The Basic Methodology of Software Development Services

Software development is a technically complex process which goes through various stages during the whole development procedure. The concept is termed as software (S/W) development life cycle (SDLC) and involves various stages of (S/W) development. To successfully offer software development services, organizations should define a development methodology that suits the requirements of the project. Different projects may require different methodologies therefore software development service providers must evaluate the project requirements first and then formulate the strategy for the software development life cycle.

Most of the software development service providers have a pre-defined methodology that is implemented while developing a software. The process gets a little modified according to the project requirements but the essence of the project development procedure remains the same. The basic stages of software development are as mentioned below:

Requirements Specifications: The first and foremost step while developing software must be gathering the requirements of the project. The organizations must start with analyzing the feasibility and the requirements of the project. Some questions that must be clarified in this phase are:

What are client’s expectations of the project?

What would the user want in the software?

Is the project technically feasible or not?

The above questions, along with many more, must be answered and properly justified before software development service providers move any further.

Design: This stage involves development of an outlay for developing the project with all the little details included. The project requirements are evaluated and an implementation strategy for achieving these requirements in the form of a software is formulated. The designing phase is divided into two categories i.e. system design and component design. The system design is design of the software as a whole where questions like how the individual components will interact with each other are answered. The component design phase, as the name suggests, deals with the planning for each individual component.

Implementation: The components are actually created in the implementation phase. The design layout created in the previous phase is implemented and converted into a machine language that the computer can understand and respond to. Programming languages such as C, C++, C#, Asp.Net, PHP etc are used according to the project requirement to achieve the best possible results. The source code and database are created in the implementation phase. Accurate and effective designing of the software is essential for a successful implementation of the software.

Testing: The testing phase usually starts after the components are created but in some cases the software development service provider can start the testing along with the implementation phase. This methodology may require a little more effort and time but the end solution is void of any discrepancies or errors as they are detected and removed as soon as a component is developed.

Installation: The components of the software are combined together and the completed software is installed and executed on a computer system. If all the previous phases have been performed expertly then there will be no problem in the installation phase. A thorough testing is again recommended after installing the software to make sure that the end solution is working as desired.

Maintenance: It has been noticed that almost every software goes through changes and modification after it is completed. This may be due to some new requirements, overlooked features or the change in the business strategy. This requires constant evaluation and maintenance of the software.

Most of the software (S/W) development service providers follow the above described development methodology for creating softwares. It is the basic methodology of S/W development services. Once the software is completed and delivered successfully, the task of the service provider does not end. A professional S/W development company will offer maintenance services to insure a smooth and well functioning solution to their clients.

Return on Investment in Software Development

Hi I thought I would write a series of articles on a topic that I believe is becoming absolutely critical in the software development industry, that being the magical and mysterious ROI (return on investment) in software development.

As the owner of a programming company here in South Africa, I decided at the outset of the company that a rule of thumb for accepting any software development project would be that I would need to figure out how to measure the ROI in that particular project. Now you may or may not be surprised to know that in most instances my clients don’t actually think of this measure before taking on the project, they know that they have a business problem or business need that needs to be solved with technology and are willing to pay an amount of money for that. Experience over the years however has shown me that the best way to retain that client in the long term and or to make more business from that client is to prove a ROI in some way on that software development project.

I find this measure to be critical because for my companies purposes it shows exactly how successful a project is to my client in monetary terms. The bigger my impact through the software I develop, the more successful I have been at satisfying that clients need, the easier it is for me to go back to that client and offer further services. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe that a project coming in on time or under cost is a great measure of the success of that project at all, this is typically what IT companies do. If I really want to do a great job for my client then I always intentionally build a monitoring tool into the software I develop for them and that tool must track the ROI for the client in some way and present a report to the client whenever they want to see what this piece of software really is worth to them, be it through savings, additional income, time savings, it doesn’t matter so long as you track the value.
So how do you go about figuring out the ROI on software development project?

