What is Software Development, and why does it matter?

NAPA Insights
| 26/12/2022
Offshore Development
Explore four common software development approaches, steps in the software development process, and practical tips for choosing a custom software development company.

The software development industry is expected to be one of the most buoyant economies in the upcoming years. According to Statista.com, the global software development market was US$565 billion in 2021, and it is projected to reach US$593.40 billion in 2022.

These statistics proved the enormous potential of software development in leading business growth. Making use of software development is a wise action to help businesses reach further achievements. But not all enterprises implement software development projects successfully. This article provides detailed information about common software development approaches and tips for choosing the right software development agency.

What is software development?

The software itself is the set of instructions or programs that tell a computer what to do. Software development refers to the process of computer science activities, including creating, designing, deploying, and maintaining software.

There are three common types of software development:

1. System software: Computer software for running the computer hardware parts and the application programs. Popular examples of system software are operating systems like Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, etc.

2. Utility software: This is a part of the system software and performs specific tasks to keep the computer running. Security programs like anti-virus software and optimization programs like tools for system clean-up are utility software.

3. Application software: Anything that is not an operating system or a utility is an application. It is developed for specific tasks such as word processors, spreadsheets, web browsers, graphics software, etc.

Four common approaches to software development

Software development approaches include Proof of Concept, Prototype, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and Full Product.

Software development approaches include Proof of Concept, prototype, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and Full Product.

A successful software project is the combination of the right market fit and careful testing during the development process. If we consider software development a long journey, idea validation is its first step. This step seems minor, but it largely contributes to the project's success and prevents your business from critical troubles in the next stages.

The four most common approaches to realizing software development ideas are Proof of Concept, prototype, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and Full-Fledged product development. Each comes with its own advantages and serves best in a particular case. Scroll to the next parts of this article and explore more about how these approaches work and benefit businesses.

Proof of Concept

The Proof of Concept (PoC or POC) involves validating whether a software development idea is possible. This approach is internal and stand-alone, aimed at proving that vision or tech assumption can be implemented and will function as envisioned. Because it’s developed for internal purposes, a PoC largely neglects UI, security, and development best practices. Since the code is rarely reused at later development stages, it’s often hard-coded, using mock APIs and basic UI controls.

To perform your concept at a low cost and in a limited timeframe, PoC is a proper approach. PoC is also suitable for you to:

- Prevent businesses from investing time, money, and human resources into an impractical idea.

- Check the feasibility of an idea.

- Decide on an appropriate development approach.

- Define possible limitations and resources.

- Share technical knowledge within the team.


While a Proof of Concept is for checking the feasibility of a software development idea, creating a prototype aims to answer the question of how the product will look. A prototype can be from a paper-based version without user interactions (low-fidelity) to a computer-based one that allows users to interact (high-fidelity).

Low-fidelity prototypes range from a series of hand-drawn mock-ups to printouts. They show early visualization of different design solutions, helping promote innovation and improvement. Customers feel more comfortable suggesting changes when the prototype is displayed in sketches.

High-fidelity prototypes are computer-based and more interactive than low-fidelity ones. They contain most of the necessary components of the product that are usable. Thus, high-fidelity prototypes allow businesses to get detailed feedback on certain elements that would not be possible with pen and paper.

A prototype helps to:

- Detect and bridge potential issues in the product flow

- Collect feedback from early users or stakeholders.

- Strengthen investors’ beliefs by showing how the product will look or work.

- Visualize the design of the product.

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a basic version of the software with only the most essential features to satisfy early customers. Their interaction with an MVP allows you to better understand customers and their expectations. With this approach, the product is built incrementally. The steps of gathering feedback and repeatedly adding new or improving product features until an MVP becomes a full-fledged product.

An MVP is essential in software development because of the following reasons:

- Testing your target market. Although you can get a lot of data from market research and analysis, your software solutions are an uncertain guess until you have an actual product people can use. Creating an MVP reduces this uncertainty and guarantees your product meets market needs.

