Software development can be a time-consuming, expensive, and sometimes even risky process, but it’s also essential for many businesses. Employing best practices will cut down on the workload of your developers, allow for quicker product development, reduce the likelihood of problems, result in lower costs, and increase profit margins. Here are the top 6 best practices you should implement for your software development project.
1. Set a Realistic Budget and Timeline
Correct estimates - developed with input from all the team members involved on a project - allow people to work with accurate expectations and a clear goal in front of them. If estimates are incorrect; morale, productivity, quality, and client trust will all take a hit. Not to mention it could leave you with a half-finished project or a budget or timeline blowout. Using experienced developers who can provide realistic and accurate estimates is a must.
2. Use Style Guides
If you are putting together a software development team to work on a single project, the contribution of each team member should blend seamlessly with the others. Creating and using a style allows the end results of your project to be cohesive. When you’re assembling a team of varied developers, using a style guide also makes it easier for members to review each other’s code and ensure everything is done correctly.
3. Review Each Other’s Code
Elaborating on tip 2, your team members should be looking at each other’s code on a regular basis. Everyone makes mistakes, and it is better to correct a mistake soon after it is made rather than rush to replace code when the project is nearing completion. Smaller, regular revisions save the time and frustration associated with making major revisions. This model also helps your developers to relax about making mistakes, allowing for greater creativity and flow with coding.
4. Keep the Code Simple
Following on from the last two tips, it’s always best to use the simplest code you can to achieve an outcome. Having complicated code that others have a hard time digesting can lead to complicated problems with the product. Along with this practice is YAGNI (You Ain't Gonna Need It) and DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself). Do not write code you think you may need in the future if you do not need it right now, and do not repeat various systems within your code as this just wastes time.
5. Outsource Work and Check It
Outsourcing is a great way to boost your in-house development power, or to have an entire project developed cost effectively. However, outsourced code always needs to be checked to ensure it meets your specifications and standards. Unless your code was written by you or a team member with whom you have regular contact, check the code. To get the best results from outsourced code, choose a trusted company, develop a long-term relationship, and make sure that outsourced developers also use the same style guide as you and your team.
6. Use Comments to Track Information
No matter how you used to manage your project, your developers should always use comments to take notes on the development information and keep track of important information related to your code. Comments allow you to keep track of developments and changes that are integral to the project, that you might not remember weeks down the track. Being able to look back at code you wrote a month ago and know exactly what you were thinking when you wrote it is invaluable. Commenting is especially important if your front-end language is different from the back-end language. This will allow different development team members and entirely different teams to communicate smoothly, efficiently, and with as few permeating problems as possible.
Related Content: How to Build a Quality Software Development Team
Implementing best practices in your software development will allow you to see better results along with greater efficiency and cost effectiveness for your project.