What is Software Development? A Complete Guide to Know Everything

  • Want to solve business issues as efficiently as possible?
  • Want to optimize the overall work process leading to the employee’s productivity?
  • Want to develop a flexible and scalable solution that may change over time?

If yes, this blog is for you.

If you have a software development idea and want to know more about it, this blog will help you.

Let’s explore software development in detail. Here you will learn about:

  • What is software development?
  • What is the process of software development?
  • What are the different types and varieties of software development?
  • What are the benefits of software development?

So, without further delay, let’s begin.

What Does Software Development Mean?

Software development refers to a series of steps that a software developer uses to create computer programs.

The entire software development process includes:

  • Requirement understanding
  • Software designing
  • Software development
  • Software documention, and
  • Software testing
For example – Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a high-quality software application that helps businesses plan, manage, monitor and measure different processes. There are several software programs similar to ERP, such as CRM.

To develop ERP, businesses need to conduct a requirement study, select the operating systems, and incorporate software development methodology to develop and implement the ERP.

What is the Process of Software Development? (+7 Steps)

The software development life cycle involves several phases that can help plan the system software. However, you need to hire a software development company who follows the right software development process to create an ideal software. It is important for all the stakeholders to be involved in the software development project to create a useful and usable solution for computers or mobile devices.

We will take you through the top 7 steps in the custom software development lifecycle.

  1. Prepare Software Development Plan for Your Software Project

    Planning is important for effective software application development. The software developer must know the goals and purpose of building the software to deliver as expected, easily and efficiently. Below is the layout of the iterative processes that goes into the software development planning stage.

    Align the software development goals to your business purpose: You should identify how this software will help your company’s overall vision and objectives.

    Know the importance of developing a custom software: This will help you choose the right programming language, approach and methodology for rapid application development.

    Choose the right software development tools: Using the right software development tools will help you evaluate and pick the right tech stack and also perform effective resource management (you will know if you have resources in-house or do you need to hire people for enterprise software development).

    Create an estimate/budget for the entire software development life cycle (SDLC): When planning, you can also estimate the overall budget for development as you get the requirements listed.

    Evaluate the competency of the software in achieving your end goals: When you define the goals and purpose, you can decide if the computer software fits the business needs.

    Get started with a blueprint: Planning also helps you structure the team, choose the programming languages, and build the tech stack needed for the development life cycle (SDLC). Hence, you have a roadmap to follow.

    Thus, this sort of structured planning will help you evaluate the scope and define the requirements for the software application.

  2. Gather Software Development Requirements and Perform Feasibility Analysis

    Identifying and selecting the technical requirements for agile software development plays an important role in choosing the operating systems and defining the software development processes.

    During the software requirements gathering phase, you should also conduct market research. It can help you understand the features and functionality needed for the software application. At the same time, it can help you plan the usability design better. Here are a few questions to ask while going through the discovery phase.

    • Who is the user of the software application? How do they use other similar softwares?
    • Do you need to integrate other APIs?
    • What are some of the gaps that exist in the niche that your software solution can fulfil?
    • What are some of the customers’ pain points when using other software applications?

    When you complete the software development discovery process, it helps you define the work scope and determine the technology stack. This also helps identify further software development processes.

  3. Start With Design and Prototyping for Your Software

    At this point, you complete the planning phase and enter into the development stage. The first step towards effective software development is an efficient visual.

    • You need to start with the architecture design. Architecture design will help define the overall structure, plan the interactions and decide the user dynamics for the application. This type of design will give you the blueprint to design the software app.
    • The second stage of software design is creating the wireframes for the software application. Wireframes will give a two-dimensional view into the software aesthetics.
    • Prototype development helps devise the 3D view into your software application. The prototype will give a view into the user flows and interface design. You can use tools such as Adobe, InVision and Figma to create the prototypes

    The software tools can help the teams collaborate to ensure an effective application design. It will help incorporate the feedback in real-time and improve the quality of app aesthetics.

