For more than 13 years, we at Evolve have had the privilege of partnering with innovators and businesses with cool software ideas. We’ve always been passionate about helping them out from ideation to fruition. This allowed us to learn a lot of invaluable lessons, which we’ve used to create this comprehensive software development checklist.
As with any software project, your next step will be putting together a detailed technical requirements specification that should be shared with your technology partner (i.e., a bespoke software house or an extended team provider). This will ensure you choose the right tech stack and architecture from the very beginning (which won’t cost you a fortune to replace in the middle of the project), the right team profile (i.e., skills, roles, and maturity levels of the future team members), and the achievable roadmap.
These should help your software development project stay on budget, be delivered on time, and provide an appropriate return on investment (ROI).
Software Development Checklist
There are several aspects of your project to consider. This checklist will walk you through these various aspects so that you can reach out to stakeholders, partners, investors, and suppliers with a clear vision and comprehensive information.
Focus question: Who are the different users of your software product?
Consider this question seriously, as this is a very important step in this process. Knowing your users’ real expectations and requirements will save you time and money throughout and after the development process. Not to mention the headache of having to tweak your system as your project is halfway through because you forgot about a particular user group at the initial stage.
Start by listing each type of user, their goals, and objectives for using your software. Think about the different job titles or roles both within and outside of your organization. If you’re going to build bespoke software for internal company needs, consider who’ll be your product administrators, editors, contributors, etc.
If you’re building a product for the external audience, create user stories and customer avatars to better visualize their interaction with your product.
The list below will help you get started:
- Company admin
- Customer admin
- eCommerce customer
- Business partner
- Company departments (e.g., procurement, IT, sales and marketing, HR)
As mentioned above, specific user groups may require you to consider demographic information. In such cases, we highly recommend that you consult with a customer experience professional who will guide you through the process.
Book a free consultation with our customer experience specialist now!
Focus question: What are the different actions that your users need to accomplish when interacting with your software product?
Let’s assume you’ve accounted for a certain user group and added every task you thought was needed. Then, at a later stage, you realize that one user group requires admin approval for specific changes while another doesn’t. Now, because of a single forgotten task, you need to rethink your entire process.
Your user action list will consist of your software functions and features.
- Log in
- Reset password
- Search products/services
- View products/services
- Add products/services
- Complete a purchase
- Add payment options
- Change payment options
- Check order status
- Track shipping
- Request/generate invoice
- Request refund
- Add profile information
- Change profile information
- Download content
- Redeem a coupon or gift card
- Stream video or music
- Set notifications
- Run a credit check
- Do KYC
- Verify account ownership
- Update profile/account
- Send message
- Analyze data
- Generate report
- Manage data feeds
Platforms and devices
Focus question: How will users access your digital product/service?
When planning your software development project, make sure to list all platforms, devices, operating systems, as well as web and mobile browsers that users will use to access and interact with your product.
- Desktop web browsers on a PC, Macbook, or laptop
- Tablet and mobile browsers
- A native iPhone app
- A native Android app
- A Windows Phone app
- A cross-platform (hybrid) app
- An installed app that will run locally on a PC or Mac
- Different types of device screens (e.g., Apple iPhone XR, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone XS, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S6, Nokia Lumia (710, 800), LG Nexus 4 AR, and many more)
Focus question: What security measures do you need to take with your application?
You cannot skip this step these days. Taking steps required to implement security measures is of utmost importance, whether for keeping your company data or your user’s sensitive information safe and secure.
Some apps require the physical computer that hosts your software to be in a secure location with rigid security protocols.
- Different access levels for different user groups
- Controlled access for each user with logins and passwords
- Social media login integration (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google apps)
- Single sign-on
- Data encryption in the database
- Encryption of data in transit
- Firewall protection
- Antivirus software integration
- Two-factor authentication
Focus question: Are there any third-party or internal applications or devices that your software needs to integrate with?
Cross-system integration reduces human error and saves manual effort. Integrations include but aren’t limited to plugins and addons from open source content management systems (CMS), enterprise-level IoT devices, widgets from the analytics software, etc.
Many of our clients are looking to collect insights from as many data points as they can for reasons such as driving qualified leads through their sales funnel, making informed decisions, improving UI/UX, and others. In such cases, integration with systems such as Hubspot or Microsoft Dynamics is crucial.
Below is a list of some of the external applications and platforms you may need to integrate your software with:
- IoT and medical devices
- Microsoft Dynamics
- Social media
- SMS services
- Barcode/QR code scanners
- Data analytics platforms
- Data feeds
- Reporting platforms
- Credit bureaus
Focus questions: Will your new software replace an existing one? Will data need to be migrated from the existing system to the new system? If so, which data?
In some cases, you may not need to start from scratch. You can piggyback on the available pre-built and reusable components or scale your existing product with new features and functions.
Since you don’t want to lose any of the data you’re already sitting on, it’s crucial that you have a solid data migration plan put in place. Ths plan should include:
- Customer data
- Target sales accounts
- Product use cases
- Order and transactions history
- Analytics data
- Communication history (e.g., email archives, recorded calls, etc.)
- Receivable/payable accounts
- Product documentation
- Intelligence reports
- Product logs
- Audit data
- Security data
Focus question: Does your software need to meet the requirements of certain local or international regulations?
If you’re going to build a product for highly regulated industries such as healthcare or finance, you need to ensure that your software is 100% compliant. Otherwise, your app will be removed from the marketplace, and you’ll lose your competitive edge.
Below is a list of standard regulations that may apply to your software.
- The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- The UK’s Data Protection Act (DPA)
- The US Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)
- The US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- The US Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act)
- The UK’s National Health Service (NHS)
- The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR)
- The US Federal Information Security and Management Act (FISMA)
- The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA), a.k.a. the Financial Services Modernization Act
- Anti-money laundering (AML)
Read about Six Steps to Build a GDPR compliant app.
Software is built using various technologies such as programming languages, frameworks, databases, servers, and libraries.
Some companies may prefer to use particular tech stacks or may be required to use certain technologies due to regulatory compliance requirements, type of project, etc.
Make sure to check with your IT department to ensure you are following the organisation’s best practices and methodologies. The last thing you want to end up with is kicking off a software development project while your tech team isn’t well-equipped to move forward or is using obsolete technologies that have poor support and resource pools.
- Frontend tech stack
- Backend tech stack
- Programming languages
- Ruby on Rails (RoR)
- Microsoft Stack
- MS SQL
- MS Sharepoint
- ASP.NET and Web Forms
- Web API
- Entity framework
Check out an interview with our MD and Chief Delivery Officer Philippe Peron about why .Net development is gaining traction now for both enterprise and startup software development.
Focus question: Where will your software be hosted?
Applications usually don’t run in isolation. They interact and exchange data with a server over a data connection hub such as the Internet.
It is crucial to get your software development team involved in this phase, as they’ll most likely have an option for you based on your company’s existing infrastructure and other factors.
If you don’t have an in-house team to rely on, we at Evolve are always happy to consult you on the options that will be best for your particular case.
- Cloud hosting
- In-house data centre
- 3rd-party data centre
If you need help bringing your software idea to life, get in touch with us! We enable companies of all sizes across different industries and niches to turn their ideas into robust digital solutions that work for their business.