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How to Create Software: Key Tasks, Roles, Cost Factors

How to Develop Software - ScienceSoft

Delivering software development services since 1989 and practicing iterative Agile software delivery since 2007, ScienceSoft helps efficiently plan and build software products.

How to Develop Your Own Software Product: Summary

A development process for new software includes software ideation, planning, designing architecture, UX and UI, coding, testing, and deployment. When creating the lean working version (MVP) first, this process can take just 2-6 months.

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.

In software product development since 1989, ScienceSoft helps design and build successful software products quickly and cost-efficiently.

Software Development Process Step by Step

Below are described the typical steps we at ScienceSoft take to complete application development projects. Some of the tasks can be skipped when 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.

Step 1. Product idea organization

Duration: 3 days – 3 months.

  • Generating a product idea.
  • Identifying the target audience, understanding and analyzing their wants and needs.
  • Analysis of competing software products (analysis of competitor product features, pricing & monetization models, customer feedback, etc).
  • Creation of a software product concept.
  • Defining customer acquisition, conversion, and retention strategies.
  • Defining the software monetization model.

Step 2. Software planning

Duration: 2 weeks – 1 month.

  • Defining and prioritizing detailed software features.
  • Creating a software requirements specification.
  • High-level software design:
    • App type/types (mobile, web, desktop).
    • Describing a list of software modules to build and specifying what functionality area each module covers and how the modules should interact.
  • Describing data and process flows between the target software and other existing software, planning integrations.
  • Creating the software development project roadmap with major milestones.
  • Drawing up a business case: conducting cost-benefit analysis, calculating NVP, ROI.

Best practice: We start with planning and delivering an MVP and then proceeding with rapid, incremental software evolution based on the frequent feedback from product managers, users, etc.

Step 3. UX design

Duration: 1 week – 1 month.

  • Conducting UX research to understand the mental models of the target audience.
  • Describing how a user will interact with the software product (e.g., what system response the user gets upon different actions).
  • Creating wireframes that demonstrate basic functionality and content layout on each screen.
  • Combining wireframes into a dynamic UX prototype of the application.
  • Performing the prototype user testing.

Step 4. UI design

Duration: 1 week – 1 month.

  • Deciding on the appearance of user-facing software parts (choosing a color scheme, icons for the buttons, menus, tabs and screen layouts of the application’s GUI).

  • Transforming software prototypes into full-color graphic interface mockups.

  • Creating a UI kit for the quick development of user interfaces.

ScienceSoft's tip: We recommend our clients to invest in the unique UI design only if the design is a competitive software product advantage. Otherwise, we opt for default themes and focus on software functionality.

Best practice: At ScienceSoft, we usually take time to plan and ensure user interface consistency in different browsers, mobile versions on different screen sizes, and mobile applications on different operating systems.

Step 5. Software Architecture Design

Duration: ~ 2 weeks.

  • Detailed description of how functional modules of future software should work at the code level.
  • Detailed database design.
  • Defining integration approaches (point-to-point, middleware-based, iPaaS, etc.) between the different functionality modules.
  • Choosing the technology stack for the future software back end and front end.

Step 6. Coding

Duration: 2-6 months to deliver the first working version.

  • Establishing development and delivery automation environments (CI/CD, container orchestration, etc.).
  • Writing server-side code and APIs.
  • Turning static user interface mockups provided by UI designers into the fully functional GUI.
  • Conducting unit testing and static code analysis (by developers).

How to build software faster and at a lower cost?

Details
  • Choose the technology platform (it will include a programming language and frameworks, architecture patterns, APIs, and more) based on a careful preliminary analysis of options. The development speed may differ 2 – 20 times.
  • Use cloud services (messaging services, analytics and AI services, image processing services, etc.) by well-established cloud providers, e.g., Azure and AWS.
  • Use trusted open-source tools and APIs.

Step 7. Testing

Duration: ~30% of the project time (depends heavily on software complexity, security and compliance requirements, the level of test automation, and more).

  • 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).
  • Carrying out functionality, performance, security, integration testing.
  • Fixing bugs detected by testing.

Step 8. Deployment and further iterations

  • Deploying software in the production environment.
  • (often for B2B products) On-site user training sessions.
  • Fixing bugs that users discover.
  • Planning improvements and new features to be added based on user feedback, product manager input, market trends, marketing strategy, etc.

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

Best practice: For our clients with B2B startup, we take time to plan and organize exceptional user support. It's important to get ready to anticipate customer challenges and questions regarding software setup and operations, proactively provide solutions to potential issues, show how users can achieve max value while using your product.

