11 Top Software Development Best Practices to Follow

This blog is for you if

  • You are a developer and want to know the tips before starting with software development
  • You are an entrepreneur and looking for the right ways to develop software

Read on this article to know what software development best practices you can follow during the development process. We have crafted this blog with the help of our experienced software development consultants and developers.

To properly understand how effectively you can implement these best practices, you must know the complete software development process. If you are unaware of it, read our detailed guide on the software development process.

By the end of this blog, you will have a handful of tips and the best practices for your software project.

Let’s start with the best practices business should follow.

6 Software Development Best Practices for Developers

6 software development best practices developers can’t miss out on while developing software

  1. Learn and Practice the Design Patterns

  2. Design patterns are a design or representation of a problem in an object-oriented software system. It is a solution to common repeatable problems that you can solve using general predefined solutions.

    Since each design pattern or outline is used for a specific purpose, learning to apply them in different scenarios is a great skill.

    Learning design patterns make your project flexible, easier to maintain, and more adaptable to changes. With design patterns, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you face a problem. Instead, you rely on the experience of the top object-oriented designers and use ready-made design templates in your design to solve common problems.

  3. Understand Requirements Clearly Before Starting Development

  4. The next best practice developers and project teams must understand before beginning work on your project is requirements. Understanding the goals of a project is essential, along with the milestones set for the same.

    Developers must also go through the software requirement specification(SRS) document to clearly understand the requirements of the project.

    Not understanding the expected outcome of a project leads to miscommunication, unrelated features, and an overall lack of synchronization within a development team. Project managers must ensure that every software developer they hire is on board and works towards achieving the same goal.

    Having a document that clearly outlines all the requirements also favours development teams. The document must include project requirements and other design specifications (in the form of diagrams and charts) that teams refer to.

    If you want to know what SRS documentation looks like, download our free template. Go through this SRS documentation template to gain a better understanding.

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  5. Write Your Code That is Scalable, Readable, and Easy to Understand

  6. While working in a team, each developer is responsible for the code they write. When onboarding a new resource into the project, it becomes crucial that they get an easy hold of the already functional and readable code.

    Code that is messy to understand is not developer-friendly; it always helps to keep the code simple. This will cause a lot of overhead to the team for the rest of the software development lifecycle. Following proper indentation and placing code comments defining the purpose and output of a piece of code are two ways to prevent future troubles with code maintenance.

    Code reviews are a common process in organizations. During code reviews, developers explain what each function stands for. With proper commenting, code becomes readable even for the reviewer. This enhances code quality and helps you save time.

    The code written must also be divided and nested properly. It is not a good practice to repeat the same code at different points in the code. Instead, easily create a function and its callbacks whenever and wherever needed. In case of changes, you only need to change the code in one place, making the code easy to understand.

    The reason your code must be scalable, readable, and easy to understand is –

    • A scalable code is easily adaptable to new requirements with little change.
    • Software development process is not a one-person project. So it’s vital that other (or future) team members or even you six months down the line find it easy to understand, debug, maintain, and extend your code. That’s what a readable code facilitates.
    • An easy-to-understand code is easy to test, has fewer bugs, and anyone (apart from the writer) can easily use it.
  7. Write Proper Unit Test Cases for Each Code Section

  8. Unit testing allows you to test or check the behaviour of each function individually.

    Function testing becomes increasingly tricky as code becomes lengthy and files become larger. If you don’t proceed with unit testing in the first place, you end up writing code that will break and throw an error. This leads to a lot of inspection as you might not be sure where the problem first arises.

    You must write unit tests before you begin coding. This way, you write better code because you are already familiar with data types and the requirements of that particular function. Clarity about code increases the success of the unit test.

  9. Use a Reliable Bug Tracker Tool

  10. After a project has completed its development phase, testing commences. For this purpose, most organizations assign a dedicated QA team to test features and prepare reports on them. They may raise bugs, defects, and general issues about the software.

    The team needs to keep track of the defects to solve them systematically. As developers, bugs are assigned to you, so you rectify them on time.

    This is where a bug tracker or issue tracker comes into play. Here’s how a reliable bug tracking tool helps –

    • Can preemptively identify and resolve errors instead of addressing many errors in the production phase.
    • Integrating bug tracking with testing helps report, monitor, and prioritize bugs in real-time.
    • Ensures that there are no new errors after you fix the bug.
    • Promptly fixes all the errors on time, eliminating any disruption while using software products.
    • Reduces production time and cost of developing a software and increases ROI.
  11. Use Version Control System for Your Every Project

  12. In all different stages of a project lifecycle, version control plays a significant role and is one of the top software engineering practices. One of the most popular tools that all developers will be familiar with is Git. It is an integral tool in every developer’s coding journey.

    In a large team, many developers work simultaneously on the same file or feature. When multiple collaborators overwrite the same file, there is a massive risk of losing essential code elements. Version control helps prevent slip-ups like this.

