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The 5 Most Important Principles in Software Development

Matija Pavelić, Director of Strategy and Development

As a modern consulting company, Serengeti receives a different request regarding custom software development projects almost daily. Such requests address different business needs and markets, but in most cases, the focus is on the shortest possible delivery time with compromises on quality and showing short-term thinking. But here is an interesting paradox. In the high-tech sector, the pace of innovation is increasing – on the other hand, the expected lifetime of successful software applications is not decreasing, it is at least 10 to 15 years.

The focus should be on quality and easier maintenance and change request delivery. More realistic delivery deadlines at the beginning can significantly reduce costs for maintenance and lead to more options for application upgrades over the long term. It is more important to focus on the long term. In this blog post, I will try to describe the most important principles in modern software development which make modern software development more sustainable.

1. DevOps

DevOps is a set of tools and practices that combines software development and IT operations.

Under DevOps, development and operations are no longer two separate silos. They are merged into one single team where each individual works across the entire application lifecycle. The primary goal of DevOps is to automate almost everything. At first, it sounds rather expensive, but it’s not. The whole DevOps toolchain can be built by proven open-source tools, such as Docker, Kubernetes, GitHub Actions, Jenkins, Prometheus, Ansible, ELK Stack, and many more. To implement DevOps in your development lifecycle, all you need is time and change in your traditional mindset, but the benefits will be enormous. Some of the benefits of DevOps are speed, increased frequency and pace of releases, quality of application updates and infrastructure changes, scalability, and improved collaboration between teams.

2. Agile

Agile became a buzzword in 2020. Everything and everyone is agile – from decision-making to organizational culture. Agile became a synonym for teams or companies to deliver value to customer faster, of good quality, resistant to change. But agile is one of the most important principles in software development. According to its definition, Agile software development is a group of software development principles based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams.

In practice, the Agile methodology breaks complex projects into several phases, enabling teams to deliver in workable increments and continuous improvement at every stage. Each project stage contains defined process for planning, execution and evaluation phase. But the most important process is continuous collaboration, both with the team members and the stakeholders. The most popular Agile methodologies are Scrum and Kanban. Agile leads to better software quality, customer satisfaction, better control in the development process, improved project predictability, reduced risks, increased flexibility, and improved team morale.

3. Clean Code

There are developers and there are good developers. They both produce code – which operates in production. The main difference is in code quality. Good code is simple, consistent, and easy to read, it implements the best practices, and most importantly, it is easy to test and maintain. On the other hand, maintaining bad code can be challenging and time - consuming. Insisting on a clean code is a must and every developer can learn how to write good code if there is a will. For a start, I recommend reading Robert C. Martin’s “Clean Code”. In this book, the author describes the principles, patterns, and examples of writing clean code. Writing clean code will lead to saving costs in the long run for the company, but also help developers in their professional development.

4. Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is a set of principles for monitoring end-to-end software development projects with the goal of detecting issues and preventing failures or ensuring proper quality of the final software outcome compatible with business requirements and expectations. Sometimes quality assurance can be mixed with software testing. Software testing is focused on identifying bugs and errors by applying automatic tests or by doing manual testing and it is a part of the overall quality control process.

Quality assurance is focused on assuring the quality of a piece of software and it is in line with the customer’s requirements. Quality assurance ensures that the team follows procedures of the software development lifecycle. The main benefits of a good quality assurance process are improved software development efficiency, boosted customer satisfaction, and increased credibility.

5. Documentation

Documentation is the most underestimated part of the software development process – perhaps because it is hard to find the balance between too much and too little documentation. Finding the balance between time spent writing documentation and looking for information that each stakeholder needs is an art. Documentation helps keep track of all aspects of the software development process and it improves the quality of a software outcome. Successful documentation will make for easily accessible information, help new users to onboard quickly, lower support and maintenance costs.

In software development, we usually document different aspects of the development process – from business requirements, business specification, technical specification, code, test scenarios to user manuals. It’s a good thing that most of the documentation can be automated by using different tools such as AsciiDoc, Jira Confluence, Swagger, etc.

Every top expert is guided by principles. These are primarily guidelines that enable professionals to be unique in providing their services to clients. Software development also adheres to this rule.

There are certainly many more principles of modern software development. Our focus is to present those that we believe are the most demanding to implement and that we apply in our daily work.   Software engineers will do themselves a favor by adhering to the stated principles. This way, one will become more efficient in providing services to your customers and collaborating with fellow engineers.

If you have further questions about these principles, or anything else related to custom software development, let us know.

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