Software Development Services by ScienceSoft

In software product development since 1989, ScienceSoft knows well how to plan and deliver effective, selling software products. Our service offering includes:

Software development consulting

  • Idea conceptualization and competition analysis.
  • Holistic functionality.
  • PoC.
  • MVP/software architecture design.
  • Advise on advanced techs (AI, ML, etc.).
  • Security and compliance planning.
  • Detailed implementation roadmap.
  • Communication with vendors, RFP, continuous project quality management.
EXPLORE OUR CONSULTING OFFERING

End-to-end software development

  • Product idea conceptualization and feature management.
  • Software UX and UI design.
  • MVP/software development in compliance with industry standards and regulations (GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, FIPS, COPPA, etc.).
  • Testing and QA.
  • Integrations with third-party systems.
  • MVP/software launch and support.
EXPLORE OUR DEVELOPMENT OFFERING

Why Choose ScienceSoft to Deliver Your Software Product?

  • Full-service software development company.
  • 700+ experts onboard, including project managers, business analysts, architects, developers, data scientists, QA, security, DevOps, and support engineers.
  • Over 3,300 success stories (including projects for Viber, eBay, MTV).
  • 4.8 rating on Clutch.com.
  • Mature quality management, backed by ISO 9001.
  • Robust data security management, supported by ISO 27001.
  • Competencies in advanced techs like IoT, big data, AI/ML, AR/VR, blockchain, image analysis, etc.
  • Expertise in 30+ industries, including healthcare, banking, manufacturing, marketing, etc.

Software Product Development: Success Stories by ScienceSoft

IPTV & SVOD Apps and a Web-based Management System for a TV Industry Leader

A success story of a long-term partnership, which helped the Customer to become one of the leading providers of streaming solutions in the world. Created with ScienceSoft's help, the company's mobile apps now power T-Mobile, Orange, MTV, BBC, and other large brands.

Viber – an Instant Messaging App with over 900 mln Users

ScienceSoft designed and developed an instant messaging and VoIP app for an ambitious startup.

Software Products Development for a Global Leader in Image Processing

A success story of a 5-year cooperation which resulted in 12 products (6 of them created by ScienceSoft from scratch). One of the products has been awarded Best Imaging Application by a prestigious press photographers association. ScienceSoft's expertise allowed the Customer to shorten time-to-market significantly (3-4 months per project).

Software Products for Life Science Companies

For over 10 years, a scalable team of 8-29 ScienceSoft’s specialists provides development and support services for a provider of biotechnology, drug discovery and chemical research services. Currently, our team covers such directions as services, support, development and testing.

Benefits of Software Development with ScienceSoft

Minimum time to market

Code-based MVP will be ready for users in ~ 2-6 months, which allows you to roll out your product fast and stay ahead of the competition.

Fast releases

With Agile development, CI/CD pipeline, DevOps approach, and a balanced mix of manual and automated testing, our teams deploy major releases every 2-3 weeks.

Optimal development costs

The usage of scalable cloud-native architectures, ready-made components (frameworks, platforms, and services), and public APIs allows us to reduce software development efforts and costs.

Access to advanced techs

We can enrich your software product with AI, VR, data science, IoT, and more.

Strong data security

ScienceSoft starts cooperation with signing NDA (already at the initial negotiation stage if needed) to guarantee the confidentiality of your information. We ScienceSoft create a protected environment (including DevSecOps practices and tools) for data processing and storage. Our security practices are approved by the ISO 27001 certificate.

Compliance

Our solutions are fully compliant with industry and legal requirements (HIPAA, GLBA, GDPR, etc.).

ScienceSoft as a Reliable Software Development Partner

Being in the process of an online marketplace launch, we looked for a consulting partner to help us shape a final product vision with strong competitive advantages. Having accomplished all the market research activities, ScienceSoft provided a report featuring our core competitors: their products’ efficiencies and drawbacks, and monetization models. They also did a great job creating a dynamic UX prototype of our marketplace and planning integrations important for fast and effective business workflows.

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Bader Alhamdan

Managing Director, Deyarat Trading Co.

We are very happy with having ScienceSoft as a partner for our product development team. They are proving us with highly skilled, talented developers that have been contributing to the growth of our business. ScienceSoft are making outsourcing a very smooth and cost efficient solution for us.

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Espen Erikstad

CTO, Aspiro

As technology evolves we need to keep abreast. New features and improvements need to be introduced all the time. So I was in search of developers to handle parts of our back-end development. ScienceSoft came across as a reliable partner with decades of experience in the field and proven track record.I’m really glad to recommend ScienceSoft as a trustworthy and competent service provider.

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David Frenay

CEO, Emolytics

ScienceSoft’s developers <…> advised and successfully led the way from end to end through the technical challenges and considerations with the development of the Android app. ScienceSoft’s team was in daily contact with our developers, and our method of communication was a huge factor in how successful this engagement was.