  4. Begin With the Software Development to Include the Functionalities Ideated

    At this point, you have the software design ready and available. At the same time, you have already determined the scope of work and the development process. It is time to use the programming language and development tools to begin the backend development of the software.

    At this stage, you will use the software development kit to ensure smooth development. You can also add the latest technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to boost the usability and functionality of custom software solution.

    The development team will work on the software code as per the requirements specified. Different processes are used for software development. While it is an important phase, it is equally risky. You need to hire dedicated software developers to integrate features and functionalities as per your custom requirements.

  5. Perform Testing to Check the Bugs in Your Software

    Conducting software testing is critical for quality assurance. Continuous integration to improve testing outcomes. The idea behind testing the application is to improve the software application’s functionality, usability and stability.

    By identifying the bugs during the early stage of development, you can avoid unexpected result such as crashing or invalid result. The idea is to test the application across devices and operating systems/browsers to enhance usability and evaluate the performance across them.

    Software Testing TypeDescription
    Performance Testing
    • This testing determines the software’s responsiveness, stability and speed
    • A series of tests are run across networks, browsers and devices to evaluate the performance
    Load Testing
    • This test will evaluate how the application performs when the number of users increases or decreases
    Unit Testing
    • Every small unit within the application is tested to evaluate its functionality
    Usability Testing
    • Helps assess if the application is usable and user-friendly, and is more of an interface test
    Security Testing
    • Assesses if the software is secure from external and internal threats.
  6. Deploy the Software Once the Functionalities Gets Tested

    This is the final stage of the software development life cycle. In the software deployment stage, the developed software is launched on the planned servers, operating systems and devices. The application is fully tested and evaluated before the launch.

    The software engineers will conduct the optimization and pre-launch formalities to ensure the discoverability of the software solution. In most cases, the companies performing software development will conduct beta testing to check if the users are ready to embrace the application. They will also conduct this test to check for deployment-related issues and risks.

    Once everything is finalized, the software will be launched and ready to use.

  7. Consistently Maintain the Software and Update for Additional Features

    Once the application is launched, the software engineers are responsible for maintaining software solutions. As the software development process is iterative, launching the solution is not the end. You will receive feedback, need to implement new features, and upgrade the app solution to meet the new demands.

    As part of the maintenance, you will need to continuously improve the app and incorporate the changes demanded. During this phase, you will also need to update to meet the new OS version requirements and refinements.

You have learned about the process of software development. Now, explore the different types of software development to have a more understanding on the topic.

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Which are the Different Types of Software Development?

There are 8 different types of software applications that you can develop for your business requirements. This includes:

  1. Application Software
  2. System Software
  3. Driver Software
  4. Embedded Software
  5. Open-source Software
  6. API Development
  7. Data-science software development
  8. Software tools development

Let’s discuss the top 8 types of software development.

8 Types of Software DevelopmentExplanationExamples
Application SoftwareApplication software is a type of software development that helps develop a computer program for specific business functions. They are developed to assist the user with a particular task or function.Eg: Microsoft Office and Slack
System SoftwareThis software development is planned to run on a particular type of hardware and application program.Eg: Operating Systems – macOS, iOS, Windows
Driver SoftwareThis software development involves developing a programming interface to manage and control specific lower-level interfaces. It helps the device hardware with the operating principles.Eg: Graphic Cards and Network Cards
Embedded SoftwareEmbedded software is a combination of computer processor, memory, and I/O peripheral device that helps with a dedicated function.Eg: Image processing systems – medical imaging equipment
Open-source SoftwareThis is a computer software released under a specific license allowing the user the rights to change the code.Eg: Linux, and SugarCRM
API DevelopmentThis software development is the foundation comprising procedures and functions to help software to access data and features.Eg: Travel booking, Google Maps, and PayPal
Data Science Software DevelopmentThe process of identifying, extracting, and mining data patterns to help build analytical patterns for predictive analytics and insight building.Eg, Forecasting software
Software Tools DevelopmentThis is a computer program that helps with designing, coding, developing, and deploying the software solutions using pre-built coding templates.Eg: IntelliJ IDEA, GitHub, and Atom

Got clarity on the different types of software development? Let’s learn about the importance of software before moving ahead with anything further.

