Top 10 Challenges In Software Product Development And Solutions
The process of software development is a complicated one and is influenced by several factors such as the team working on it and the technology being used. It is not enough to simply select the right professionals and tools, it is equally crucial to managing the entire process efficiently. Whether you are building a simple application or a complex digital product, it is important to be aware that you may face numerous challenges and obstacles along the way.
This article outlines the top ten most common and significant challenges you may encounter during software development. Additionally, it offers guidance on how to address these issues and provides a helpful checklist that can assist in identifying problem areas in your application. Remember that problems and bugs are inevitable in any IT project, but by identifying which aspects of your software development process are causing issues, you can respond appropriately and save time and money.
1. No strategy or an unclear vision
One major obstacle I want to highlight is the absence of a consistent strategy or a clear vision that is not universally understood. It is a significant error to view the development team solely as individuals responsible for producing more lines of code, creating new views of an application, or implementing new features. Instead, the team should have a clear understanding of the software's purpose and the problems it is meant to address. This is important because a committed and efficient development team comprehends the product's purpose and plays a key role in its effectiveness. They can offer not only high-quality code but also valuable feedback and novel ideas for advancing the product in a manner that supports the primary objectives of the project.
2. No goals to achieve
The second obstacle you might encounter is that your product team lacks clear objectives for each phase of the software development process. This implies that if your team is working with scrum methodology, every sprint ought to have a specific goal that the team should attain. Teamwork that is based on achieving objectives is more effective, leading to better quality outcomes and increased business value.
For instance, suppose you are developing an application for the beauty industry. Your team is presently working on a feature that will facilitate the onboarding of more app users. If your team understands that the aim is to raise the number of new registrations on the platform, you can be confident that they will be more engaged and perhaps recommend innovative solutions that can help achieve this objective. Conversely, if they are unclear about the purpose of a particular functionality, they will treat it as just another part of the product that needs to be written and implemented, with no real commitment. They will simply implement the required functionality without any proactive contribution. Therefore, set clear objectives from the outset and encourage proactive participation.
3. Wrong software development methodology
When creating and enhancing a software product, selecting a development methodology is a crucial task. The key challenge is to make the right choice, taking into account various factors. For instance, if your product is complex and involves many problems that need fixing throughout the development process, opting for the scrum methodology might be the best option.
In contrast, using the waterfall model could be more challenging for your team to attain goals, focus on the relevant aspects, and provide the appropriate value. However, if you are establishing another e-commerce store with well-defined requirements, scrum methodology might not be the optimal approach. Ultimately, the selection of the development methodology should be tailored to the specific project requirements.
4. Lack of competence
The fourth challenge is related to the inadequacy of necessary skills within your development team. This issue may arise when your team initiates a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and the progress is smooth until the app gains a sudden surge in users. While this is a positive development indicating popularity, it poses a significant challenge to the team. The product may not be equipped to handle such a large user base, and if the team lacks experience in backend development or proper architecture, it can lead to problems in product management and result in platform failures. To address this challenge, it is crucial that those managing development team resources are aware of when to properly set up the team or hire additional people with the requisite skills to ensure successful product development.
5. Technological debt
A common challenge that arises during software development is known as technological debt. This term refers to a situation where, despite having an excellent development team, various factors, such as evolving technologies, constantly change. This includes new versions of frameworks and libraries, along with new user requirements for applications. If your team is solely focused on adding new features and has no time to improve the system's architecture, backend development, or behaviour, it can lead to problems. Eventually, outdated technology in your product will become a major issue, making it difficult to add new features or modify existing ones. This requires significant changes in the existing code, which can consume both time and money. Therefore, it is crucial for your team to allocate sufficient time to update the code and documentation with the latest technological tools continually. Continuous improvement and updating are critical to mitigate technological debt.
6. Lack of continuous integration
Continuous integration refers to the automated process of code checking, building, testing, and integration that occurs when a developer uploads new code to the repository. This approach is essential because it saves significant time and reduces costs while increasing efficiency. With continuous integration, your development team can concentrate on more critical aspects of the project instead of wasting time building new product versions. Therefore, if your product does not already incorporate continuous integration, it should be a priority for your team.
7. No automated testing
The seventh challenge involves application testing. In most cases, manually testing items delivered by developers can be highly inefficient, requiring substantial amounts of time and money. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize the implementation of automated tests, which can be applied at various levels.
For instance, there are unit tests that concentrate on code integration, integration tests that focus on testing the interfaces between different layers of the solution, and UI tests, where automated code emulates user behavior. Developers and testers no longer need to perform the testing themselves. Instead, it is sufficient to write code once, which can effectively handle the testing process.
8. Lack of metrics and feedback
Another challenge that can arise during software development is the absence of metrics in the product. This implies that you do not have an understanding of how many people are registered on your platform, how they use it, and where potential issues may arise.
For example, you may notice that many individuals access the registration page but do not complete the process, indicating a bug in the system that requires correction. However, without tracking this issue, it is difficult to identify the problem and fix it without user feedback. Therefore, it is critical to gather data about your application and its users. This information is invaluable and can assist in quickly identifying bugs and adapting the app to the requirements of your users.
9. Lack of proper documentation
It's important to base your product development on thorough documentation rather than just relying on user stories. Consider what would happen if some of your top programmers left or if your entire team disappeared - would you be able to smoothly transition the product development to someone else?
If you're unsure or didn't answer yes to these questions, it may indicate that you don't have enough documentation to ensure the safety and continuity of your product. You don't necessarily need to store a large number of documents, but the ones you do have should describe the essential aspects of your product development.
10. Separate product development from maintenance work and support
The last challenge that needs to be addressed is the division of development work and product maintenance and support work. When your software is in a product version, it's important to not only focus on developing new features or versions, but also on maintaining and supporting the current users. This responsibility is often shared between two teams, but if there is a bug that needs to be fixed, it's best to use the most skilled people in your team to address it. If you allocate the best people solely to development work while someone else handles maintenance, you'll likely experience worse results than if the whole team works together and uses prioritization to focus on the most important tasks. It's possible to work on both development and maintenance simultaneously as long as everything is set up properly, such as using a git repository.