The Ultimate Guide to Custom Web & Software Development: Best Practices for Custom Development

Best Practices for Custom Development

As mentioned in previous chapters, there are several methodological approaches to consider when establishing how your custom development project gets completed. Some methods are more hands-on than others, requiring more time and direct input from the client. 

Agile Development Methodologies

Delays in the hyper-competitive development industry can easily cost custom development agencies their competitive edge. And likewise, their clients. 

Understanding this, Agile Development is a way for them to prioritize working products over exhaustive documentation, and transparent client engagement and collaboration over tedious processes. Done right, the result is a streamlined, functioning product.

The true value of Agile Development

Agile is a more client-intensive approach that allows you to stay involved throughout the development process. An Agile approach is likely the most efficient in terms of being responsive and flexible to development changes and alterations during the project timeline.

Agile Development, to reiterate, emphasizes dividing the functionality of custom development into sections that can be rapidly produced and deployed while incorporating a feedback loop to address any flaws or defects as they appear. 

Agile development consists of short, time-structured iterations called “sprints.” Each sprint— generally lasting about one to two weeks—should result in a working product.

Where do I fit into the Agile Development process?

Generally, an Agile team is leaner than a traditional project team and consists of no more than 10-12 people. An Agile development team often includes:

Where clients fit within an agile development team.

Ideally, you remain available to the development team throughout each sprint.  You can then answer questions and provide feedback in order to keep the project moving. If you prefer to have a team manage this process for you, you can hire a specialized digital agency on the Credo Platform

Why You Should Implement User-centered Design

User-centered design (UCD) is a process that focuses on users and their needs when creating a product or service. Basically, it combines UX and UI under one umbrella.  

UCD involves understanding the goals, motivations, and needs of the user and then designing a product or service to meet those needs. UCD seeks to create products that are both useful and usable for your customers.

The user-centered design process includes research into the target audience, analysis of user interactions with products, prototyping new features, testing the prototype with real users, and iterative evaluation by designers and QA testers. 

The main benefit of implementing UCD is that it allows you to create more successful products in less time. Mainly, because the development team won’t have to spend time redesigning features due to miscommunication or incorrect assumptions about your customer’s preferences. 

Perhaps most importantly, it also increases customer satisfaction since customers will see that their ideas and input have been taken into account during development.

Security and Compliance

Security and compliance are absolutely essential during a custom development project because they help protect confidential data, users’ personal information, and the company’s intellectual property from malicious actors. 

Image about security and compliance in custom development.

Implementing security measures helps to ensure that the product is compliant with industry regulations and standards which can help prevent legal issues and costly fines. 

Especially in web development, failing to adhere to these standards can also result in stiff penalties by Google and other search engines. Such penalizations have a devastating impact on your brand’s SEO and how easy it is for potential customers to find you. And getting out of Google’s doghouse is no small task!

Finally, having secure systems in place can boost customer trust in your company.

Here are the key points to keep in mind:

  • Compliance with industry standards and regulations must be observed during the development process to protect data, ensure secure product deployment, and prevent unauthorized access.
  • Security measures should be implemented throughout the entire product lifecycle, from design to testing. This includes secure coding practices, authentication protocols, encryption methods, and access control measures.
  • Regular audits of security systems should be conducted to identify any potential weaknesses in security or compliance before they become a problem.
  • All users should be provided with clear guidelines on how to use the system securely, including logging out after every session, not sharing passwords, and avoiding suspicious links or downloads.
  • Any and all changes made to the website, software, or application must also include an assessment of their impact on security and compliance.

Scalability and Performance Optimization

Scalability and performance optimization are core aspects of successful custom development projects. 

Scalability refers to the ability of a system to increase or decrease its capability and performance in reaction to changes in user traffic.

Performance optimization is the process of tweaking and finetuning the software, hardware, and overall processes involved in custom development to ensure the maximum efficiency of the product. Both these application needs must be assessed early on in the project in order to allow for forward-thinking and future-proof technological decisions can be better made. 

These two elements are important for future success and growth opportunities because they allow the product to expand along with customer demand while simultaneously providing a fast, efficient user experience. This can help boost customer loyalty and sales while also allowing the product to remain competitive in the market.

How do these concepts overlap in custom development?

First, both require careful planning during the initial stages of development. Together, they set the stage for the sustainable, continued growth of the project and allow for easier maintenance of the project over its lifetime. 

For scalability, this includes understanding the expected user growth or load fluctuations and creating a system that can handle increased demand without crashing.

Similarly, performance optimization involves selecting the right hardware and software components as well as selecting efficient coding techniques in order to create the fastest, most reliable product possible.  

Scalability and performance optimization certainly set a project up for lasting success. But keep in mind, each requires ongoing monitoring and incremental modifications in order to ensure that the system remains fast, reliable, and secure.

The Quality of Custom Development 

The quality of custom web development or custom software development can vary depending on several factors such as the experience and skills of the development team, the technologies used, and the project management processes put in place.

Custom development can offer high-quality solutions when:

✅  The development team has a proven track record of delivering high-quality projects and relevant industry experience.
✅  The development team uses modern technologies and best practices to ensure that the solution is scalable, secure, and easy to maintain.
✅  The development team follows the project management process, including requirements gathering, planning, development, testing, and deployment.
✅  The development team follows a UCD process to ensure the custom solution meets the needs of the users it was created for.
✅  The development team has a good communication and collaboration process in place, which allows for timely feedback and revisions.
✅  The development team has a good troubleshooting and testing process in place, which ensures the solution is free of bugs and errors.
✅  The development team has a good maintenance and support process in place, allowing the solution to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of the business.

However, it’s worth noting that the quality of custom development can also depend on the client’s participation and having a clear scope with predefined requirements.

Key takeaway? The quality of custom development increases when the team has a proven track record, uses modern technologies, follows the project management process, employs a user-centered design approach, and has good communication, testing, and maintenance processes in place. 

Affordability of Custom Development 

The cost of custom development can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as the complexity of the project, the size of the development team, their level of experience, the tools they use, and where the development team is located (see below).

Graphic about the affordability of custom development.

Notably, custom development is generally more expensive than using pre-built solutions in terms of upfront costs, but it can also offer more benefits and value in the long run. Therefore, it tends to be more cost-effective than using off-the-shelf templates or generic solutions that may not fully meet your brand’s needs.

This is why custom development can be more expensive than using pre-built solutions, but can also offer more benefits and value to your customers through the unique digital experience that only you are able to offer.

So, in terms of the overall ROI for your brand, custom development is generally a net positive over the long term when compared to other, mass-produced alternatives.  

Geographical Cost Considerations

It’s worth noting again that the cost of custom web development or custom software development may vary depending on the location of the development team.

For example, hiring a development team in the US, Canada, or Western Europe might generally be more expensive than hiring a team in Eastern Europe, Africa, or Asia. As with outsourcing any business task overseas, you may find more competitive rates due to a generally lower cost of living. However, that does not mean developers in those regions are any less talented — just that the costs of labor tends to be lower.

Expanding on that point, another geographic consideration is that localized time zones might be different for developers abroad from brands in North America. As a result, lags in response times may disrupt communication over the length of the project and possibly extend deadlines.

In the end, the most important thing to keep in mind when hiring a custom development agency is that cost is one only factor when making such a crucial decision for your business. Quality, expertise, and communication are all equally important variables! 

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This page last updated on March 15, 2023 by Credo Team

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