Software Development Key Practices: Building Reliable Applications


Software Development Key Practices: Building Reliable Applications

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SashaContent Manager

Sasha the Creator

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12 min read



One of the key objectives of any software development project is to build reliable applications that function smoothly and consistently. 

However, a glitch or failure in an application can have devastating impacts, ranging from financial losses to compromised security and eroded customer trust. The Standish Group report states that every new software is challenged 47% of the time, succeeds only 4% of the time, and fails 49% of the time. Not a great statistic, right?

But following best software development practices will help reduce the risk of your project falling into that 49%. Developing guidelines and techniques ensures that the application not only meets functional requirements but also performs consistently under various conditions. 

This article delves into these key practices that will help build reliable, robust, and resilient applications. Stay tuned!

On the spot

To develop a compelling product, several practices in each development phase make it possible to release software that attracts millions:

⦿ Planning and requirement analysis: user stories and use cases, feasibility analysis, and proper planning
⦿ Design and architecture: high-level design, low-level design and database design
⦿ Development and coding: version control systems, code reviews, and engineering standards compliance
⦿ Testing and quality assurance: automated testing, manual testing, testing as you go, and CI/CD
⦿ Deployment and maintenance: strategic deployment methods, analytics tools, regular updates and patches
⦿ Documentation and knowledge management: code documentation, user documentation, and technical documentation
⦿ Security and performance: data privacy measures and performance testing

Following this list gives you a full development vision and ensures the success of your project collaboration. Interested to learn more about this topic? Welcome to read further!

Planning and Requirement Analysis

Software development key practices

Thorough planning sets the foundation for a reliable application. A well-defined roadmap that takes into account the needs of all stakeholders — developers, project managers, end-users, and business leaders — is crucial for a project's success. 

  • Various tools and techniques, like user stories and use cases, we employ to gather and document these requirements effectively. 
  • Alongside this, a feasibility analysis helps to assess the technical, operational, and financial viability of the project. This includes, among all, evaluating the available hardware, software, and human resources to ascertain if they align with the project scope and objectives. The outcome of the feasibility analysis can then guide resource planning.

Proper planning is essential not just for effective resource allocation but also for setting a realistic timeline, fitting budget, and defining key milestones.

Based on the gathered requirements, we develop a roadmap that outlines the development process, complete with milestones and deadlines. Skipping or rushing through the planning and requirements analysis phase can result in missed opportunities, scope creep, and even project failure

How we do it

At the beginning of cooperation with our Clients, first of all, we hold meetings to find out all business requirements, wishes, or ideas that they want to see in the project. 

Understanding and documenting business requirements guarantees our Clients that the developed software not only meets but often exceeds their expectations, establishing its reliability from the outset.

Design and Architecture

Software development key practices

The design and architecture of a software application are the structural bones that dictate its long-term viability and reliability. Well-thought-out, they ensure that the software is not only functional but also scalable, maintainable, and capable of adapting to future changes.

High-level design focuses on system architecture and data flow between modules, setting the stage for the more detailed work that follows. Conversely, low-level design drills down to the specifics, dealing with algorithmic detail and data structures. 

A focus on modularity and decomposition further enhances reliability; breaking down complex systems into smaller, manageable modules allows for easier testing, updating, and troubleshooting. This modular approach also promotes reusability and makes the software easier to understand and work with. 

Database design is another pivotal aspect that shouldn't be overlooked. Employing techniques like normalization and adhering to ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties ensures that the data remains consistent and transactions are processed reliably. A well-designed database supports the application's functional requirements, scalability, and performance. 

How we do it

In our design work, we apply a multi-stage approach, about which you can learn more in the article "UX/UI in Custom Software Development: SENLA’s Unique 7-Step Approach to Design".

Development and Engineering

Software development key practices

In the realm of software development, the actual engineering phase is often considered the heart of the process. But it's crucial to incorporate several best practices into this stage to build a reliable application. 

  • Version control systems like Git or SVN are foundational, serving as a collaborative platform and safeguarding the code by tracking changes and making it easier to roll back to previous versions when needed. 
  • Code reviews form another essential layer of quality assurance; through peer reviews, potential errors can be caught early, improving both the code quality and reliability. 
  • Adhering to engineering standards is equally significant. Following language-specific and project-specific guidelines ensures that the code remains consistent, readable, and easier to maintain, which in turn enhances the application's reliability.

Taken together, these practices create a robust engineering environment. By carefully orchestrating these elements, your developers can significantly improve the reliability of the software they build.

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Testing and Quality Assurance

Software development key practices

Quality assurance practices should not be an afterthought; they must be integrated throughout the development lifecycle. 

Different types of testing, including unit testing, integration testing, and system testing, each play a vital role in identifying various kinds of issues that could impact an application's reliability. While unit testing examines individual components of the software, integration testing ensures that these components work seamlessly together, and system testing checks the entire system's behavior. 

Automated testing tools like JUnit for Java or Selenium for web applications facilitate this by executing scripted scenarios quickly and providing immediate feedback. Automation is especially useful for regression testing, ensuring that new changes haven't broken existing functionalities. However, manual testing still holds importance, particularly for exploring edge cases and performing user-experience checks that automated scripts may not capture effectively. 

Testing As You Go practices, such as Unit Testing or Test-Driven Development (TDD), help identify and fix issues in real-time, thus minimizing bugs and improving the software's robustness. 

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines integrate all the above-mentioned testing methodologies into the development workflow. These pipelines help automatically build, test, and deploy the application whenever changes are made, ensuring ongoing reliability. By integrating testing into the CI/CD process, your developers can catch issues early, often before they reach the end-users, thus preserving the integrity of the software. 

