One of the first and most important questions that you need to answer before developing enterprise software applications is how much will enterprise software development cost me and my company?
While that question is notoriously difficult to answer, as a software development company may not know all the costs in advance (some hidden may appear later in the project), according to McKinsey, 66% of enterprise software applications projects have cost overruns and 33% have schedule overruns.
In other words, enterprise software solutions can cost more and take more time to develop than was originally thought they would.
The question is, can you do something about this and ensure that your enterprise software applications don’t go over budget or time?
As a matter of fact, you can! We rounded up not just one or two, but 10 different best practices you can follow to ensure the process of developing enterprise software applications is seamless and successful.
But, before we get to that part, let’s take the time to better understand enterprise software solutions as a whole — specifically, what the enterprise software development life cycle is like.
What is Enterprise Software Development Life Cycle?
To better understand enterprise software applications, you need to understand what its development life cycle is.
Enterprise software development life cycle is simply a specific series of stages through which the software will go through during its development phase.
SDLC consists of six different stages, which are:
Phase 1: Requirement Gathering And Analysis
In the very first stage of SDLC, enterprise software applications developers must gather important information for customers in order to start to develop their software.
This phase is especially important as it serves to solve any uncertainties about the product or software. Otherwise, if these are not nipped in the bud, they can prove to be a burden and even catastrophic in the latter stages of SDLC.
Typically, this information from customers can be collected in different ways. For example, you can conduct a survey on your website to hear what your customers are thinking.
Another way is to interview customers. For instance, you can have the project manager sit down with customers. This is perhaps an even better method than simply surveying website visitors, as it will allow you to better understand who the end-user is and what they want from the enterprise software applications.
In the end, this stage should help you answer some crucial questions before you actually start developing enterprise software applications, but ultimately, that won’t matter much if you don’t ask the right questions to the right people.
Usually, all of this information is collected in the Software Requirements Specifications (SRS) document.
Phase 2: Design
After gathering and analyzing this information, software development moves on to the second stage, which is design.
In the design phase, enterprise software developers take the information gathered in the first phase and prepare the system and software design.
During this stage of SDLC, software development firms define the overall system architecture and specify the system and hardware requirements.
From this stage, developers can move on to what is perhaps their favorite phase.
Phase 3: Implementation and Coding
In the third phase, the actual coding of the enterprise software applications takes place. This is the longest and arguably the most important phase of the enterprise software development life cycle.
Specifically, in this phase, the main task of enterprise software developers is to translate the software design into the source code as well as put all of the software’s components into action.
Phase 4: Testing
Before a custom software development company can even show the software to the customer, let alone try to sell it to him, we need to make sure that everything is okay with the code.
This is done in the testing stage of SDLC. In this stage, the enterprise software applications code needs to go through a variety of tests to ensure that it is up to standards, such as unit testing, system testing, acceptance testing, integration testing and so on.
Very often, a test will reveal a problem with the software or its code that you might not have been aware of before. While that does mean going back to the code and doing more work on it, one thing that every developer knows is that it’s actually a good thing to fail early in development than have your customers find the bug for you.
Phase 5: Deployment
The implementation/coding and testing phases often intermingle with each other. You code something, put it to the test, the test reveals a problem, you rewrite the code and so on.
At some point, however, the developer needs to break this loop and actually deploy the software to the customer for their use.
In a manner of speaking, we can also call this phase “field testing” as the software now goes through beta testing. Now it is up to the customer to try out the software and see if it is up to their expectations and if there are any bugs that developers missed in the testing phase.
If all goes well in beta testing, the software is good to go live.
Phase 6: Maintenance
The SDLC doesn’t end when the software goes live. A lot of problems will only be revealed when the software is put to the actual stress of using it.
At this stage, if any new problems arise, the developers need to get on it. That means taking a close look at cyber-security and ensuring the software does not come with significant vulnerabilities that may damage the client’s network.
At the same time, software development firms should realize that not everyone speaks their language. Customers using their products may have problems with it or don’t know how to use certain features, so it’s always a good thing to keep all your customer support channels open in this stage.
Enterprise Software Development Best Practices
Here are the 10 best software development best practices that will ensure the solution doesn’t drain your resources:
1. Define Your Goal
Before starting any project, you need to understand and clearly define the goals you are trying to reach.
Why do you want these enterprise software applications developed? What purpose, business or another objective will it serve?
Always remember to keep your goal in sight while developing software. Yes, you may later change or add some goals, but the main goal and why you want to develop this software should be clear from the first to the final moment of development.