- Testing the viability of your software product. Via an MVP, you can gain precious information about how your product works and how early adopters respond to it. Based on these reactions, you correctly gauge the product viability and make changes if necessary.
- Reducing the development time of the complete product. An MVP helps you decide which features are necessary and which ones are not. It accelerates the development of a full-fledged product by not wasting time developing unnecessary features.

- Strengthening investors’ beliefs and attracting more investment. With a functional product, you reinforce their confidence in the project’s success and have more chances to attract new investors.

Full-fledged product

Depending on your software development idea, sometimes it is more convenient to develop a full product without stepping into the three approaches mentioned above. Developing a complete product from the ground is suitable when you believe in the success of your project. In addition to saving time and resources spent on other approaches, it also quickly benefits your business. Or you can move from an MVP to a full-scale product. The software development process continuously adds new features and matches the product to the changing world.

 Software Development Life Cycle Process (SDLC)

Software Development Life Cycle creates a basis for streamlining project planning, estimating, and scheduling.

Software Development Life Cycle creates a basis for streamlining project planning, estimating, and scheduling.

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) provides organizations with an efficient and systematic process to develop software successfully. It contains a series of pre-planned actions that allow developers to build high-qualified, cost-effective software while consuming the smallest amount of time and human resources.

SDLC creates an accessible workflow for streamlining project planning, estimating, and scheduling. This process also contributes to enhancing efficiency in management and monitoring. By following the software development process, the development team can ensure their effective performance and cooperation. SDLC also brings transparency to business cooperation by allowing all stakeholders to be easily involved in every project stage.

The Software Development Life Cycle phases include:

1. Requirement collection & analysis

This stage ensures the software development project is in the right direction and achieves the stakeholders’ goals and requirements. In the first step,  to identify your business challenge, business analysts conduct in-depth investigations and gather technical and non-technical information. When the requirements have been clearly defined, the software development team works with the business stakeholders and domain experts to ensure the project is achieved in a timely manner.

2. Design & prototype

Based on the requirements and specifications, the software development team prepares the system and software design to define the whole IT system architecture. This phase specifies the architectural design, system requirements, configurations, data structure, etc., for developing teams to follow during the process. It also involves the creation of design details like the functional logic, interface details, or a prototype before development begins. At this phase, UX/UI designers create intuitive layouts, improving customer engagement, and ensuring a smooth workflow throughout the entire software development process.

3. Coding

This stage takes the longest time to develop in comparison to all the other stages of the software development process. In this phase, the idea is actually turned into working software. Being a core and complex process, the development requires the heavy involvement of the software development team. While front-end developers build the end-user interface, back-end developers work on server-side programming and handle database requirements. They must ensure their code adheres to all the stakeholders’ demands.

4. Testing

In different phases of the project, QA and testing processes vary in size, type, and complexity. Manual testing checks user-friendliness and customer experience, automated testing improves integration and continuous delivery, and end-to-end testing maintains product consistency. All implemented features will be thoroughly tested, particularly the integration of third-party services such as payment gateways, reporting tools, saving platforms, cloud storage, and so on. Testers must ensure that there is no omission in the client's specifications and no bugs for seamless operation and user experience.

5. Deployment

After ensuring the product has no critical glitches, the software development team deploys it onto the production environment. Beta testing can be done to gain feedback from end-users, ensuring the software performs smoothly on a large scale. Developers take responsibility during this stage to guarantee the software works efficiently and seamlessly.

6. Maintenance

Successful deployment doesn’t mean that the software development is done. After releasing the product to the market, the software development team still maintains performance, provides new updates, and enhances functionalities throughout its life cycle. It makes sure that the software operates smoothly and stays up-to-date with the increasing demands.

Is hiring a Custom Software Development Company necessary?

Custom software development or tailor-made software development is the process of creating software to meet the specific needs of an individual or an organization. It allows enterprises to adapt quickly to technology and market changes while ensuring their performance and efficiency.

