baking from scratch

How to Build Software from Scratch

Dallin Nelson

June 23, 2021 · 5 minutes

So, you’ve got an idea for a new software you want to build from scratch? Well, you’re in luck, because virtually every industry in the world uses software of some kind! And as our lives become more integrated with technology, the need for new, innovative, problem-solving software has never been greater.

The time to turn your software dream into reality is now, but how do you build a new software program from scratch? It may seem intimidating, but if you take the process one step at a time, you’ll have a great product by the end. Let’s take a look at some of crucial steps to follow when building software from scratch.

Flesh Out Your Idea

baking from scratch

Before moving forward, take some time to really identify the problem your software seeks to solve and figure out how it will do so. Think about how your software is different from other existing options. Come up with your elevator pitch. The more you refine your idea, the easier the start of your project will be.

Set Your Team Up for Success

Getting started on a project is exciting, and your software development team may be eager to start designing. Don’t rush things though. Take the time to establish norms and a shared understanding of how the team will operate. Setting clear expectations from the start can save you and your team lots of downtime due to miscommunication, confusion, and frustration.

Establish Clear Roles & Paths for Communication

Building software from scratch takes a team, and teams work best when they clearly understand each person’s role. Define who will head the project and answer questions. Whether it’s requesting access to a system, or flagging emergent problems, make sure everyone understands who their go-to is for any issues.

Be sure to establish preferred communication norms: email, text, group chat, Slack — there are many channels to choose from. Deciding from the jump which channels will be your primary platform for communication lets team members prioritize which channels to check. It also helps to create healthy work boundaries.

Define Best Practices

Each team member brings a variety of experiences to the table. Those who have worked on software projects before have the benefit of learning from past successes and mistakes.

Bring your team together to share what worked well in the past and what didn’t. Gather suggestions for conventions and norms that can keep your project on track. At the end of this process, your team will have a list of best practices that everyone agrees to follow. This will keep the development process smooth as you build your software from scratch.

Choose a Continuous Integration System

Continuous integration is the process of integrating code changes from multiple contributors into a single code project. A continuous integration system lets your team update code and will confirm the code’s correctness before updating.

There are plenty of continuous integration systems your team can use to make updates to the project’s coding without too much effort. Work with your software development team to see which system they prefer, and then determine how much you’ll spend on a continuous integration system.

Brainstorm & Plan

Dig deeper into how your software will meet the user’s needs. You need to have a complete understanding of the problem your software addresses to articulate the most effective solution. Research other existing solutions (or attempts at solutions) and identify where they fall short (and how your software will do better).

The planning phase is where you’ll set goals for a timeline, determine your budget, and strategize about how your software will meet business strategy objectives.

By the end of the planning phase, the scope of your project will be determined and you’ll be ready to move forward in the development process.

Requirements & Feasibility Analysis

After determining the scope of your software project, you need to work through the details of the project to assess its feasibility and requirements for moving the project forward.

A feasibility analysis outlines the technical aspects of the development process, including:

  • Time
  • Resources
  • Tasks
  • Cost of each team member’s involvement

This analysis informs the overall cost estimate of development and projects potential profits from the final product. It also helps to identify potential risks at the start so the development team isn’t surprised by them later on.

Design

Now for the fun part! It’s time to conceptualize the solution your software offers and design your software’s architecture. This includes mapping out the workflow and sketching the different screens your software will use.

The design process encompasses everything from the big vision of how your software will look and feel, to the detailed functions that make up your solution. Here, the development team works together to determine the fundamental software and hardware components, structure capabilities, and the various processes required to reach the software’s objective.

Coding & Development

With the design documentation spelled out, it’s time to start creating code that converts these ideas into software. This is typically the longest and most involved part of the development process, as it is the backbone of the entire program.

Your software engineering team will need to create code that conforms to programming requirements, as well as any requirements stakeholders have established for the software.

The release cycle for the developed product goes from alpha, beta, release candidate to actual production build. Once the planned functionality and complete architecture of the software are built, product testing can begin.

Testing & Integration

A team working on a project together

Now it’s time to see how your software performs. Your quality assurance team will use a set of frameworks to conduct a series of tests on your product to determine the functionality, systems integration, UX/UI, and interoperability of the final software.

The testing phase may require identifying and fixing bugs, as well as confirming the verification processes in your software are sound. Once the software has been finalized, you are ready to implement and roll out your product.

Implementation & Roll Out

Nothing’s more exciting than deploying your software. Follow your team’s implementation plan to get your software onto the appropriate platforms for your users to find you. Don’t forget to make a plan for marketing your product before you get to this stage. You’ll want new users lined up and ready to engage with your software solution on the rollout date.

Operations & Maintenance

Last but certainly not least, your team should be prepared to respond to requests for customer support and notifications about bugs. Your software will need regular maintenance, and your users are more likely to stick around if they feel heard and understood when they reach out for support.

Plan to create a maintenance team to keep the software running smoothly and oversee the roll out updates down the road.

Get Started Building Your Software from Scratch

The process of developing a powerful software solution takes the right team, the right tools, time, money, and energy. If you’ve been racking up new software ideas, now’s the time to take a leap to get your best idea started!

Ready to take your software idea from the drawing board to reality?

Click here for a free consultation with one of our software experts!

About Dallin Nelson

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