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Digital Software Development

Overview

Software architecture is like a building's foundation.

You need a solid starting ground if you want to build something robust and long-lasting. Initial decisions will impact your application's lifecycle, maintenance, performance, and scalability.

Abstract representation of software development

Development

Choosing the right technical stack is crucial. This is the main piece of technology that will dictate whether your software will stand the test of time or not.

There are more than enough cases where the initial technical stack was not greatly considered, and in a few years' time the entire application had to be refactored and a different technical solution had to be chosen.

Coding standards & best practices are easily overlooked in the initial stages of product development, as it adds a bit of overhead to the team's effort.

Not taking them into consideration will add a great deal of technical debt, which will most likely never get fully addressed. Companies will use hacks and workarounds to keep the product working, but in time it will become unstable.

Test-driven development has been the way to go for a long time. Everybody suggests this approach, but only a few teams make it part of their arsenals. Even those who do will only use this approach mid-development.

Having TDD from the start ensures a good code base that will allow a product's features to be developed without headaches.

In a software product, like in many other areas, collaboration and communication are key. For these reasons, Code review must be "enforced" in a product's development lifecycle.

It will make all team members aware of any changes to the product, even if that's not their area of expertise. Besides being up to date with changes, they can offer feedback or share their input to any implementation decision.


QA

Testing in software engineering is fundamental in creating reliable and usable software products.

The main problem with testing is that it's not immediately apparent that you need it.


`You write a piece of code, and you know it works. You just wrote it. You just ran it…Six months pass. It is time to refactor your code. You would kill for some tests.`

- Swizec Teller, You don't need tests

Bugs are expensive, and production bugs are the worst offenders. Some reports are suggesting that the cost of fixing a bug after a product has hit the market is four to five times more than the one of a bug found during the development stage. And that cost might increase, depending on its business impact. So it's crucial for the testing part to start early in the process, and any new iteration needs to be re-checked according to specs.

In addition to catching new bugs, we put a strong emphasis on automated tests, to prevent regressions. While you can rely solely on manual tests, this cost grows linearly as the number of features increases. Automated tests can be written once and run frequently for little to no cost.

A clear sign that you should perform an automated test is given by the presence of repeated test tasks that are time-consuming and may be subject to human error.

Once the correct functionality of a component is positively assessed by a software engineer within a test environment, an automated test can be implemented to prevent regression. By following this pattern in the following iterations, manual testing efforts can focus on the most important part: testing the application. The automated tests will make sure the previous functionality wasn't affected by the latest code updates.

Besides functional testing, non-functional testing is essential for asserting the usability, performance, security, and adaptability of a software. This process involves a range of activities designed to improve the system's or application's performance, uncovering hidden vulnerabilities and guaranteeing the development of a sound and robust user application.


Operations

Project infrastructure done right can have a positive impact.

From efficient CI/CD flows that allow engineers to focus on the application to failure resilience, all pieces of the puzzle matter.

Create efficient CI/CD flows that allow developers to implement and test new features faster. An automated release process allows teams to easily move code safely across environments. This brings together the development and the operations teams, as more frequent changes can be pushed while the stability of the environments increases.

Infrastructure design can greatly increase the stability of the application and decrease the overall running costs. Tight collaboration between the development and the operations teams reveals the best solution, one that's fine-tuned to your business needs. Regardless of the used technology, IaaC projects allow standardized configurations, which enable a faster and more reliable change management process. Modern cloud environments and container orchestrators provide the necessary building blocks for an efficient, easy to manage, failure resistant, and secure design for most businesses.


Project Management

Project management in software development is all about team coordination, software delivery, and quality assurance.

It makes sure goals and requirements are clear, execution plans are in place, and the progress is properly tracked while encouraging efficient collaboration practices. It also sets the basis for a growth-oriented environment where the team learns from previous projects and improves its processes for future ones.

Clarity in goals, requirements, and priorities is one of the most impactful parts of a software development project. To be effective, the team has to understand the business problems in great detail. They have to know the value and importance of each objective in order to provide the best solutions, in the right order, under the given constraints.

Planning is the essential part of breaking down development tasks, defining priorities, deciding the order of execution, and properly allocating them between team members.

The Monitoring and Controlling stage keeps the project and the development teams on track under the given time, scope, and budget constraints. This step allows us to compare the actual progress with the planned one, focus on the main deliverables, make course corrections, and compromise if needed.

Good collaboration makes a team perform at its best across the entire development lifecycle. We encourage and facilitate open and asynchronous communication, clarity in objectives, and transparency in the development progress. At the same time, we're challenging assumptions and solutions, offering timely feedback, and identifying dependencies and roadblocks.

Risk Management is an instrumental part of a project's success journey. It makes the team think about possible obstacles and come up with alternative solutions or a mitigation plan to prevent and reduce the potential negative effects that might occur if things don't go as planned.

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