Developing a software program is a very intricate task, and there’s a lot of room for error. Getting it right isn’t always easy, and even dedicated software agencies make glaring mistakes from time to time.
Thankfully, the world of software development today isn’t what it was two decades ago. Nowadays, there are clearly outlined principles and best practices that are virtually agreed on by everyone in the sector. These principles and best practices will increase your chances of success and improve the final product.
Continue reading this article and learn how talented agencies put the principles below into practice for excellence in telecom software development.
#1 Make Sure the Software Specifications is Clear for All Parties Involved
One of the major reasons why software projects have one of the highest failure rates among all sectors is because of one simple thing: inconcete and hazy specifications.
When you try to build a house, the first thing you need to do is go to an engineer and agree on all the finer points of the blueprint. You can’t simply ask the workers to change the foundation of your house mid-construction. When you engineer a product, similarly, the first thing you do is design the product with an engineer, build a few simple prototypes (which are very costly), and once that’s approved, only very minor things can be changed about the product.
Since software isn’t as physical as a house or mass-produced product, clients, mistakenly, think that the software project is far more malleable and changes can be made at any stage of development very easily. That’s why they don’t set out to clearly define the software specifications prior to working on the project.
While it is true that it is easier to change the foundations of the software program than it is to change the foundations of a house, it is still very costly, and if you’re not careful, you’ll easily run into release delays and cost overruns. Many software agencies try to sell ‘flexibility’ during development time as a virtue while failing to properly deliver the project on time and within budget.
Of course, there are project management paradigms like agile software development that make use of continuous client feedback and allow the software agency to make changes on the fly, but this is only possible if you have a team with the proper structure and skill set to pull it off, and not everyone has that. In that case, make sure you lay out the specifications of the software project clearly for both sides is the preferable route.
#2 Make Sure There is Robust Quality Assurance Management
Software engineering isn’t like other types of engineering, there is far more room for error, and no matter what you do, there are always going to be hidden bugs and errors in your software. Of course, since you can’t absolutely eliminate bugs, some level of bugs is acceptable depending on the sector, but you must keep bugs to a minimum and reduce their impact, and to do that, you need proper and robust quality assurance management.
By making sure you hire skilled quality assurance engineers, create space for testing and debugging in your software development pipeline, and dedicate proper project time to it, you can create a robust system that reduces the number and impact of bugs and errors on your project substantially. This is especially important if you’re working on a software project for a delicate sector like the financial or health sector.
Lastly, it is important to understand that not all bugs are created equal, and your team needs to learn how to prioritize debugging in certain areas over others. Which of these two do you think is a worse bug:
- A visual bug that has a 1 in a hundredth chance of occurring that makes a button in the UI appear slightly misplaced.
- A logic bug that occurs 1 in the thousandth time that miscalculates a key figure and makes the long-term analysis the software provides worthless.
Everyone understands the latter is a far more serious bug, even if it occurs less. You need a system in place that will allow you to prioritize fixing the latter over the former.
#3 Make Sure You Follow the Conventions of the Sector You’re Developing Software for
Although there are some principles that universally apply across the board and are foundational when developing good software, what’s equally important is learning the principles and conventions of the specific sector you want to develop software for. Only then will you be able to fully leverage the power of technology and make sure the software you’re developing really adds value.
What you prioritize, what techniques you use, and the mindset you set out from should and will change substantially depending on the sector. For example, when developing real-time telecommunication software, performance and connection stability take precedence. When designing financial software for a large company, however, you must always have backups and design algorithms to make sure everything is transmitted and stored with utmost accuracy.