What are the Benefits of Software Development for Your Business?

We have discussed 12 important benefits of software development. Let’s understand each benefit in detail.

Does your business need application software? Here is why you should build the software solution. Let’s discuss the importance of software in detail.

  1. Automates WorkFlow and Business Processes Enhancing Operational Efficiency

    With suitable software, you can automate repetitive tasks and ensure smooth processes. It can help improve information routing and improve business decision-making.

    For example, if you use CRM to manage and nurture leads, you can automatically move them through the sales and marketing funnel. This way, you can decide which leads are qualified and which ones need to be dropped out. It will also help you make quicker decisions regarding sales and marketing campaigns.

  2. Boosts Business Productivity Leading to Increased Competitiveness and Profitability

    When you use the apt software solution to enhance the business processes, you also improve employee productivity. They won’t waste their time working on mundane tasks. Software developers uses software development frameworks to speed up the development and optimize outcomes.

    For example, when you use inventory management software to handle your stocks, you will know the stockouts in advance. It can help you plan your supply chain better. You can also use this software to plan predictive maintenance for better outcomes.

  3. Simplifies Business Decision Making Helping to Better Optimize Outcome

    You get a complete view and visibility into your business processes. This allows you to know how the shop floor processes react in real-time. For example, when you know what your sales conversions look like, it becomes easier to know what you can do to improve the conversion rate. The software solution can also help you get a bird’s eye view into your customer’s purchases, which can help you select the next week’s supply to enhance sales.

  4. Automates Operations and Tasks Enabling Reduced Errors

    If processes depend on each other, the software solution can make it more streamlined and in sync. For example, in any organization, the sales and marketing teams collaborate to offer the best possible solution to the market. However, the data may not be transferred easily if they work as silos. With software like ERP, the different departments get a view of the data securely. It can improve operations and enhance business outcomes.

  5. Improves Communication to Streamline Business Operations

    Modern businesses aren’t working in silos. They are more collaborative. The different stakeholders need to be involved to offer the best solutions to the users. Software solutions can help with real-time communication and collaboration. Intranet software or project management tools can help with instant collaboration and help businesses gain feedback.

  6. Enhances Customer Service Leading to Better Customer Relationships in the Long Run

    As a business, customer service plays a pivotal role. The software solution can help enhance the service by offering real-time communication with the users, getting their feedback, and providing them with solutions. Chatbots are software solutions that allow businesses to connect with potential and existing users to support them through their journey. It can enhance the customer’s experience.

  7. Reduces Business Costs Helping Gain Higher Profits

    When you employ software to help you with certain business aspects, you remove the need for hiring resources. It also saves you from establishing the important infrastructure needed to support the resources. This can reduce the overhead costs substantially.

  8. Planning to Build a Software Solution for Your Business?

    Let’s connect. We have experienced software developers who can help you design a roadmap to bring your idea into reality.

  9. Software Offers a Competitive Edge

    When you indulge in software development, you provide your business with the necessary capabilities to help deliver the ideal customer experience. You get a competitive edge by delivering a software solution in sync with your business goals and vision. The right application software can help you improve the functionality of the business.

    Suppose you are a retailer. Developing software that can help you understand your customers better, and offer personalized solutions will give you a competitive edge.

  10. Software Systems are Designed to Meet Your Business Goals

    When development teams work to offer programming software, they will design it for your specific requirements. It will help you define the unique requirements and plan the solution for diverse opportunities.

    For example, when you customize ERP for your small business, there will be functions you don’t need. In some cases, you might need more visibility into certain departments. You can tap into the processes with the right customization and software and gain more visibility.

