The development journey is an iterative process, and continuous improvement is key to helping you stay ahead. We get it!
With its multitude of features, bug reports, performance issues, and code debt to manage, product development can be a complex and challenging endeavour. In this article, we will explore 5 fundamental principles that we employ to help us streamline product development. They’re of great use to us, and hopefully, you’ll find them just as practical.
1. Embrace the concept of minimum viable features
Everyone knows what a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is. Here’s a similar concept that we use to streamline development we call MVF(Minimum Viable Feature). Instead of tackling a complete feature in one go, MVFs involve breaking down features into smaller, manageable pieces. This method allows us to implement essential functionality within a single sprint yielding good progress in each iteration. Through incremental development, we can estimate, plan and test in the most effective way possible.
2. Dynamic planning leads to high flexibility
Plans are crucial for guiding your development process, but they should also be flexible and open to change. It’s important we understand that plans will evolve as we gain insights during each iteration. Regularly updating your roadmap and adjusting estimates becomes imperative to keep your plans relevant and aligned with your application’s evolving needs. Embrace the dynamic nature of development, and be prepared to adjust, prioritise, and even abandon certain features based on new discoveries and unexpected developments. Effective communication between the product and development teams is absolutely crucial to make informed decisions promptly.
3. Never skip the business analysis phase
In Agile teams, business analysis and scoping often take a backseat, viewed as remnants of the waterfall approach. However, investing in proper feature analysis before implementation can yield significant benefits. Having a skilled analyst on the team to document requirements is as important as collaborating with a designer to create a delightful user experience. A thorough analysis phase allows for early detection of contradictory requirements, clarification and reducing the cost of changes. Failure to do so can lead to significant product adjustments later on in the process, increasing technical debt and the amount of resources required to fix it.
4. More is not always better
Sometimes, adding more developers to the project might seem like the perfect solution to help meet a tight deadline. However, spontaneously expanding the team can sometimes have the opposite effect. For example, just the onboarding of new team members and coordinating their efforts with the existing team can take precious time from the development team.
Furthermore, even collaboration among multiple developers that work on the same feature can bring communication challenges or even expand the time needed to make decisions regarding design or code. It’s important to consider the dynamics of your team and try to achieve a balance between individual productivity and effective collaboration to get the most out of every team.
5. Bugs happen
Fun fact: bugs are an inevitable part of the development journey. It’s not practical or efficient to focus on treating bug-free code as the sole metric of quality. Instead, we can prioritise QA practices across multiple environments. We recommend having dedicated testing phases on staging servers.
While developers should test locally, it is crucial to have a dedicated testing phase on staging servers where any errors that arise after merging and deployment can be promptly addressed. Regular deployments to production, preferably to a limited user subset, can help identify and address any eventual issues. By investing time in robust quality assurance processes, we can significantly reduce the occurrence of bugs and provide a more stable and reliable product experience for users.
And there you have it – our tried-and-tested approach to streamlining product development. In the ever-evolving landscape of software creation, these 5 fundamental principles have been our guiding light, and we’re excited to share them with you.
At the heart of our approach is the understanding that development is an iterative journey of continuous improvement. By following these principles, we’ve streamlined our product development process, delivering stable, reliable, and user-centric products that stand out in the market.
So, as you embark on your own software development ventures, we hope these principles prove just as practical for you. Remember to embrace the dynamic nature of development, involve stakeholders, and prioritise quality assurance to ensure a smooth product development process from start-to-end and beyond. At least that’s what we do, and so far, it’s worked wonders.