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Justin Turner

CTO, Chiron Health

We have been cooperating with ScienceSoft for 5 years. ScienceSoft's team has been working hard to ensure our product – Enonic XP – exceeds our customers’ expectations. 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.

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Morten Øien Eriksen

CEO, Enonic

Project Manager

  • Creating a project plan with milestones and deliverables.
  • Keeping the project on schedule and within the scope and budget.
  • Facilitating and coordinating communication between all team members.
  • Creating a risk management plan.

Business Analyst

  • Eliciting wants and needs of future software users.
  • Translating user wants and needs into functional and non-functional software requirements.

UX designer (focuses on usability)

  • Performing UX research.
  • Designing the interactions users will have with a software product.
  • Designing the information architecture.
  • Conducting usability testing.

UI designer (focuses on aesthetics)

  • Creating the style of user-facing software interfaces.
  • Creating a UI kit for user interface development.

Back-end developer

  • Writing back-end code and APIs.
  • Performing unit tests.

Front-end developer

  • Creating a software representation level: everything that the user sees on the screen.

Quality assurance engineer

  • Designing a test strategy and plan.
  • Selecting test tools.
  • Designing, developing, and maintaining tests.
  • Implementing, documenting, and improving the testing process.
  • Tracking test results, finding and reporting bugs.

DevOps engineer

  • Managing software servers.
  • Incorporating an infrastructure-as-code approach.
  • Software containerization and container orchestration.
  • Establishing CI/CD pipelines for automated deployment.
  • Selecting and configuring tools to execute daily software monitoring.

The entire software development process is in-house

Pros:

  • Direct supervision over the development process and team productivity.

Cons:

  • High costs.
  • Prolonged software development project start.
  • All hiring and managerial efforts are on your side.

A mix of an in-house team and outsourced consultancy

Pros:

  • Outsourced consultancy provides expert project guidance, mentors through the most challenging activities, and closes up the gaps in specific tech skills.
  • In-house team can perform specific tailored, more interesting tasks to grow their expertise in a certain field (developing unique algorithms, improving software performance), while outsourced developers handle routine activities.
  • Tasks that require exceptional security can be performed within the in-house network and infrastructure.

Cons:

  • Risks related to vendor selection.
  • It requires time and experience to establish smooth collaboration and communication between the in-house and consultancy teams.
  • Project team coordination, the concerns about quick and quality delivery, risk management are partially/totally on your side.

Full software development is outsourced

Pros:

  • Established software design and development processes, software development project management.
  • A vendor assumes full responsibility for the team arrangement and management, quality of the project deliverables and related risk management.

Cons:

  • High vendor risks.

Software product MVP development

Full-scale software product development from scratch

Major cost factors:

  • Application type (web, mobile, desktop); number of platforms and OS versions supported.
  • The number and complexity of application features.
  • The number of user roles.
  • The complexity of the application logic and workflows.
  • The number and complexity of integrations with third-party systems.
  • Application availability, performance, security, latent capacity and scalability requirements.
  • Frequency of application updates and improvements.
  • Special features required (e.g.,ML-based).
  • Uniqueness and complexity of the UI design.

How Much Will Your Software Dev Cost?

ScienceSoft can help you estimate software development project costs and advise on the ways to optimize your software product development initiative.

Core Techs and Architecture Patterns ScienceSoft Uses

At ScienceSoft, we use cloud development and infrastructure services to deliver the majority of modern software products. Quality managed services, the pay-as-you-go model, and multiple ready-to-use components (messaging, service discovery, AI, AR/VR, IoT, data science, and more) offered by cloud providers can help create software faster and optimize its cost .

Clouds

Back end programming languages

Click on the technology to learn about our capabilities in it.

Front end programming languages

Click on the technology to learn about our capabilities in it.

Languages

HTML5
CSS

JavaScript frameworks

MeteorJS
Vue.js
Next.js
Ember.js

Mobile

Click on the technology to learn about our capabilities in it.

Desktop

Click on the technology to learn about our capabilities in it.

Databases / data storages

Click on the technology to learn about our capabilities in it.

SQL

Microsoft SQL Server
MySQL
Oracle
PostgreSQL

NoSQL

Apache NiFi
MongoDB

Real-time data processing

RabbitMQ
Flink
Apache Spark Streaming
Apache Storm
Apache Kafka Streams
Amazon Kinesis
Azure Event Hubs
Azure Stream Analytics

Architecture designs and patterns

Traditional 3-layer architecture

Microservices-based architecture

Cloud-native architecture

PWA

Reactive architecture

Service-oriented architecture (SOA)

Various approaches to enterprise application integration

About ScienceSoft

A 33-year provider of software development services headquartered in the US, ScienceSoft helps both startups and mature software product companies worldwide envision competitive and selling software products, cost-efficiently launch an MVP in 2-6 months and confidently grow it to a full-blown quality product.