  11. Software Solutions Brings in Better Security

    When you develop software components to meet your unique goals, you will design a security-first solution. You will define the security layers and authentication formats that help plan your software for multiple use cases.

    For example, if you offer the same software to multiple people across the organization, you need to create role-based access. You will also need to provide individual login and authentication solutions.

  12. Software Help You with Efficient Integration and Accessibility

    When you develop software, you can integrate the application with legacy software and other solutions. This allows improved accessibility within and outside the organization. You can easily access the solution from anywhere.

    For example, when you develop a mobile or desktop application for your enterprise, you can integrate it with the CRM or ERP that is already in place. This way you can access the data while on the go for better decision-making and improved operations.

  13. Softwares Enable Accelerated Time-to-market

    With software development, you can reach your target customers faster. This enables an accelerated time to the market helping you reach more customers and improve engagement levels.

    The development process will ensure that your software are ready for the market. For example, if you follow the right process and use the specific tools to build the software, you will be able to launch your software faster into the market.

    Software systems have great potential to boost your business profits, streamline processes, and achieve better operational efficiency. However, you should know the different software development methodologies to leverage the most from a developed software solution.

Which are the Different Types of Software Development Methodologies?

First, let’s understand the meaning of software development methodology.

What is Software Development Methodology?

A methodology is a framework that helps developers structure, plan, and have complete control of the overall development process. The lifecycle of a methodology includes phases from ideation to deployment of software. Because of this, it becomes smooth to develop even complex software easily without facing hurdles. Now, let’s learn about different types of methodologies.

There are 8 different types of software development methodologies to streamline development process. Understanding these methodologies helps to lower the failure ratio during the development process. Check out the below table to know 8 different software development methodologies.

8 Software Development Methodology NameDescription
Agile Methodology

Definition: The entire project is divided into several phases in this methodology. To succeed in this process, the different stakeholders need to collaborate and work towards improving the solutions.

The Process Lifecycle:

  • Concept: This will help determine the scope of the work and requirements.
  • Inception: Structure the development team and the tech stack.
  • Iteration: In this phase, the developers and designers collaborate to build the code.
  • Release: The code is deployed to the operating systems and servers.
  • Maintenance: Continuous upgrades to maintain the code and improve the features.
  • Retirement: This phase comes into play when the software solution becomes obsolete.
Waterfall Methodology

Definition: This methodology involves sequential development. It involves phase-wise software development that involves design, development and deployment.

The Process Lifecycle:

  • Requirements: The first stage involves gathering the requirements for the software development.
  • Design: Design phase includes planning the wireframes, and developing the UI and UX for the software.
  • Implementation: In this phase, the developers complete the coding and backend development of the designs.
  • Testing: The developers will assess and evaluate the code and interface for usability, performance and stability.
  • Deployment and Maintenance: Once satisfied with the quality, the teams will deploy the softwareand work towards upgrading it.
Iterative Methodology

Definition: This methodology focuses on developing small portions of the software. The methodology doesn’t focus on developing the entire software; it works on implementing smaller requirements.

The Process Lifecycle:

  • Requirement: Divide the entire requirement into smaller phases.
  • Design: Design every chunk individually using the requisite philosophy.
  • Implementation: Coding and backend development of the software application.
  • Testing: Test every individual phase for better assessment and deployment.
  • Review: Review the launched software to define the next iteration cycle.
Spiral Methodology

Definition: Spiral model of software development is used for risk assessment. It combines iterative methodology with a waterfall process to help with software development.

The Process Lifecycle:

  • Requirements Gathering: In this process, you will determine the requirements for the software.
  • Preliminary Design: This involves creating the first prototype based on the requirements.
  • Risk Assessment: For every prototype designed, the development team will need to assess the risks.
  • Construction of the System: Build the system based on the final approved prototype.
  • Routine Maintenance: Keep up with the new feature requirements. Plan for regular updates and upgrades.
Scrum Methodology

Definition: Scrum software development methodology is similar to agile software development methodology that combines iterative and incremental methodology.

