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How to Develop Software 

A Step-by-Step Guide

Providing full-cycle software development services since 1989 and practicing Agile software delivery since 2007, ScienceSoft helps confidently plan and build solutions of any type and complexity.

Our clients report 2–12x cost savings thanks to our expert assistance with the development project optimization.

How to Develop Software - ScienceSoft
How to Develop Software - ScienceSoft

Contributors

Pavel Ilyusenko

Head of PMO, ScienceSoft

Andrei Dzimchuk

Senior Solution & Integration Architect, ScienceSoft

Andy Lipnitski

IT Director, ScienceSoft

How to Develop Your Own Software: Summary

A development process for new software includes solution planning, design, coding, testing, and deployment. When creating a lean working version (MVP) first, this process can take just 2–6 months.

Key 8 steps to software development

  1. Create a requirements specification.
  2. Prepare a project plan.
  3. Design UX and UI.
  4. Architect the software.
  5. Code the solution.
  6. Establish integrations.
  7. Run rigorous testing.
  8. Set the ready solution live.

A software development project team requires a project manager, a business analyst, UX and UI designers, front-end and back-end developers, QA and DevOps engineers. Depending on the project’s nature, additional talents can be required, e.g., data scientists, 3D designers.

Sourcing Models for Software Development

Software Development Process Roadmap

Below, ScienceSoft describes the core steps we take to complete application development projects. Some tasks can be skipped if you choose to develop an MVP. Also, different development methodologies (Scrum, Kanban, Waterfall, V-model, etc.) handle these tasks differently – they can be performed iteratively in parallel, or linearly.

1.

Define requirements for the software

Duration: 3 days – 3 months
  • Analyzing the company’s business needs and the expectations of the software target users.
  • Researching the competition, analyzing competitors' weaknesses and strengths.
  • Defining global, industry- and region-specific compliance requirements for the software, e.g., HIPAA for healthcare solutions, PCI DSS for payment apps, GDPR for the EU.
  • Creating a detailed software requirements specification.
  • Introducing the optimal feature set for the software with features prioritized for implementation according to their value for end users.
  • Determining the risks that can hinder smooth software launch and suggesting pragmatic ways to address them.

For software product development companies, we suggest the optimal market niche, define product differentiation, and formulate a unique selling proposition. We also provide expert advice on the most profitable software monetization models and the winning customer acquisition, conversion, and retention strategies.

ScienceSoft's Head of PMO with 20+ years of experience

2.

Prepare a project plan

Duration: 2 weeks – 1 month
  • High-level software design: app type (mobile, web, desktop), functional modules, advanced capabilities (enabled by AI/ML, IoT, blockchain, etc.), interactions between the modules and with other software, data flows.
  • Defining a precise project scope, deliverables, case-specific KPIs.
  • Creating a software development project plan with major milestones and a work breakdown structure.
  • Composing the team and planning effective collaborative flows.
  • Providing accurate estimates of the development time and costs.
  • Drawing up a business case: performing the cost-benefit analysis, calculating ROI and NPV.

Building a proof of concept is a way to early assess the solution’s technical viability and confidently move to the detailed design. We typically deliver a PoC for innovative software and complex enterprise solutions and reuse the created components later to speed up development.

ScienceSoft's Head of PMO

3.

Design UX and UI

Duration: 2 – 7 weeks
  • Conducting comprehensive UX research; describing how a user will interact with the software.
  • Creating wireframes that showcase basic functionality and content layout on each screen.
  • Designing a sleek visual appearance of user-facing apps, composing a UI kit.
  • Combining wireframes into dynamic UX prototypes, transforming the prototypes into full-color UI mockups.
  • Performing the prototype user testing.

I recommend investing in the unique UI design only if the visual style is a solution's competitive advantage. Otherwise, going with default themes and focusing on software functionality would be a more reasonable option.

UX Consultant

4.

Architect the software

Duration: ~ 2 weeks
  • Defining how functional modules of future software should work at the code level.
  • Designing a secure and scalable architecture for the solution.
  • Deciding on integration approaches (point-to-point, middleware-based, iPaaS, etc.) between the software components.
  • Choosing the optimal technology stack.

At ScienceSoft, we rely on cloud services by well-established cloud providers – Microsoft, Amazon, Google – to streamline solution delivery and maintenance. Convenient managed services, the pay-as-you-go model, and multiple ready-to-use components (messaging, data science, IoT, and more) offered by cloud providers help create software 2–20x faster and optimize project investments.

Senior Solution & Integration Architect at ScienceSoft

5.

Code the solution

Duration: 2 – 6 months to deliver the first working version
  • Establishing development, testing, and delivery automation environments: CI/CD, container orchestration, etc.
  • Writing server-side code and APIs.
  • Turning static UI mockups into the fully functional GUI.
  • Setting up and configuring data storage.
  • (for AI-powered software) AI model development, training, and tuning.
  • Thoroughly documenting the software and coding process.

