7 Essential Software Development Best Practices

Over the last few of years, several software development best practices have emerged to form a powerful arsenal that can help any dedicated software developer to successfully deliver bespoke projects that satisfy both the client and the end user.

Here are the best practices to observe in software development—that are also fantastically agile methodologies-oriented, without the rapid deployment blunders that some developers miss.

2018 Best Practices in Software Development to Keep Practicing

1. Communication
In no project can communication ever be over-emphasised.

Communication. Communication. Communication.

It is that essential because it helps formulate vital requirements from the start.

The most powerful aspect of good communication in software development projects is to develop rapport between the client and developer. The point is to understand what needs to be developed and for precisely what purpose; the “what” and “why”.

Open communication lines, and when both parties brainstorm, help come up with a foolproof development process, plan workflow and outline KPIs. The development team can then come up with a thorough software development checklist for use to flesh out the project to completion. They can use the checklist to check and counter check the project’s milestones before and after the development process is complete.

2. Complying with Industry Standards
This one is two-fold.

First, it involves keeping the client’s industry requirements in mind throughout.

For example, if your client’s project is based in the medical sector, you will need to ensure your development complies with their country’s or global standards in medical software development. Otherwise, the complete project would not be as useful to the client as it should be and could even become obsolete much sooner than intended.

3. Testing & QA
Practicing the principals of continuous testing is a standard practice in software engineering. Now, these include quality assurance, which helps come up with “Fit for Purpose” and “Right First Time” software.

The thing about testing in 2018 is to not just use emulators to test the functional and UI aspects of a pre-deployment project, but engage real users with different devices to test the project in real-life under real use and stress as was intended.

The QA team can then step in to collect user feedback. Any bugs that are communicated should be communicated to the development team in great detail for debugging.

4. Automation
There are benefits to automating software deployment.

Manually deploying software is not only time-consuming, slow and tedious, but it is also susceptible to human error.

While automating deployment might cost more upfront, it will make deployments much faster, easier and almost anyone on your team can do it. Your team can then focus on other things and become more productive.

There are quite a number of software deployment tools available now that you can use to do this.

Automation of deployments will continue to grow, especially as new technological advances such as IoT software development testing and deployment becomes more common.

5. Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
This is a huge part of agile methodologies in development.

Continuous integration is all about building; bringing together source code from all participating developers into an application artifact, then testing it on a CI server. The process involves testing to catch all bugs before delivery.

Continuous delivery on the other end involves taking the built application, packaging it for post-production use and subjecting it to even more rigorous testing to make sure there are no bugs before the project goes live.

There are automated CI and CD tools out there that can help with this too if you like.

6. Continuous Deployment
After successful continuous integration and continuous delivery stages, the next software development best practices will involve releasing the product for actual use by the client—deployment. With continuous deployment, the goal is to consistently release updates to not only patch up issues that may arise later but also to continuously improve the performance of the initial program.

Elements that software updates can help optimise include:

  • User experience
  • User interface
  • User security
  • Complying with new industry standards
  • Scaling to meet increased uptake, and so on

These are all improvement factors that lead to better quality software development and are worth practicing in any project.

That said, it is also important to keep in mind that what might seem like a good improvement idea might backfire, so it is important to have a backup plan.

7. Regular Backups
You want to be able to roll back to a previous version of your software before the errant update. One way to do this is to have a good version repository tool to help you go back in time if anything does not go as planned.

With a recovery repository, you can shed the fear of failure off and work on your code knowing you will not compromise the entire project if your coding decision turns out to be a mistake.

There are repository tools that double as CI and CD tools as well as allow developers to track changes and choose a recovery version.

Practicing these seven software development best practices will help any developer or software development teams to give their best work. You can use them to speed up software development cycles and crank out quality development projects.

If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.

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