This is the difficult portion because it requires listening to the clients need carefully and scoping there need correctly, once you have done this, it should become fairly obvious what the client is trying to solve by having the software developed, this should then be a clear indication of the measure to be used on ROI. For example,a client of mine wished to have a system developed that automated the process of allowing shareholders in various properties to swap there owned weeks with each other. Before the client came to me they did this process manually, ie called there shareholders to find out if they were willing to exchange a week with a fellow shareholder that already gave an indication that they wanted to swap there week etc. This took a lot of time and for the administration fee that the client asked to do this, I suspect the profit was very little. Once we had developed the system and allowed the shareholders to interact with each other through the website instead of the web system, the ROI was very clear, why?

-We tracked each exchange in the system, each exchange has a monetary value associated to it.

-The clients telephone bill dropped significantly

-More swaps occur because of the ease at which shareholders can swap weeks, instead of having to go through a process of calling the company then waiting etc, this increase in sales is measurable

-Because the client offered the service electronically he could increase his administration fee.

All this information the client could get through there system thereby ensuring that he could very clearly see what his ROI was.

I believe without a doubt that if you truly want to complete a software development project successfully for a client, then you need to build a ROI tool into the software. Convince the client to do this, if you cant do that then build it free of charge, but make sure that you get your client to look at these figures. In the long term this will have a positive effect on your business and keeps your software development projects honest in terms of creativity and keeping the clients needs in mind constantly.

Please offer your comments and views on this topic, I am very sure that peoples opinions and views on this vary quite considerably, I am very willing to listen to other opinions in this regard.

In my next article on ROI and software, I will be describing more specifically how you can measure ROI on certain types of projects, in this case it will be how to measure ROI precisely in SMS campaigns.

Advantages of Custom Software Development for Different Businesses

Every software company strives to maintain a close relationship with its customers by offering customized solutions to their various requirements. Hence, the role of custom software development has grown in prominence in recent times. During a period when business organizations are making all kinds of efforts to become the industry leaders, a stereotypical product with the same age-old functionalities may curtail their advancing chances.

For securing exclusivity in business goals, custom-made or user-friendly software is the most excellent choice at the moment. The major goal of custom software development is to generate an as precise end-product as demanded by the customer. A tailor-made product must be developed after understanding the requisites and preferences of the client.

Customized packages are devised by making use of the most recent technology. They are exclusively developed to satisfy the customer’s business needs. Any difficulty or disliking of the customer that grows out of the building process can be rectified during the formulation of the software with his/her permission and this is the most important advantage of such package development.

As soon as the system is built and delivered to the client, there may be no requirement to make changes to it since it is already developed to perfection. In case of a ready-made package, a business concern may need to carry out a stringent procedure of reconstituting their goals (usually called configuration) so as to comply with the application (which usually turns out to be very expensive since you are dependent on the product provider for development).

Businesses may need to get in touch with the manufacturer of the product for alterations in the presently existing system to match the necessities. This consumes plenty of precious time, energy and financial resources. The tailor-made product is built eyeing specific requirements of the end users and therefore, the complete custom application development costs need to be paid by one client which does not take place in case of the ready-made software.

After the development stage, custom-made system can be implemented right away because the customer hardly requires any modification in the delivered product. The time invested at the time of building custom system may be greater. However, this must not be an impediment in selecting a customized package for an organization’s particular function. However, the question arises why the software development life cycle goes up during the building phases.

This is because of the fact that the procurement of the ideal tailor-made product demands strict inspection to ensure proper comprehension, analysis and precise execution of thoughts into the final product. In addition, ready-made package may result in lower levels of expenses than custom software development; but, the high expenditure in the latter case takes place only due to profound research and mounting customer demands since the end product needs to be an output sought by the client.

A committed custom application development company always communicates with the client through teleconferencing, telephone, electronic mail or chat, regardless of being onshore or offshore. This is the most crucial activity since the requirements can be transmitted and understood regularly and no possibility for ambiguities is brought forth. Customized software demands frequent communication before as well as after the development stage.