10 Challenges Every Software Product Developer Faces

November 9, 2017 - by Manan Thakkar

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Building a high-quality product is the end goal for any organization, but the software development process is evolving while automation is becoming rampant, and new tools and libraries are emerging daily.

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A process as complex as product software development comes with its own set of challenges – challenges that you might encounter every day; challenges that need to be addressed almost immediately to reduce the impact they have on your end product.

So, we’ve identified the biggest challenges for software product companies, but what can you do to overcome them?

 

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Challenge 1: Project Infrastructure

Problem: An unestablished project environment is always a common challenge in terms of its impact on project delivery. If the environment is not available, then there is no way you can proceed with your project on time and under budget.

Solution: To ensure efficient project development, test and pre-production environments should be made available during the development, testing, and user acceptance testing (UAT) phases. Invest in a solid IT infrastructure upfront to create a better software development environment.

Challenge 2: Development Expectations and Outcome

Problem: A major reason for the complexity of software projects is the constant changing of requirements. Not surprisingly, 33% of the respondents of the Stack Overflow Developer Survey consider building products with unspecific requirements, as their biggest challenge. Requirements gathering is a lot more than a handful of business consultants coming up with their ideal product – it is understanding fully what a project will deliver.

Solution: To ensure that the product outcomes align with expectations and requirements, a solid process and line of communication need to be established. Remember the following best practices.

  • Define and agree on the scope of the project
  • Don’t assume end-user needs and requirements
  • Communicate the needs and expectations between the development and ideation teams
  • Involve users from the start of existing product refurbishment
  • Consider UX from the start of new product development
  • Create a clear, concise and thorough requirements document and confirm your understanding of the requirements
  • Create a prototype to confirm and/or refine final agreed-upon requirements

Challenge 3: Quality Assurance

Problem: Not reviewing code, or suppressing errors are just a means that developers use to save time and meet deadlines.

Solution: Following a formal quality assurance process is imperative for a successful launch. If you witness developers trying to cut corners in the development process, discourage it immediately. Encourage them to use the best code development practices to meet the requirements sooner and more efficiently.


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Challenge 4: Undefined Quality Standards

Problem: Defect identification is inevitable during functionality testing, even if the product has been through thorough unit testing during the development phase.

Solution: When you come out with the test approach, scenarios, conditions, cases, and scripts, make sure your test plan covers all the requirements that are to be delivered by planning several cycles of testing.

Challenge 5: Adapting the Latest Market Trends

Problem: Catering to the latest technology requirements such as mobile-first or mobile-only or desktop-first is often challenging. If you don’t have resources with hands-on experience in the latest and trending technologies, it is sure to impact your time to market.

Solution: Make sure your resources constantly polish their skills to remain relevant. This means staying up-to-date on market trends and exploring insights into the new technology and trends that are out there.

Challenge 6: Design Influences

Problem: Product designs are under constant influence from stakeholders, the development organization, and other internal and external factors. Managing these influences is essential for maximizing the quality of systems and their related influence on future business opportunities. The increase of easily accessible, simple applications has resulted in user expectations growing exponentially.

Solution: Make sure you streamline your design and offer a consistent experience across devices, operating systems, and form factors.

Challenge 7: System & Application Integration

Problem: There are thousands of different technologies, systems, and applications available for businesses. Integrating third-party or other custom applications, such as your ERP systems, website, or inventory management database adds substantial complexity to your project. And the bigger challenge with integration is that they remain hidden throughout the development process, and surface only at the end, leading to extra costs, delays, lowered quality, and sometimes even failure of the project.

Solution: To conform your software solution to the external constraints of other systems, you should:

  • Get a clear understanding of end-user requirements
  • Implement an enterprise-wide framework for the platform structure of the application
  • Discover and research new technologies
  • Design and develop new solutions
  • Test and evaluate ideas to ensure optimum integration
  • Pay extra attention to research and development, testing, and prototyping.
  • Test, test, and test again before deploying the solution

Challenge 8: Project Management

Problem: Very often multi-tasking might give you more trouble than expected. Resources cannot focus on a single task or module if their manager bombards them with tasks.

“To be successful in project management you absolutely have to be an excellent planner,” says Ryan Chan, founder and CEO of UpKeep Maintenance Management.

Solution: One obvious way to be an excellent planner is to leverage project management tools like Project Pro in O365 and keep projects, resources, and teams organized and on track. Stay on track, meet all deadlines, work seamlessly across applications, and efficiently and effortlessly manage your projects. Always keep task allocation sequential rather than parallel and encourage resources to give their best in whatever they do.

Challenge 9: Test Environment Duplication

Problem: Testing a software system in a controlled environment is difficult since the user is not immersed in a completely realistic working situation. It’s impractical to gauge how a user will really use the application in different situations on a regular basis until it’s deployed. However, with software applications for both B2B and B2C segments becoming more and more diversified than in the past, controlled testing is not sufficient.

Solution: Testing the software, application, or product in a separate real-life test environment is critical to your software’s success. This will allow you to see what is working well and what is working poorly in a vacuum vs real-life use.

Challenge 10: Security Infrastructure

Problem: Security breaches are on the rise; a recent study estimates that 96% of all web applications contain at least one serious vulnerability. How do you cope with evolving security threats? How do you keep each layer of your software or application secure?

Solution: Security is not just the responsibility of the software engineer but also the responsibility of all the stakeholders involved including the management, project managers, business analysts, quality assurance managers, technical architects, and application and developers. If you want to keep your infrastructure and company safe, remember the following best practices:

  • Look beyond technology to improve the security of your software
  • Develop software using high-level programming languages with built-in security features
  • Require security assurance activities such as penetration testing and code review
  • Perform essential core activities to produce secure applications and systems

Stay Clear and Focused

No matter how big or small, solving software development challenges never comes easy. From challenges in requirements to integrating new technologies, from ensuring end-to-end security to challenges of duplicating efforts – software product development requires you to be clear and focused on the problem you’ve set out to solve in order to achieve what you’ve set out to achieve.

Learn more about how Synoptek can assist in your journey! Contact a software product development expert today.

 

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