Software development means, creating software to fulfill the specific needs of the customers. Depending upon their requirements, the software outsourcing firms develop customized software solutions. The client requirement can be an open source software or program for personal use.
Software development is an extension of computer programming. In programming, programmers design and write, test and troubleshoot, and maintain the source code of the computer programs. The source code is written in programming language. Software development extends beyond programming and it includes research and development, modification for re-use, re-engineering, maintenance and any other activity, which creates desired software product.
The software outsourcing firm can follow a structured, engineering based approach or an incremental approach depending upon the requirements of the project. However, most software development methodologies adopted by the software development firms, adopt an approach which is a mix of below mentioned stages:
Understanding and analyzing the specific needs/problems of the customer.
Devising a strategic plan or design for the software-based solution.
Implementation (coding) of the software.
Test running of the software.
Maintenance and bug fixing (quality check)
These all stages are combined together to create a software development life cycle or SDLC. Depending upon the specific needs of the clients the software outsourcing firm creates and delivers a specific software solution. This involves development of software at above mentioned stages, in different orders. The development process may devote more or less to any particular stage depending upon the requirements of the project.
The development software firm can adopt a “Waterfall” (structured) or an extreme approach. The extreme approach lays more emphasis on coding and development of automated tests and spends less time on planning and documentation. A more structured approach like the Waterfall methodology analyzes the risks and develops a detailed plan before the beginning of the coding phase of the software development cycle. This prevents design changes and re-coding in later stages of project.
Depending upon the complexity of the software requirements of the customers, software outsourcing company can select and follow the methodologies available to them. Waterfall approach is the best option when the developer understands the requirement completely and it is possible to plan a solution well ahead of time. If however, the project appears to be a complex one and is prone to risks then the best option is to adopt an extreme approach, like an incremental methodology. It is a step-by-step process and minimizes the risks associated with such project. It is advisable to adopt extreme approach when a software problem does allow enough space for proper planning and development of the project. The present day software outsourcing company has at its disposal, different methodologies to develop software solutions for its clients. Waterfall, Prototyping, Incremental, Spiral and Rapid Application Development (RAD) are some of the widely used methodologies by the modern day software outsourcing firm.