Custom software development is considered a strategic solution to boost business growth owing to the following advantages: 

Why is custom software development essential?

1. Precisely designed & developed to serve your particular business requirements

Because each business is unique, it’s hard to find off-the-shelf software development solutions that meet all requirements. Custom software development solutions are tailor-made for enterprises so that they precisely meet their specific needs.

2. Users experience improvement

Since the software is bespoke, you can freely add or remove features according to users’ feedback. These changes contribute to maintaining customers’ satisfaction and increasing their experience.

3. Easy integration with existing software

While ready-made software solutions often show low compatibility with existing equipment, custom ones prove the contrary. With a tailor-made software solution, you simply ask for integration that is settled down well with your existing ones. It also eliminates critical risks related to integration in further stages.

4. More security than already-made software development solutions

Due to being publically accessible, off-the-shelf software is more vulnerable to being the victim of cyberattacks. With custom software development, the risks of intrusions are minimized.

When does your business need to hire a custom software development company?

Because information technology is complicated and continually innovates, businesses, especially non-tech ones, cooperate with a custom software development company to implement software development projects more effectively. With a wide range of experience in software development, these companies ensure to give your businesses workable solutions, bridge your technology gap, and assist your business in handling technical issues.

It’s appropriate time for you to hire a custom software development company when:

1. You are looking for a cost-effective approach. Cooperating with a software development company reduces the costs of building a new apartment to develop your own software. Instead of hiring a team and starting everything from scratch, your business just needs to discuss your idea with a custom software development company, and they will take over the rest.

2. You want to increase flexibility and scalability for your business. Using software development services gives you the whole right to decide which features your business wants to include and which ones should be removed. Thanks to its customizability, the product can be scaled up or down resulting in increasing operability and productivity.

3. You want to maintain the competitive edge of your business. Because custom software development firms offer you tailor-made software solutions, it ensures your brand will always get a unique and innovative product that distinguishes you from your competitors.

4. You are finding reliable maintenance and technical support services. One of the outstanding advantages of a custom software development company is possessing a team of IT experts and software engineers. These proficient developers guarantee the quality of your product and give timely technical support after deployment.

Tips for choosing the right custom software development company

The number of custom software development companies have witnessed a robust increase worldwide. Although you can easily find a company providing what you are looking for, nothing guarantees these solutions effectively eliminate your problems. In fact, cooperating with a partner who cannot accurately bring what you need may prevent your project from coming to fruition. It explains why you should carefully select a partner before signing any agreement.

Continue reading and keep in mind the following tips. They may be helpful to assist you in finding out the leading tech companies for your project:

1. Checking company portfolio

A portfolio is a collection displaying professional projects that the company has implemented. It is a reference to evaluate potential partners honestly and clarify whether they have experience in your industry. Proper assessment from the first steps prevents your business from unexpected technical risks and wasting resources.

2. Getting testimonials and referrals

Testimonials and referrals can come in many forms but in a common goal - offering what customers think about specific custom development providers. Thus, it may be a reliable reference for you to decide whether this custom software development company meets your business requirements.

3. Emphasizing communication skills

In a complicated industry like technology, using a common language in interaction contributes to accelerating project progress and preventing you from unworthy issues related to language barriers. To prevent it, you should reach your potential partner via email and have face-to-face or online meetings with them before signing the agreement.

4. Focusing on competencies and skills

Even though there are many factors leading to the success of the project, competencies, and skills are still the most important ones. They allow software development engineers to evaluate and offer solutions effectively. Thus, your software development project will be done with the least investment of time and money.

5. Check the workflow of the software partner

Does your potential partner provide a transparent and easy-to-understand workflow? Can you easily access and track every development stage? Let’s carefully consider these aspects and make sure that you are committed to timely delivery.

The bottom line

Accessing software development is an inevitable trend to keep your enterprise up-to-date. If you are considering a reliable custom software company to cooperate with, drop by the NAPA website to find out more. For more informative articles, click on our NAPA Insights website now!

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