The Ultimate Guide to Custom Web & Software Development: Understanding the Custom Development Process

Understanding the Custom Development Process

Getting Started

The custom development process starts with identifying project requirements by understanding exactly what problems you need to solve. Then you can move on to planning and designing an appropriate solution before it goes into the testing stages. 

The custom development process begins by hiring an expert team of web or software developers (see Chapter III). They should understand how to interact with you as a provider and offer the technical skills to create a customer experience specific to your audience.

Identifying Project Requirements

In custom development, project requirements are the roadmap and blueprint for the project. Without them, custom development teams would lack direction and be unlikely to create software solutions that meet expectations or work as desired. 

Graphic of inclusions for proposals on custom development projects.

Generally, custom development project requirements should include a detailed explanation of the following aspects:

  • The customer’s specific goals
  • Desired features
  • System architecture
  • User interface design specifications
  • Scalability requirements
  • Security expectations
  • Documentation requirements

Taking the time to fully understand a customer’s problems and needs is essential as it provides the clarity needed to make informed decisions throughout the custom development process. 

With a clear understanding of the specific goals of your custom development project, the likelihood that the project is completed successfully increases dramatically.

Planning and Design

Customer development projects require significant initial planning and design. Within the planning stage, there are several technical approaches for you to understand in order to select the best option for your specific business needs—and customers.  

Using established development methodologies—such as Agile, DevOps, or Rapid Application Development (RAD)—the custom development team can create holistic plans customized for the specific project parameters that outline the scope, timeline, resources, and objectives of the respective custom development project. 

Agile Development

Agile divides 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.

Waterfall Development

This is another methodology in which projects are handled in linear subsequent phases. Each next phase is dependent upon the previous phases’ deliverables being completed and ready for the next processes — building momentum in a downward movement.

For more information on choosing the best approach for your project, please continue to section IV of this guide.

Development and Testing

Going into the development and testing stage, both custom web development and custom software development require careful consideration of several factors. 

Developers should work with you in order to identify project requirements, plans, and designs accordingly. Then, they need to test the product before it can be deployed. 

Important factors during this stage include:

  • Understanding your needs and goals
  • Aligning development objectives with your expectations
  • Creating a timeline for the development and testing process
  • Conduct usability tests with your real users
  • Ensuring you receive proper user instructions
  • Identifying any potential risks or security threats that could arise
  • Codify a plan for troubleshooting issues and bugs during testing

Deployment & Maintenance

Time for launch! When the development process is complete, you need to focus on overseeing the deployment and maintenance of your project. 

After launch, you should decide whether or not you should hire an in-house developer(s), keep the same development team who built the product, or outsource the maintenance of the product to a specialized development agency. The following chapters explain the process for making these important decisions.

Essential Elements to Launch and Maintain Your Custom Solution

Aside from personnel, the deployment and maintenance stage of a custom development project is where the product goes live in order to be used by its intended users. 

Graphic of elements to maintain a custom solution.

Tasks to focus on here include:

  • Setting up hosting environments
  • Configuring practical database access
  • Ensuring the smooth running of the website or application
  • Communication protocols for reporting maintenance requests from users
  • Communication protocols for fixing the maintenance requests

Establishing security protocols to protect the product, its users, and your business from external attacks and potential internal vulnerabilities should also be clearly defined at this stage. Ask the developers to describe how and why they made each security-related decision.

The overall system performance must also be monitored closely in order to ensure it meets user expectations and performance criteria — and to avoid costly downtime.

Next up, contingency plans should be prepared in case of unforeseen downtime or other events do occur that impact or disrupt normal usage or operation of the product.

Finally, the development team needs to provide detailed documentation that includes cogent details on how to deploy, maintain, and secure the product. This documentation is also necessary in case there is ever a need for future modifications or fixes. 

To summarize, important factors throughout the stage include:

  • Establish communication protocols for maintenance requests
  • Ensure application, software, or website security with regular updates
  • Monitor system performance and user experience regularly
  • Prepare contingency plans in case of unforeseen events
  • Create detailed documentation that explains all of the above

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

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