One of the main reasons businesses choose ‘off-the-shelf’ over bespoke software is convenience. They take just a couple of Google searches to find and are ready to use on purchase. However, if you’re investing in new software, why wouldn’t you want a product tailored to your business?
While bespoke software development might take more time and be more expensive than an off-the-shelf product, the results are second to none.
Through the bespoke software development process, also known as the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), software engineers can define a complete plan for producing a high-quality, reliable software product.
Software development agencies widely use the SDLC model to enhance operational workflow and deliver advanced software solutions. Also, because managing software projects can be complex and tedious, this process helps to set achievable targets within time and budget.
There are several variations of the SDLC model, including Waterfall, Agile and Spiral. Below, we describe what we believe are the most crucial steps to bespoke software development and how we approach them when collaborating with our clients.
1. Initial consultation and requirements gathering
The first step in the software development process is the initial consultation. This step is crucial for establishing the specifications and goals of the project. For example, who will use the software? What do you plan to achieve? How do you expect the product to work?
During this phase, we hold several meetings to gather your requirements to work out how to best approach the project. We will identify any issues with your current software, determine the objectives for your new system and discuss any concerns you may have, from cost to timeliness.
2. Feasibility analysis
Following the initial consultation, we assess the project’s feasibility and specify it in more detail.
Through the feasibility analysis, we describe the technical and financial factors of the project, including how long it will take, how much it will cost and the resources required to complete it to an excellent standard. Also, we usually determine team member involvement and calculate the project’s return on investment (ROI) during the feasibility phase.
3. Creative technical design
Once we agree on the project’s specifications, our design team will start pulling together wireframes and prototypes of the software architecture. This is a vital step in the SDLC as it demonstrates an idea as to how the product will look, feel and work.
The design phase provides an opportunity for our designers to use their creative flair whilst considering budget and time constraints. It is also a great time to share mock-up screens and interfaces so the client can familiarise themselves with the software.
4. Coding and development
The coding and development phase is the longest but most crucial phase in the software development process. At this point, the development team will start coding your solution, from the front- and back-end to full-stack development.
The approach taken to coding and development depends on the model agreed upon in the consultation phase. Agile is the most common of the earlier-mentioned models because it encourages the continuous iteration of development testing throughout the entire SDLC.
As part of the Agile model, we hold daily Scrum meetings where each team member will share their progress and report any issues, enhancing operational efficiency.
5. Quality assurance testing
When the coding and development are complete, our quality assurance team will test it for defects and deficiencies before presenting it to the client. In addition, they will conduct functional and non-functional testing, removing any bugs or logical errors that might have occurred.
The length of the quality assurance testing phase depends on the developer’s skills, the complexity of the software and the client’s requirements.
6. Implementation and deployment
Once the tests are successful, it’s time to implement and deploy the software. However, it’s not as easy as simply handing the product to the client.
During this phase, we train every employee who will use the software before releasing it publicly. Then, depending on the project’s complexity, the software is launched at once or in stages.
Maintenance, the final stage of bespoke software development, is essential to ensure the product runs smoothly. Maintenance is an excellent benefit of bespoke software as it means we can continue to support our clients beyond deployment.
Here at Lightflows, we pride ourselves on our long-standing relationships with our clients, primarily thanks to our maintenance services. Once we launch our clients’ products, we are on hand to continue to take care of them, guaranteeing quality for years to come.
Overall, the SDLC is a highly effective framework for executing bespoke software. It allows software developers to set achievable targets and stay organised – whilst keeping track of time and budget constraints – to deliver an advanced, beautiful product.
If you want to know more about the software development process here at Lightflows, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – our friendly, talented team is always happy to help!