Posted by Indusa Admin on November 9, 2017 12:37 pm
Building a high quality product is the end goal for any organization, but software developers often run into a myriad of challenges on the way, while staying on top of new technologies and trends. The software development process is going through some unusual changes – development tactics are evolving, automation is becoming rampant, and new tools and libraries are emerging daily.
If you want to create value, products must evolve, adapt, improve, and be a source of innovation almost every day to sustain market pressures, technological advances, changing customer needs, and changing industry dynamics.
A process as complex as software development comes with its own set of challenges – challenges that you might encounter every day; challenges that need to be addressed almost immediately to reduce the impact they have on your end product.
Top 10 Software Product Development Challenges
So, what are the biggest software development challenges and how can you overcome them?
1. Project Infrastructure Issues
An unestablished project environment is always a common challenge in terms of its impact on project delivery. To ensure efficient project development, test and pre-production environments should be made available during the development, testing, and user acceptance testing (UAT) phases. If the environment is not available, then there is no way you can proceed with your project on time and under budget.
2. Requirements Volatility
A major reason for the complexity of software projects is the constant changing of requirements. Not surprisingly, 33% of the respondents of the 2016 Stack Overflow Developer Survey consider building products with unspecific requirements, as their biggest challenge. Requirements gathering is a lot more than a handful of business consultants coming up with their ideal product – it is understanding fully what a project will deliver.
- Define and agree on the scope of the project
- Don’t assume end user needs and requirements – make sure the project team fully understands the needs and it’s been communicated in between teams clearly
- While refurbishing a product, involve users from the start, and in the case of new product development, consider UX from the start
- Create a clear, concise and thorough requirements document and confirm your understanding of the requirements
- And if necessary, create a prototype to confirm and/or refine final agreed upon requirements
3. Ignoring Best Code Development Practices
Not reviewing code, or suppressing errors are just a means that developers use to save time and meet deadlines. Following a formal quality assurance process is imperative for a successful launch. If you witness developers trying to cut corners in the development process, discourage it immediately. Encourage them to use best code development practices to meet the requirements sooner and in a more efficient manner.
4. Undefined Quality Standards
Defect identification is inevitable during functionality testing, even if the product has been through thorough unit testing during the development phase. When you come out with the test approach, scenarios, conditions, cases, and scripts to complete the functional testing of your project, make sure your test plan covers all the requirements that are to be delivered by planning several cycles of testing.
5. Adapting the Latest Market Trends
Catering to the latest technology requirements such as mobile first or mobile-only or desktop-first is often challenging. If you don’t have resources with hands-on experience in the latest and trending technologies, it is sure to impact your time to market. Make sure your resources constantly polish their skills to remain relevant.
6. Managing Design Influences
Product designs are under constant influence from stakeholders, the development organization, and other developmental factors. Managing these influences is essential for maximizing the quality of systems and their related influence on future business opportunities. The increase of easily accessible, simple applications has resulted in user expectations growing exponentially. Make sure you streamline your design and offer a consistent experience across devices, operating systems, and form factors.
7. The integration Challenge
There are thousands of different technologies, systems, and applications available for businesses. Integrating third-party or other custom applications, such as your ERP, website, or inventory management database adds substantial complexity to your project. And the bigger challenge with integration is that they remain hidden throughout the development process, and surface only at the end, leading to extra costs, delays, lowered quality, and sometimes even failure of the project. If you want your software solution to conform to the external constraints of other systems, you should:
- Get a clear understanding of end-user requirements
- Implement an enterprise-wide framework which works as a platform of structuring the application
- Discover and research new technologies, design and develop new solutions, and then test and evaluate them to ensure optimum integration
- Pay extra attention to research and development, testing, and prototyping.
- Test, test, and test again before deploying the solution
8. Juggling Projects and Tasks
Very often multi-tasking might give you more trouble than expected. Resources cannot focus on a single task or module if their manager bombards them with tasks.
“To be successful in project management you absolutely have to be an excellent planner,” says Ryan Chan, founder and CEO of UpKeep Maintenance Management.
And, one obvious way to be an excellent planner is to leverage project management tools like Project Pro in O365 and keep projects, resources, and teams organized and on track. Stay on track, meet all deadlines, work seamlessly across applications, and efficiently and effortlessly manage your projects. Always keep task allocation sequential rather than parallel, and encourage resources to give their best in whatever they do.
9. Test Environment Duplication
Testing a software system in a controlled environment is difficult since the user is not immersed in a completely realistic working situation. It’s impractical to gauge how a user will really use the application in different situations on a regular basis until it’s deployed. However, with software applications for both B2B and B2C segments becoming more and more diversified than in the past, controlled testing is not sufficient. Therefore, testing the software or app or product in a separate real-life test environment is critical to your software’s success.
10. The Security Challenge
Security breaches are on the rise; a recent study estimates that 96% of all web applications contain at least one serious vulnerability. How do you cope with evolving security threats? How do you keep each layer of your software or application secure?
- Look beyond technology to improve security of your software
- Develop your software using high-level programming languages with built-in security features
- Make security assurance activities such as penetration testing, code review, and architecture analysis an integral part of the development effort
- Perform all the essential core activities to produce secure applications and systems including conceptual definition, control specification, design and code review, system test review, and maintenance and change management
- Make sure security is not just the responsibility of the software engineer but also the responsibility of all the stakeholders involved including the management, project managers, business analysts, quality assurance managers, technical architects, and application and developers
Stay Clear and Focused
No matter how big or small, solving software development challenges never comes easy. From challenges in requirements gathering to integrating new technologies with a customer’s existing technology environment, from ensuring end-to-end security to challenges of duplicating the test environment, from adapting to the latest technological advances to handling requirements volatility – software product development requires you to be clear and focused about the problem you’ve set out to solve in order to achieve what you’ve set out to achieve.
About the Author – Manan Thakkar
Manan Thakkar is a Solution Architect who spearheads Indusa’s strategic initiatives to maximize customer benefits. His expertise lies in enterprise consulting and solution designing globally and he plays a key role in institutionalizing customized application development in various technologies, to position Indusa’s services in leading enterprises.
Contributing Author: Malavika Nityanandam