The Process Lifecycle:

  • Product Backlog Creation: The features and functionality are transformed into user stories.
  • Sprint Planning: Select the important stories, divide them into smaller tasks and prioritize them.
  • Sprint Development: Develop the individual phases.
  • Testing and Demo: Test every sprint. Create a demonstration of the user story.
  • Next Sprint Planning: Plan for the next sprint with the team.
V-Model

Definition: The methodology helps build the entire software using a sequential v-shape software development process.

The Process Lifecycle:

  • Requirement Analysis: Know the functionality, features and customer expectations before developing the software app.
  • System Design: Develop the complete hardware and plan the communication.
  • Architecture Design: Check how the components interact and plan for the system design.
  • Module Design: The system is divided into smaller modules for detailed design.
  • Coding: It is important to code the designed product for backend and frontend capabilities.
  • Unit Testing: Test every small module to assess the functionality.
  • Integration Testing: Check if the integrated modules are functioning well.
  • System Testing: Test the entire system including the evaluation of functionality and features.
  • Acceptance Testing: Check if the users are ready to use and feel comfortable using the software in real-world environment
Incremental Methodology

Definition: The incremental software methodology allows you to break down the entire requirement into multiple modules that can be designed individually.

The Process Lifecycle:

  • Requirement Analysis: The entire requirement of the software is noted.
  • Design: The software is designed to suit the requirements.
  • Code: Follows a system-specific coding and programming language.
  • Test: You should finally test the small module you have developed.

Every module undergoes this phase individually before committing to the build.

Prototype Model

Definition: This software development process helps build a suitable prototype. It can help mitigate development risks and enhance the quality of the software app.

The Process Lifecycle:

  • Requirements: Start by defining the requirements for the software development.
  • Quick Design: Create the preliminary design for the software.
  • Build Prototype: Devise the prototype based on the design.
  • User Evaluation: Evaluate the prototype using user acceptance testing.
  • Refine Prototype: Based on the feedback of the users, refine the prototype.
  • Implement and Maintain: Develop the software using coding practices. Maintain the software solution using software upgrade practices.
RAD Model

Definition: This methodology combines iterative development with prototyping. It doesn’t need a lot of planning to execute the software.

The Process Lifecycle:

  • Business Modeling: Identify how the information will flow across the different business processes.
  • Data Modeling: This information will help define the data objects.
  • Process Modeling: Use the objects to information flow and data objects to achieve the process descriptions.
  • Software Application Generation: Create and code the actual system based on the design and structure.
  • Testing and Turnover: As prototypes are individually tested, the overall testing time is reduced, and the software is launched faster.

The above are the 8 different software development methodologies that get followed by developers. Let’s now evaluate the risks associated with software development.

What are the Risk Factors in Software Development?

We have described 6 risk factors associated with the software development. If you don’t use the right methodology, it can hamper the development processes.

Here are the 6 risk factors in software development that you should consider.

  1. Encountering Issues with Coding Leading to Poor-Quality Software Launch

    If your code isn’t up to the mark, it might impair the development and lead to the launch of a poor-quality software. It will impact your reputation, and your software will not be accepted. In some cases, if it is accepted by the store, the coding issues can make you lose customers.

  2. Unrealistic Deadlines Causing Compromised End Output

    Very tight and unreasonable deadlines can cause you to speed up software application development. Eventually, it can hamper the overall design, usability, and quality of the application. This can, in turn, make you rework the software. To avoid this risk, you should set practical deadlines and divide the software development into smaller phases.

  3. Mapping Productivity of Developers to Avoid Bugged Outcome

    The biggest risk is when the team struggles with productivity, which can slow down the software development progress. It is important to avoid this risk by communicating with all stakeholders regularly and managing the pace of development.