2. Select The Best Enterprise Software Developers
Every brand is different in some way and will have different needs from a software development company
Here are a few rules to follow when vetting software development companies:
- Don’t go for the cheapest one. We get it, you’re on a budget, but that is still not an excuse to go scraping at the bottom of the barrel. Cheap developer companies usually mean that you will bleed out that money you just “saved” and more somewhere else.
- Take a look at their portfolio. Who have they been working with in the past? Were they successful? What do their earlier clients have to say about them? Were they satisfied with what they got? Are any of their previous companies similar to yours?
- Act like Goldilocks. Don’t go for a software development company that is too small or they might not have enough experience to work on a project as big as yours. On the other hand, if you go with a company that is too big, not only will they probably charge you more, but are also likely to put a lesser priority on your project.
- Don’t go for “yes men”. If every answer you get from the development company is a “yes”, you should get a bit worried if they actually know what they’re doing.
For example, if you want to include a certain feature, just because you think it’s cool, a good software development company will tell you “hold on, you don’t need to waste money and time on that”.
Plus, are you looking for the best enterprise software applications developers in your city? Start your search here for the top software development companies in the U.S.
3. Keep the code correct first, fast second
The first job of code is to be correct and bug-free. Only then can developers think about making it fast.
Yes, a fast code will probably save you a lot of time, but if the code is inherently wrong, that will not only slow down the software, but may even make it unusable.
4. Decide Upon A Timely Yet Reasonable Timeline For Deliverables, Goals & Budget
You always need to set a timeline for your enterprise software applications project. Of course, some projects will take more time than others and this is something you need to be aware of, but the longer the project unnecessarily takes, the more resources it will take.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should rush it. If, for instance, it takes up to three months to develop a mobile app, according to Enterprise CIO, don’t hold out your hopes to finish it in two weeks.
5. Outline Your Required Features And Functionalities Clearly And Specifically
One of the things enterprise software developers hate the most is when the client keeps asking them to add new features or functionalities to their software.
This is not only frustrating, but also slows down the project needlessly and can prove to be a strain on the schedule and budget.
To avoid this situation (for your sake and the sake of developers), make sure to clearly outline what features and functionalities do you require from your enterprise software applications.
This is especially important if you decide on a brand new, custom software.
6. Determine The Coding Language & Platform Your Software Will Be Built On
To regular people, a programming language is complete mumbo-jumbo. So, our suggestion is to sit down with your software development companies and work out with them what the best coding language for your enterprise software applications will be.
At the same time, you also need to think about the platform your software will run on. This may be desktop or mobile. If it’s desktop, you may build it in Windows, macOS or perhaps Linux. On the other hand, for mobile, you have Android, iOS and a few others.
7. Don’t Write Code You “Think You’re Going To Need”
Always follow the YAGNI principle. No, that’s not some Indian deity, but YAGNI stands for You Ain’t Gonna Need It.
The YAGNI principle closely follows our fourth best practice – clearly outlining features and functionalities. If you haven’t requested a feature for your enterprise software applications, you don’t need a code for it. At least not yet.
8. Pick a Development Methodology That Works For You
And stick to it. Programmers and developers often can’t quite decide on the best methodology they should use for enterprise software applications.
Some like agile, because it’s flexible and fast and allows the software to be released in iterations. On the other hand, there are those that like DevOps as it shortens the time between fixes.
Contrary to them, Waterfall development proponents claim that theirs is the best way if you have clear objectives and requirements.
Meanwhile, rapid application development (RAD) advocates scoff at all and say theirs is the best method if you have a clearly defined user group and business objective.
9. Test Your Software Through the Entire Enterprise Software Development Life Cycle
We already explained in detail what the SDLC is and what are its six stages, so we won’t keep you long on this one.
What is important to remember is to test the enterprise software applications throughout the entire development life cycle. This especially means during the coding phase, but also in the deployment phase.
10. Communicate With All Team Members Regularly & Effectively
No project can be successful if those that are working on it are not communicating with each other.
Whether you are building enterprise software applications in-house or are outsourcing a development company, it’s important to communicate regularly with those involved in the project.
Of course, that doesn’t mean having endless meetings that serve no purpose, but keeping in the know, while not slowing down the enterprise software applications project and software development.
And there you have it! 10 enterprise software development best practices that, if you follow closely, will ensure that your project runs smoothly and without hitches and does not cost you a fortune.
Looking for a company that can help you develop top-notch custom software, tailored to your brand needs? Check out these top enterprise software development companies.