We start with scoping and delivering an MVP to drive early payback and then proceed with rapid incremental software evolution based on the frequent feedback from end users.

Senior Solution & Integration Architect at ScienceSoft

6.

Establish integrations

Duration: 3 week – 3 months

Setting secure integrations between your software and required systems:

  • Corporate apps, e.g., CRM, ERP, accounting software, a BI solution.

  • External data sources relevant for the software-supported operations, e.g., to import traffic data for transportation systems or capital market data feeds for investment apps.

  • Third-party services: authentication, payment, messaging, etc.

  • Hardware, e.g., personal devices, tracking tools, industrial robots.

ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft

7.

Run rigorous testing

Duration: ~30% of the project time
  • Creating a test plan with a testing scope, test types addressing all functional and non-functional software requirements, reporting procedures, etc.
  • Creating test cases and checklists.
  • Writing and running automated test scripts (API and UI tests).
  • Conducting unit testing and static code analysis in parallel with development.
  • Carrying out functional, performance, security, integration testing.
  • Fixing bugs detected by testing.

I strongly recommend involving QA specialists as early as at the requirements specification stage. A QA team needs to make sure that the requirements are fully testable from the very beginning of the SDLC: it will help perform comprehensive testing and avoid costly redevelopments later on.

ScienceSoft's Head of PMO

8.

Set the ready solution live

  • Deploying software in the production environment.
  • User training sessions (onsite, remote, or hybrid).
  • Software performance monitoring and fixing the bugs that users discover.
  • Planning improvements and new features to be added based on user feedback, business needs, market trends, etc.

Note: Under iterative development, all the described tasks will be cycled in 2-week – 6-month releases of new functionality.

Once launched, software needs supervision and improvement to work smoothly in the long run. Our team can take over continuous software maintenance to ensure high performance, availability, full security, and functional relevance of your solution. We can also organize 24/7 user support to quickly resolve issues and help users unlock max value with the software.

ScienceSoft’s IT Director

Software Development Costs

The cost of software development varies greatly from $100,000 to $1,500,000. From ScienceSoft’s experience, major factors impacting the development cost are:

  • Application type (web, mobile, desktop); platforms and OS versions supported.
  • The number and complexity of software features.
  • The number of user roles.
  • Uniqueness and specifics of the UI design.
  • The scope and complexity of integrations.
  • Availability, performance, scalability, and security requirements.
  • Regulatory compliance requirements.
  • The chosen sourcing model and team composition.
  • Development approach and tech stack.
  • Frequency of software updates and improvements.

How Much Will It Cost to Develop Your Software Solution?

Please answer a few questions about your software development needs. This will help our team provide a tailored service offering and a cost estimate much quicker.

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*What is your industry?

*What type of company do you represent?

*What is the expected number of software users?

Are you going to sell your software to:

*How many individuals will use your software, approximately?

*How many organizations are you planning to target, approximately?

*How many end users (individuals from all organizations) will use your software, approximately?

How many organizations are you planning to target, approximately?

*How many end users (both corporate and individual users) will use your software, approximately?

*What software type do you need to develop?

*What type of app do you want to develop?

*Choose the type of web portal you need:

*What user features should your portal support?

*What admin features should your portal support?

*What functional modules do you need with your financial software? Check all that apply.

*What operations do you need to support with your software?

*What capabilities should your software support?

*What medical specialties is your EHR intended for?

*What kind of healthcare software do you want to develop?

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In case there are multiple applicable options, please select the main solution type that best aligns with the primary aim of your software.

*What types of products are you planning to sell?

*How many SKUs are you planning to sell?

*Along with core ecommerce functions (e.g., catalog, customer and order management), what capabilities should your ecommerce solution support?

*What capabilities should your OMS provide?

*What capabilities should your payment software provide?

*What document management capabilities should your software provide?

*What capabilities should your CMS provide?

*What capabilities should your intranet provide?

*What functional modules do you need in your HR software?

*What LMS capabilities do you need?

*What is your target software type?

*What content types should your LMS support?

*What functional SCM modules do you need? Check all that apply.

*What capabilities should your inventory software provide? Check all that apply.

*What capabilities should your asset management solution provide?

*What capabilities should your fleet management solution provide?

*What kind of analytics do you need to cover?

Please specify the data sources for your data analytics solution.

*Should your solution offer complex analytics?

*Which software version do you need?

*Which app type do you need?

*Would you require any integrations?

Do you need to migrate data from legacy software?

*Are there any compliance standards for your planned app? Check all that apply.

*Do you have tech stack preferences?

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Our team is on it!

ScienceSoft's experts will study your case and get back to you with the details within 24 hours.

Our team is on it!