    When using version control, developers can see the changes their teammates make and merge them into the final copy of the codebase. This way, code is protected from changes.

    During deployment and testing, version control also becomes crucial. The version that customers see should be the working product. If features get broken on releasing a newer version, the previous version will be safely available to deploy so that customers are not looking at a broken piece of software.

5 Top Software Development Best Practices for Businesses

Here are 5 software development best practices every business must follow.

  1. Choose the Right Software Development Partner

  2. The success of a software project highly depends on the team working on it. Having a skilled team familiar with the tools and frameworks used for development is essential to keep in mind.

    Instead of spending time and resources hiring and training in-house developers, outsource your requirements to a reliable software development partner. But make sure to choose a team with relevant, proven expertise, is communicative and customer-centric, and understands your specific requirements thoroughly.

    A custom software development company must also necessarily be adaptable to changing requirements. So prefer developers who have experience working in dynamic environments.

    Additionally, take careful measures in choosing a team well-versed in the language, different platforms, software architecture, and more required for the development. Choosing the right partner will help you scale as needed, save valuable resources and time, eliminate the back and forth, and rely on experience rather than guesswork.

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  3. Properly Understand the Development Process

  4. The development process includes the model of development to follow throughout the project. Understanding the development process includes environments in software development and software development tools.

    A development model gives you a structure to follow, and adhering to it will keep the team accountable. And this is important for the success of the project.

    A project also becomes easier to track when it follows a strict workflow. Understanding the development process thoroughly sets your expectations and helps you effectively communicate the same to your development partner.

  5. Divide Your Project into Small Chunks

  6. Software projects require a considerable time to become fully functional, and large projects take a long time to be viable prototypes.

    The intelligent thing to do here is to divide the development based on features into smaller parts that software developers can build independently. Doing so will cause the project to progress faster, and if you hire software developers, you can easily focus on honing one feature before moving on to the next.

    Every project manager must ensure that individual pieces fit perfectly into the larger picture. Otherwise, you will end up with a lot of unfinished defective features.

    It’s also easier to achieve, test, and perfect smaller milestones instead of targeting the project in its entirety.

  7. Create Documentation of Your Project

  8. However small a feature may seem, you must document it. So it is necessary to add software development KPIs to your document to track the project’s progress.

    Teams that document save a great deal of time and onboarding costs in the future when projects go through resource changes. New resources, when onboarded, adapt to the code easier when the documentation is all-inclusive.

    If a project requires rework on its features, existing documentation is handy for teams to refresh their knowledge of the codebase.

    Documentation also helps you focus on goals and improve feedback and its implementation. This is especially true under agile methodology, where goals and scope require reassessment after each sprint.

  9. Select the Right Software Development Methodology

  10. The suitable software model will depend on the requirements, the target consumer, the size of the project, and the timeframe of the project. Popular software development models include-

    • Agile Development Model
      In agile software development model, you work on the project features in iterations.
    • Waterfall Development Model (traditional approach)
      In waterfall model, you work on the features in a linear and sequential approach.
    • Scrum Model
      Similar to agile development, developers work in ‘sprints’; it usually takes two weeks to work on an iteration.
    • Prototype Methodology
      The software development team works to create a working prototype to display its functionality to the stakeholders, specifically clients.
    • Rapid Application Development
      Accelerates the development process to complete all development phases to release a prototype quickly. Easy for modular projects.

    Selecting a suitable software development methodology ensures successful completion. It keeps the schedule and cost in check, ensures effective communication, and sets the requirements, goals, and next steps.

    It’s time to move to the software development best practices for developers.

Got more questions? Here are the answers.

FAQs About Software Development Best Practices

  1. What are the different phases of the software development process?

  2. Software development comprises a set of steps performed in phases to develop software that is user-friendly and beneficial to the customer. These steps include:

    • Planning
    • Requirement gathering
    • Design
    • Development
    • Documentation and Testing
    • Deployment
    • Maintenance
  3. What are the coding standards in development?

  4. Coding standards allow developers to create readable, reusable, and error-free code. Developers follow a few critical coding standards, some of which are:

    • Writing simple code
    • Sticking to naming conventions
    • Including comments for better readability
    • Following proper indentation
    • Not repeating code
  5. Which are the best software development tools?

  6. Popular software development tools that developers must be familiar with are

    • Github
    • Visual Studio Code
    • Azure DevOps
    • Eclipse
    • Postman
    • Jira
    • Selenium

Develop Your Software by Following the Best Practices

Code written following the best practices becomes easier to read, understand, scale, test, and maintain. Development teams also stay within the expected timeframe and deliver bug-free features by following the coding standards.

There is a significant difference between a good developer and a great developer. This difference is in following proper software development standards. Following best practices when building applications helps everyone—the organisations, developers, and end-users.

Using these software development best practices, you will maintain high efficiency in projects and complete each phase effortlessly.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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