  4. Overshooting the Budget Due to Constant Changes in Requirements Leading to Funding Issues

    You would have planned the budget for specific requirements and work scope. However, you would overshoot the budget if the scope keeps changing or you need to rebuild the solution. This can prove risky; in some cases, you might have to abandon the project owing to fewer funds available.

  5. Poor Risk Management or Untapped Mitigating Plan Causing Revenue Losses

    Most software developers can analyze and estimate the risks involved with a software solution in the early stages. However, if you cannot analyze and determine the risks, it will lead to poor planning and ineffective project management if you cannot analyze and determine the risks.

  6. Possibilities of Project Management Inadequacies

    Having a project manager for your software development project is essential to streamline operations. However, there are possible risks in managing and executing the project with heavy reliance on a project manager. This is because humans are bound to make errors. Such errors can lead to missing deadlines and unclear goals. With proper planning and adequate checkpoints even for project managers, you can set the right expectations and eliminate the risks.

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Now, you have learned everything about software development. Get to explore the top qualities of secure software to have a complete understanding of the topic.

What are the Qualities of Developing a Secured Software?

Security is integral to software development. It is important for you to deliver a security-first solution to ensure your data and information are safe. Here are the qualities of secure software.

  1. Security Should be In-Built

    This can help prevent people from using the data or information. It will limit access to your information. For example, your Google cloud platform comes with in-built security. If you develop a software application using this platform, it will contain several in-built layers of security.

  2. Devise Functionality Maps for Secure Solutions

    When you plan your software, you should devise practical security maps for fully secure solutions. Make sure to look at all the vulnerable aspects of the software , and plan the security layers you need. Would you want them to use the authentication to get in? Do you want them to use role-based access to protect information?

  3. Evaluated Risks with Recovery Plans

    This means you should provide access to the essential assets while maintaining the requisite information or data security. You should balance both aspects of development for critical software application success.

  4. Developed in Sync with the Security Requirements

    Before you plan the software application security, you should define the requirements. Secure software is one that has all the requirements and features defined during the planning stage. It will help ensure that all the elements are properly introduced during development.

Let’s answer a few frequently asked questions that can help improve project planning and execution.

FAQ About Software Development

  1. How much does it cost to create a custom software?

    The average cost of developing application software ranges between $50,000 to $250,000. The cost of software development depends on the features you want to integrate, platform of development, and number of hours required to develop a software.

  2. How much time does it take to develop software?

    The total average time for custom software development is typically between 4 to 12 months. The timeline of software project development depends on the size and complexity of the project.

  3. Which programming languages are used for software development?

    Here is a list of the top programming languages used to develop the software product.

    Programming LanguageDescription
    JavaJava is a general-purpose programming language that can help develop desktop, mobile, and web applications.
    PythonPython is a high-level programming language that helps with web and application development. It uses unique syntax and lays emphasis on readability.
    C++C++ is an object-oriented programming language that helps deliver both low-level and high-level functions. It can help build intermediate to highly difficult software applications.
    PHPPHP is a server-side scripting language that is used to build content management systems and web servers.
    RubyRuby is a high-level GP programming language that uses straightforward syntax and CGI scripts to build software applications.
  4. What is the difference between software development and software engineering?

    Software engineering is the software application of engineering principles to physical systems to design, develop and test them. It includes analyzing the user’s requirements and designing software applications to meet these unique needs.

    On the other hand, software development deals with conceptualizing, specifying requirements, designing, developing, and testing software programs.

Ready to Develop Your Custom Software Solution?

This guide saw everything you need to build a software program. We took you through the meaning and types of software development. Software development can help you personalize the solution, attain business goals, and define processes that are unique to your vision. With the right software, you can automate processes and enhance the business’ productivity.

To build well-planned software with no bugs, you need to partner with a software development company to build a well-planned software with no bugs. Space-O has delivered diverse software applications, including system software, using the latest technologies.

Connect with our team if you want to plan and develop software for your business needs, connect with our team. We will translate your vision into a defined application.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies. 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.