Custom Software Development: Not a One-Size-Fits-All Gig
Explaining to our customers that custom software development isn't a one-size-fits-all gig is by no means revolutionary. By definition, customization is anything but one-size-fits-all. But let us unpack this a little bit. Let us dig deeper than the obvious fact that custom development allows you to get exactly what you want in a business software package.
It is a given that we can leverage our modular software development approach to create whatever a client wants and needs. But there is more to software customization than just the end product. Customization extends all the way back to the beginning of the development process when new software is first in the inception stages.
Different Ways to Develop Software
There are many ways to develop software from the ground up. We utilize a modular approach that starts with basic modules we can adapt, build on, and customize. But even within the modular approach, there are different schools of thought. There are different approaches, so to speak.
One of the older approaches is known as waterfall development. Under a waterfall scenario, you begin with one stage. You complete that stage before you move to the next. No stage can be started until the previous stage is completed. It is like water going over the falls and then flowing down a river.
A newer, more modern approach is known as agile software development. Under the agile model, development is broken down into individual tasks that are then assigned to teams. Each task is being developed simultaneously. Developers and teams get together on a regular basis to analyze, compare, and integrate their work.
Neither waterfall nor agile software development is superior or inferior to the other. They are just different ways of doing things. Once again, custom software development is not a one-size-fits-all gig.
In-House Development and Outsourcing Custom Software Development
Yet another example of how customization changes things is observed in who actually takes on development. A company choosing custom software has made the decision not to buy an off-the-shelf product. But from where do they get the software they want?
One company might rely on a team of developers already on the payroll. They develop the software in-house. Another company might bring in independent contractors to handle the project. Still, another might outsource everything to a software development company.
There is no right or wrong approach here. Companies need to choose the development model that suits them best. In-house development is not right for every company and every project. Neither are the other two models.
Testing Software Prior to Release
Although we could continue this line of thinking indefinitely, we do need to limit the length of this post. Therefore, one last thing to consider is how software is tested prior to official release. A good software developer will put a product through its paces before declaring it ready for production.
One approach is to rely exclusively on internal testing. Another is to send a software product out for external testing. A third approach is to combine both internal and external options.
There are differences in what is tested, as well. Sometimes developers expect testers to try to break their software. Other times it is a matter of testing a GUI for user-friendliness. The possibilities are limited only by the limits of the software itself.
The final word on all of this is that custom software development is distinct and different from standardized, off-the-shelf development at nearly every level. When you are building custom software for business, you need to build it in whatever way is best for the client. It cannot be one-size-fits-all because every client is different.