Custom software development is the designing of applications that are specifically made to cater to the needs of a particular organization. Unlike purchased software which is diverse and bulky, custom software only performs precise functions that are needed and is made to fit perfectly into a specific organizational structure.
Step One: Decide Whether to Build it In-house or Outsource to a Third Party
There are several factors to keep in mind when trying to decide whether to build the software in-house or with outside help for example:
- How complex is the software going to be.
- How much proprietary information are you willing to give out.
- How busy are your staff.
Whichever way you choose to go the next phase is to create a development team that will oversee the project to completion. A development team should be composed of:
- A project leader who will organize and control the team.
- A back-end developer who will create the structure of the software.
- A front-end developer to create aesthetics for the program.
- A testing engineer to see that everything works properly.
- A liaison who is familiar with the internal structure of the business.
Step Two: Carefully Create and Articulate The Vision
Once you have your team of developers it is necessary to create a vision that is detailed and coherent. This is because the development cycles of complex systems require a proper understanding of every facet of the program from end to end.
Seemingly unrelated aspects of a program may actually be very interdependent which is why developers hate it when requirements are changed in the middle of a development cycle. This often forces them to start all over again which is why every detail should be worked out before the process begins. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- What problems is the software supposed to fix.
- Which aspects of the software should be open and which should have restricted access.
- What is the time frame to completion.
- How technical or user friendly should it be.
Step Three: Build The Skeleton of The Software
This is the most critical phase of custom software development. This is because the back-end developer builds the internal logic of the software and protocols of the how the server will later interact with front end side of things.
The company liaison is also very crucial at this stage because he informs the developers of the pain points that must be solved. The liaison also makes clear which aspects of the software should remain restricted due to the sensitivity of the information contained.
Here are a few more responsibilities for back-end development.
- Software optimization for speed and future scalability.
- Guaranteeing maximum security from data breaches and hacking.
- Building easy to understand libraries for future development.
- Guaranteeing perfect server side logic free of bugs.
Step Four: Creating Nice Aesthetics and User Friendly Handling
At this stage of custom software development the objective is to ensure that the users find the program appealing to look at and easy to use. The easier it is to learn then the faster they can begin to take advantage of it.
Here are a few tasks accomplished at this stage of development.
- Ensuring that all input is validated before submission.
- Adding company logos, colors, and mottoes to the aesthetics.
- Ensuring scalability regardless of platform of accessibility.
Step Five: Prototyping and Testing
Here the objective is to see whether the software actually does what it is supposed to do. A few people can perform a beta test and see what aspects of the software they like or dislike before final delivery. A few more things done at this stage include:
- Ensuring scalability even when multiple users are on the system.
- Identifying bugs and issues related to speed.
- Seeing whether the software integrates with other relevant programs.
Step Six: Full Deployment and Maintenance
Once all errors have been fixed then the finished product is shipped to all relevant personnel within the organization. The developers teach the staff how to use the program and assign them all with unique passwords. A structure for maintenance and handling system crashes should be created to handle any future problems.
Developing software that caters to the specific needs on your organization will not only increase efficiency but also save on money and time. The ability to control information flow is also a major boost to information security within the organization.