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What the Application Development Process Looks Like

Posted by Indusa Admin on September 28, 2017 1:00 pm

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Looking at the pace at which applications are being consumed today, it is not surprising to see companies driving their efforts towards developing top-quality applications (web or mobile). And although the application development process might seem like an easy three stage process of design + develop + deliver, it can get quite challenging.

Having to cater to a long list of desktop and mobile screen sizes, hardware specs, operating platforms, and configurations makes the application development process a tedious yet interesting job. Not to mention the changing preferences of end-users, the wavering technological landscape, and the rather short life span of every application!

The Application Development Process

So what does the application development process looks like? Here we’ll cover the entire process and what obstacles to avoid along the way.

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Digital Experience

No application can be successful unless it offers an easy to use UI – a UI that simplifies day to day tasks and keeps the end users engaged. The initial impression that gets conveyed through the first look at the application, either through the landing or the home page, is what urges the user towards exploring other features. Did you know that the revenue impact from a 10% improvement in the customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion in revenue!

Given these facts, a lot of effort and focus needs to be put into the overall application design and user experience, keeping in mind the profile of the targeted users. Make sure you don’t lose sight of the budget and timeline facets of the project. Leverage the various tools available in the market to speed up the demonstration of design aspects. Use them to create quick clickable demos. A good user experience is the outcome of deep analysis of the requirements, so make sure you have a good understanding of your audience.

Design

Once the user flow and UI design have been finalized, the next (and possibly the biggest) task of the design and development team begins – designing the application using various use cases and test scenarios as input. The design of an application needs to be strong as it builds the foundation to get the entire proposed structure in place.

The development of an application, after having a detailed design map in place, is nothing but getting the correct technical architecture, putting in the code to run the different parts that constitute the application, integrating them to smoothly run in sync, and producing the required output.

Though it sounds simple, the development phase turns out be the most extensive and expensive stage of application development as this is where you need to manage the most volatile aspects of the application development process – people management, time management, schedule management, and scope management.

The design process starts with coming out with a viable solution to the problem at hand by specifying the various software artifacts that need to bind together, and the roles and responsibilities of each of them through detailed specification.

While designing your app, it’s a good idea to ensure the design:

  • Does not reinvent the wheel
  • Minimizes the intellectual distance between the software and the problem as it exists in the real world
  • Is structured to accommodate change

Since the application development process has been evolving with constant introduction of new development methodologies, IDEs, and programming languages, programming professionals often find it difficult to stay abreast with all of the different technologies. If you want to ease up the design process, keep in mind the following:

  • Effective project management – good planning, tracking, and timely communication
  • Define system architecture – identity reusable from earlier projects
  • Define smaller/achievable milestones to measure progress
  • Ensure software control management
  • Ensure effective code implementation
  • Plan for risks
  • Plan reviews and share lessons learnt
  • Conduct rigorous testing and validation

Also make sure to lay out all the steps needed to address the key aspects of software development including extensibility, maintainability, usability, performance, scalability, reusability, robustness, and security.

Modernization and Automation

All organizations want to realize the highest possible business value from their investments in IT infrastructure and application software. However, with everyday increase in complexity of projects, evolution in technologies, lack of skilled resources, and challenges to attract/manage customers in cutthroat competition, using legacy applications and the traditional waterfall methodology to develop new applications may not be reap the intended outcomes.

There are two ways to overcome these challenges: one is by modernizing legacy apps and the other is by automating time consuming, repetitive tasks – to improve ROI and decrease the overall application development cost.

Addressing those old legacy apps that could be causing latency, be buggy, and have security issues can increase end-user utilization and efficiency.  There are various options to modernizing your existing applications and IT infrastructure software such as re-engineering, re-hosting, re-platforming, recoding, rearchitecting, interoperability.  You may also want to consider changes to the application’s architecture or a new development. This helps you meet the increasing pressures of improving performance, strengthening security, reducing costs and reacting nimbly to business demands. Moving towards a more integrated application and infrastructure environment reduces your bottom line expenses bringing more value from prior investments.

Use tools that automate development and testing, and take advantage of re-usable components to reduce overall effort and time. By adopting quick, modernized, and automated processes, you can meet the various commercial and legal requirements and expectations. Automation not only helps complete the application development process within budget, but also helps gain trust of the client.

Integration and Consolidation

Very often, companies get carried away and build applications for every business requirement. But, with this approach, they end up developing 100 different applications that serve several smaller aspects of everyday work, leading to a tiring and frustrating user experience.

aving multiple applications typically increases operational costs as well, leading to reduced profit margins. Integrating and consolidating the various aspects of your application into one experience can enable you to:

  • Offer a unified one-stop experience
  • Simplify your business processes
  • Ease maintenance and user management efforts
  • Improve end user and employee productivity
  • Reduce operational costs

QA, Testing and Optimization

Quality of the application is one of the most important criteria for continued success. However, reducing QA cost has always been a challenge within the application industry. So how do you contain your testing costs? You have two options:

  • Use test optimization techniques
  • Adopt test productivity measures

Test productivity focuses on increasing the productivity of the testing process. Test optimization focuses on the use of efficient test methodologies, by developing and executing optimized test suites that help reduce redundancy and waste. There are many test optimization techniques available in the industry; two of the most popular are regression optimization and automation.

With a web application, it is possible to get up to 90% of functional coverage with automation. Make sure to track automation penetration on a regular basis and set the improvement goals every year. You can also leverage cross browser testing and mobile testing via automation to effectively reduce your manual QA effort.

Continued Maintenance and Support

The journey of any application doesn’t stop at development. Offering constant maintenance and support to ensure the application continues to meet the needs of users, and matches pace with industry, technology, and market trends is equally important.

Applications are also susceptible to hacking and misuse; offering round-the-clock security and ensuring business and user data is safe, requires you to constantly monitor your application. Continued support and maintenance is important to improve the quality and functionality of your app, ensure higher productivity, and enable smooth functioning of your business. Support activities include:

  • Server monitoring
  • Auto backup
  • Performance monitoring and optimization
  • Feedback monitoring
  • Security reviews
  • OS and device updates
  • Analytics monitoring
  • Knowledge management
  • Continuous testing

Ensure the Success of Your Application

The application world is crossing all boundaries, compelling companies to devote all their time, effort, and money into the development process. If you’re looking to ensure continued success of your application, you need to:

  • Offer an unmatched digital experience – one that makes your application stand apart from the crowd, while being easy and intuitive
  • Carefully build the correct technical architecture and design
  • Automate and modernize as many of your development tasks as possible to reduce costs and improve time to market
  • Integrate and consolidate the various aspects to unify the end-user experience
  • Leverage QA and testing mechanisms to ensure quality
  • Offer continued maintenance and support to ensure long-lasting productivity

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Brijmohan Bhavsar
About the Author – Brijmohan Bhavsar

Brijmohan Bhavsar is the Senior Project Manager(.Net) at INDUSA. He is an Application Developer himself, and Project Leader in a wide variety of business applications.

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Contributing Author: Malavika Nityanandam