requirements before testing the apps.

Minimum Viable Product

A minimum viable product (MVP) is an initial version of a product with one feature that still offers enough value to users. You will use MVP to test out your concept, fast software launch, and first revenue yield. Once you've completed all these steps, you can kick off start-up’s full-fledged design. MVP also offers essential data for upgrades and other necessary changes to mitigate further risks.

For instance, Reface and Clubhouse are two unparalleled cases of record-beating app MVPs. Both companies show that today you have to offer a unique feature to stand out in the industry. The Clubhouse allows like-minded people to gather in virtual rooms. As for Reface, it's an AI technology of swap animation. As we can see, the current MVP trend is behind sophisticated software and simple UI/ UX design.

Keep going to figure out other most popular MVP forms.

Software Prototypes

This form of MVP is the most complex because it requires developing the core components of the software. Foursquare used gamification as its initial feature to gain more users.

Product Designs

You can create a sketch or a mockup of a mobile app or software to visualize navigation and hierarchy of functions to understand better how the product will function.

Demo Videos

A demo video comes in handy when you need to describe how your product works and highlight its main features. By showing these videos to your potential users, you can evaluate how suitable your product is. For example, long ago, DropBox highlighted the benefits of cloud-storing and managed to collect users’ feedback to develop its offering.

Landing Pages

Launching a landing page, you can gauge public interest and reach out to the big audience with your proposal. By asking users to fill out a contact form, you can get a base of cold leads. Besides, A/B testing allows you to check and define possible software errors or navigation problems on your future website.

Piecemeal

Mix components of different tools to provide a new product. It will allow you to demonstrate new features and see what kind of product is lacking on the market. Groupon started as a piecemeal MVP offering discounts for a limited amount of time.

You can find more handy-on information on MVP development from a concept to a ready-to-market product in our latest Guidelines.

Proof of Concept

You may also jump into a proof of concept stage to test out your assumptions and ideas. This phase is not mandatory, but it can show potential viability. So, you’ll get a comprehensive picture of whether a feature or a product is worth developing.

Testing

Finally, it's important to make sure that your software is bug- or defect-free. Hence, these steps will support your reputation as a solid enterprise in the industry. You can solve all possible problems before product delivery and grant exquisite quality to your users.

Choose different metrics to ensure high performance, security, and reliability. Apply manual and automated testing practices to verify that all features function flawlessly. You can use both methods or only one of them. First, a person may conduct manual testing with special tools and interact with developed software. Then, run automated testing to cut down errors and detect typos in the script.

As you can see, creating an MVP is not a piece of cake. Trying to do it from scratch independently has lots of pitfalls. It is getting more and more common to hire a dedicated professional team for that. Thus, you will use your resources more wisely and focus on what matters for your business. Choosing such a team for an expert MVP service allows you to have more testing iterations and check what strains of your product work better. Moreover, with professionals working on your MVP, you can be sure about the high-speed development and getting your product fast.

Softermii’s Experience in Software Product Development

It may seem that software engineering is straightforward. However, each case is unique and requires personal approach and imagination. It takes not only coding talents to deliver the best results but also smart management of the processes. Here are some cases to prove it.

Transforming Scoby video chats into content creation platform

Scoby is an innovative audio and video-conferencing application. It combines the features of the most popular social media platforms. People can use a Scoby app for staying in touch with their relatives and friends, chatting, talking, watching videos, streaming, and browsing.

The Scoby team requested us to build an app that can unite multiple functions. So, our teams brainstormed and decided to design an all-in-one video chat app MVP. It was in fact a challenging task that led to several hurdles on our way:

  • Firstly, we ran a business and market analysis. It aimed to figure out industry demand for the Scoby app and allowed us to extract the core features that users were looking for.
  • Secondly, we studied market needs and researched UX design peculiarities. It helped our specialists make the app relevant, competitive, and viral.
  • Thirdly, we focused on usability and thus designed an easy-to-use and navigate interface.

Finally, we managed to handle all of them. Our team of 5 specialists could deliver an MVP in three months and launch the app in seven months. However, such projects usually need more time and a big team.

Moreover, we managed to combine video conferencing, broadcasting, and social media features, and optimized them for multiple screens. Today, the Scoby user can easily access multiple features in one app: have video calls, stream videos, find and donate content creators.

Helping men with grooming via an App for Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club (DSC) is an American men’s grooming company. It offers personalized packages and delivery of male shaving products, such as razor blades, handles, aftershaves, and the like.

DSC's business model provides a monthly subscription. The clients receive razors and facial care products at a fixed price. As DSC's goal was to reach out to more customers, they came to us with a request to improve the UX design of their mobile app.

Men 35+ were the target audience. Focusing on this group of customers, we improved app navigation. We used a neutral palette and shortened text descriptions. Also, we made an account easy to manage and place orders.

Apart from user experience, we paid extreme attention to privacy to protect user data. Our specialists ran A/B testing to ensure high performance across devices. After the app release, DSC's conversion rate increased, so did the number of users - from 3,900 to over 500,000.

Reimagining UX Design of a PropTech startup for Rently

Rently, an innovative app that helps to find apartments and houses for rent, reached out to our team with a request to evaluate their app and suggest improvements. They were open to different but truly effective ideas, which could help boost the growth rate.

We started examining the user journey and, as a result, changed it. Our designers used new graphic solutions and refreshed an interface. The most challenging was to adjust a familiar brand identity to the brand-new design of the app. We changed the color pallet to blue and orange hues and complemented it with a gray background to bridge the gap among users of different ages.

Based on the in-depth research, we could reach our goal. Our UI/UX specialist applied a suitable layout to raise functionality. So even nowadays, Rently has no direct competitors among real estate startups.

Bottom Line

The new product development process is complex and comprises different elements. Key challenges you should pay attention to when developing a product: Ideation, Market viability, Product roadmap problems, Workflow management.

Ideation. It is the first checkpoint while developing a product. Generating an idea may sound simple but believe us, it is not. Bureaucracy, disengaged colleagues, irrational discussion can become total show-stoppers. Proper brainstorming and creating suggestion bins can overcome this issue.

Market viability. Ideas may be profitable in your head but the market can easily prove you wrong. It is crucial to evaluate the product's perspective in the market even before starting the development. Yes, analyzing competitors and audience, market size, and examining marketing sources is a must. Otherwise, lots of effort will go in vain.

Product roadmap problems. Clear vision is essential to ensure a seamless workflow and gradual development. Setting your priorities straight wll guarantee that you won't have time pressure or get stuck on a certain stage.

Workflow management. Communication, organization, tracking – you definitely know these buzzwords. Use tools like Jira and Trello to structure the processes. In current 'remote-working' reality, you need a more data-intensive monitoring system to track staff performance.

We, at Softermii, strive to arrange our workflow so that all customers are satisfied with our services.

  • Our savvy developers and designers monitor the industry to use proven tools and cutting-edge methods.
  • We rely on our business analytics, which monitor the market and up-to-date trends to keep up with the times.
  • Our team is constantly searching for effective promotion channels to reach out to the new audience and seek better revenue.

Do not hesitate and hire an experienced MVP development team with a proven background! Fill the Contact us form, and we'll get back to you to discuss all the details.

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