Deployment and Maintenance

Software development key practices

Utilizing strategic deployment methods such as Blue/Green Deployment or Canary Release allows for safer rollouts, enabling quick rollbacks if issues arise. These strategies not only minimize downtime but also reduce the risk associated with deploying new changes to the user base. 

Employing analytics tools can provide insights into various performance metrics like CPU usage and error rates, helping us identify potential issues before they become critical problems. These metrics serve as early warning systems, allowing for proactive maintenance efforts. 

Furthermore, regular updates and patches are necessary for the long-term reliability of the software. These updates bring new features and address any discovered vulnerabilities, performance bottlenecks, or bugs, ensuring that the application continues to meet its reliability standards.

How we do it

We provide post-launch maintenance with the 24/7 support ability upon request. We've provided this opportunity to our Client Abbott (and others, which you can check out here). 

Additionally, we give a warranty on our products for a certain period with a guarantee budget. This gives our Clients the confidence that we will come back and fix anything that can go wrong during the development process.

Documentation and Knowledge Management

Software development key practices

Proper documentation serves as a roadmap for the development team, clarifying the architecture, explaining code logic, and offering guidelines for the use and modification of the software. 

  • Code documentation, which encompasses in-code comments, README files, and other annotations, serves as an invaluable guide for developers, simplifying maintenance and debugging efforts. 
  • User documentation, including user manuals and FAQs, empowers end-users to understand the software's functionalities, reducing the likelihood of user-induced errors and improving overall reliability. 
  • Technical documentation, such as architecture diagrams and data models, provides a bird's-eye view of the system and can be critical during troubleshooting or system upgrades. By capturing this information cohesively, the development team creates a knowledge base that not only aids current members but also accelerates the onboarding of new talent.

High-quality documentation minimizes the learning curve and knowledge gaps within the team, contributing to more efficient problem-solving. 

Knowledge management techniques, such as wikis or internal portals, can be employed to centralize and easily disseminate this valuable information. By investing time and resources into these areas, our Clients can significantly mitigate risks and improve the longevity of their software solutions.

Security and Performance

Software development key practices

Security practices should also be integrated into the software development life cycle, rather than being treated as an afterthought. This involves conducting regular security audits, running code reviews to identify vulnerabilities, and implementing robust authentication and encryption methods to secure both the application and its data. 

Data privacy measures, like proper storage and secure transfer, should be an integral part of the development process to ensure compliance with legal and ethical standards. 

On the performance front, regular performance testing is indispensable for gauging how the application behaves under different conditions, thereby allowing for optimization efforts to improve speed, responsiveness, and overall user experience. 

. This can include testing the application under heavy loads, checking its response time, and analyzing its scalability. Performance optimization techniques to address any discovered issues include code refactoring as well as database tuning, and caching.

How we do it

We sign NDAs with our Clients to ensure data security from the start. We take privacy seriously, store data correctly, and adhere to strict security protocols to follow global security standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 27001, and HIPAA. We maximize intellectual property protection and project confidentiality.

You can find more about security in our article "How To Ensure Cyber Security In Software Development: 12 best practices for outsourcing".

Wrapping Up

Adhering to software development best practices is a cornerstone in the creation of efficient and ultimately robust applications. From initial planning to continuous improvement, each stage of development benefits from a structured, thoughtful approach that prioritizes quality, performance, and security. 

Let this article serve as an encouragement and a roadmap for you to embed these practices into your own software development lifecycle, assuring a product that stands the test of time. If you are interested in finding out more about our best development practices, fill out the form below and we will gladly answer all your questions!


Eagerness to deliver

We don't limit ourselves with standard practices and agreed-upon conditions only. If a project starts demanding more, we are the first to discuss. We do everything to ensure that our Clients are fully satisfied. You can learn how we work in our success stories section.

Commitment to Client satisfaction

We are here to fulfill your wishes! SENLA aims to deliver the best result for the Client and introduce all the changes and updates needed.

Long-term focus

We aim to become your rock-solid business partner fortifying you with exceptional technology expertise and perfect execution. And we approach this in all seriousness. We won’t try to drag you into cooperation at all costs just to make money from you (e.g by lying that we have whom you need and meanwhile just hunting them).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we start cooperation?

First is an introductory call with our BD team to clarify the project needs. Upon your request we sign an NDA. After the evaluation, we offer a preliminary solution (CV, timelines, etc.). If everything is OK, our staff can get to work in as little as 5-10 business days, depending on the engagement model that you choose.

When is manual testing necessary, and how does it contribute to software reliability?

Manual approach is often necessary for usability testing and for cases where automated testing falls short. It adds another layer of quality assurance, contributing to the overall reliability of the application. See more about in the article "The Main Types of Software Testing Methodologies and Testing Based on Business Objectives".

How do you approach documentation and knowledge management to ensure long-term reliability and easy maintenance of software?

We place a strong emphasis on comprehensive documentation and knowledge management to ensure long-term reliability. This includes maintaining well-commented code, creating detailed technical documentation, user manuals and FAQs for end-users. These documents are regularly updated, facilitating smooth knowledge transfer among team members and aiding in quick issue resolution.

What if the requirements change during the process? How flexible are you to changes?

A Client’s satisfaction is the top priority for us. We support all actual software development models, so whatever your requirements are, on whatever conditions — be sure we can accommodate.
Our engagement models are also highly flexible for scaling. For example, our offshore development center can give out up to 100 experts per year! All we need to change conditions in a 1-month prior notice and that’s it.

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