Developing digital products is an exciting collaborative process, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, when you think of the mounting pressure to reduce deadlines and roll out digital products before your competitors, coupled with the ever-complex task of actually developing a digital product that is relevant to the current consumer market, then you find that things can spiral out of control quite quickly. Why? Because people are terrible at multitasking, and you can’t expect anyone to do their best under extreme pressure.
Alas, this is the reality of software development, and why so many companies fall prey to common mistakes in web development, as well as app and software creation in general. Sometimes, though, it’s not even that the deadlines are too short or that the market is evolving faster than you can adapt; sometimes, your team simply lacks the necessary expertise and the concrete development structure to push the process forward as a whole. All of this can hinder the project, and make you fall short of your objectives.
Here is your guide to avoid this scenario, boost your digital product development, and achieve your ultimate goals.
Create a detailed workflow
First things first, you have to create a detailed workflow to help you run a smooth process that will leave nothing to chance. Creating a workflow for your development team is not just about creating new tasks and updating them, it’s also about setting numerous key stages that tasks have to go through, making clear and concise task overviews and briefs, and creating mandatory steps that employees have to take to push a task to the next stage, for example. Because after all, tasks in a software development project are typically complex and multi-faceted, and they require the input of numerous key individuals in your team.
Consider adding these stages to your workflow, so that you can organize the entire process:
This simple five-step process should serve as the foundation of your workflow, and you should always stick to it in order to keep the project going.
Master the definition of “done”
Too often will you see companies and their teams make the grave mistake of giving something the green light when it should have obviously remained in development, or even scrapped completely. Remember, when you mark a task as “done”, you better mean it, otherwise you risk hindering the entire project, missing your deadlines, or even worse, you risk rolling out a subpar product. The customers won’t be able to forgive you, which is why you have to prevent this by mastering the definition of done.
To mark a task as done and allow it to move up the development chain or even push it towards deployment, you should:
- Make sure that all features are implemented.
- Make sure that the task is acing every test.
- Make sure that it passes the QA process.
- Make sure that all documentation is relevant and updated.
- Make sure that the code is verified in the master branch.
- And finally, make sure that the code is ready for production.
When a task or a feature passes all of these checkpoints, you can safely mark it as “done”. This will prevent unwanted rollbacks and save you time and other resources that you would have to waste on costly reworks.
Adopt the DevOps approach to software development
One of the most important changes you make to your entire software development process is to adopt an entirely new philosophy, a new development mindset, and a concrete set of tools that will boost collaboration, automate as many processes as possible, and shorten your time to market. This is embodied in the DevOps approach, which has become the standard in the industry in recent years.
To achieve all of the above, business leaders are nowadays employing comprehensive DevOps services and embracing the DevOps approach to software creation that allows them to solve problems faster, raise efficiency through automation, and keep the project running smoothly through a thriving team culture. By adopting DevOps yourself, you will have the framework and the structure necessary to optimize every part of the software development process.
Rely on real-time reporting and oversight
Speaking of efficiency and optimization, another important factor is that you always have to stay in the know, and oversee every part of the project to ensure flexibility and agility within your team. Your team members need to be able to resolve problems at a moment’s notice, and they need to be able to adapt to new circumstances quickly in order to keep the project going. Be sure to employ real-time reporting tools and comprehensive dashboards that will give you a bird’s eye overview of the entire process.
Invest heavily in marketing and promotion
And finally, keep in mind that the success of your digital product doesn’t just depend on the efficiency of the development process, but also on the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. When the time comes to roll out your product, you have to have a set of key marketing tactics at the ready in order to boost the product’s competitive advantage from day one, spark engagement, and get people to sign up for the free trial or even buy the product. Don’t leave marketing on the backburner, instead, focus on creating a strong marketing strategy well before deployment.
There is a lot that can go wrong during software development, and while there is always a chance that you’ll encounter some unforeseen problems, there’s not much you won’t be able to overcome with a strong battle plan. Use these tips to improve your digital product development process, and then market it successfully to your target demo.