Why Develop Software with ScienceSoft

  • 750+ IT professionals, including project managers, business analysts, architects, developers, data scientists, QA, security, DevOps, and support engineers.
  • Expertise in 30+ industries: healthcare, finance, manufacturing, ecommerce, and more.
  • Around 4,000 success stories, including projects for IBM, NASA, eBay, MTV, Deloitte, Nestle, LeoBurnett, bioAffinity Technologies, and other global market leaders.
  • Competencies in advanced techs like AI/ML, big data, IoT, AR, VR, and blockchain.
  • Compliance experts with 7–20 years of experience to achieve software compliance with the relevant legal frameworks.
  • Quality-first approach backed by ISO 9001 and robust security management supported by ISO 27001.
  • ScienceSoft is a 3-year champion in The Americas’ Fastest-Growing Companies rating by the Financial Times.

What makes ScienceSoft different

We achieve project success no matter what

ScienceSoft does not pass off mere project administration for project management, which, unfortunately, often happens on the market. We practice real project management, achieving project success for our clients no matter what.

See how we do that

Benefits of Software Development with ScienceSoft

Optimized cost

We prioritize iterative development, use flexible cloud-native architectures, rely on ready-made components (frameworks, platforms, services, open-source APIs, etc.), and employ other proven cost optimization practices to reduce development efforts and associated expenses.

Fast development

We guarantee a project start in just 1–2 weeks and can roll out an MVP of your software in 2–6 months. Our team relies on well-established Agile processes, a mature DevOps culture, and a balanced mix of manual and automated testing to introduce major releases every 2–3 weeks.

Transparent cooperation

We compose a tailored set of KPIs to measure cooperation efficiency and software quality and regularly report the accomplished tasks to ensure you always stay updated on the development progress. We can grant you access to our tracking systems to enable real-time process control.

Strong security

We start the cooperation with signing a NDA (before the initial negotiation, if needed) to legally protect your sensitive information. In cybersecurity for over 21 years, we follow SSDLC and DevSecOps best practices to create completely safe development and data processing environments.

Our Customers Say

We appreciated ScienceSoft’s client-oriented approach, consistent collaboration across all the project stages, and flexibility to adjust to changes. ScienceSoft’s expert advice helped us reveal cost optimization opportunities and define the functionality to increase the solution’s value.

ScienceSoft's experience in agile development ensured smooth project implementation and iterative development of Enonic XP. This enabled us to adjust to the changing market requirements and incorporate features that made us stand out from the competition.

I am particularly impressed by the cooperative nature of ScienceSoft’s team. Our project required coordination with multiple companies and individuals. ScienceSoft worked well with everyone.

Software Development Services by ScienceSoft

In software development since 1989, ScienceSoft is ready to help non-IT enterprises and software product companies design and build state-of-the-art solutions that bring long-lasting value. Our service offering includes:

Software development consulting

  • Software requirements specification.
  • PoC delivery.
  • Architecture design.
  • UX and UI design.
  • Security and compliance consulting.
  • A detailed implementation plan with cost and time estimates.
I need this!

Product development consulting

  • Competitor analysis.
  • Defining a best-fitting market niche and a unique selling proposition.
  • Solution conceptualization and technical design.
  • Brand health check report.
  • Visual identity recommendations.
I need this!

End-to-end software development

  • Software design and project planning.
  • Software development (MVP, a fully-featured solution).
  • Quality assurance.
  • Integration with the required systems.
  • After-launch software maintenance and support.
I need this!

Explore ScienceSoft's Success Stories

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Typical Roles on Our Software Development Teams

Business Analyst

  • Eliciting the needs of your business and software end users.
  • Translating the needs into functional and non-functional software requirements.

Project Manager

  • Creating a project plan and monitoring development progress.
  • Coordinating the team's workflows.
  • Reporting to stakeholders.

Solution Architect

  • Designing a secure and flexible architecture for your solution and its integrations with the required systems.
  • Selecting a pragmatic tech stack for the software.

UX Designer

  • Performing UX research.
  • Designing the information architecture and user interactions with the software.
  • Conducting usability testing.

UI Designer

  • Creating an appealing visual style of role-specific software interfaces.
  • Composing a detailed UI kit for interface development.

DevOps Engineer

  • Establishing CI/CD pipelines.
  • Software containerization and container orchestration.
  • Picking and configuring software monitoring tools.

Back-end Developer

  • Writing back-end code and APIs.
  • Establishing software integrations.
  • Fixing the defects found by the QA team.

Front-end Developer

  • Creating a software representation level: everything that the user sees on the screen.
  • Fixing the defects found by the QA team.

QA Engineer

  • Designing and implementing a test strategy, a test plan, and test cases.
  • Documenting and improving the testing process.
  • Reporting on the QA results.

Reliable Technologies and Tools ScienceSoft Uses

Advanced Techs to Boost the Value of Your Software

Click on the cards below to learn ScienceSoft's competencies in the cutting-edge technologies.

We are eager to hear about the software you fancy!

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