This article is for: 1. Non-technical startup founders who need to learn the basics of how to create software to make good decisions about development. 2. Technical startup founders who are making software development decisions and want to ensure they are using the best possible software development techniques when creating software.
Written by: Alex Senson, Ashley Burton, Tyler Boulanger
Founding or co-founding a startup whose main focus is creating software products can be a difficult task. There are many different development techniques and considerations that you need to review when learning how to create software. These include different design and development steps such as:
- Software development methodologies for managing your development team
- Creating wireframes and prototypes
- User experience and user interface design (UX / UI) best practices
- Most commonly used software architecture patterns
- Basics of programming languages, code control and versioning practices
- Cloud server hosting providers: which to choose
- Artificial intelligence tools and software
- User feedback: how to perform usability testing
- Software development challenges and how to avoid them
The following are the overviews of six articles that cover some of the key software development techniques and considerations that all entrepreneurs should review when learning how to create software products.
A software development methodology is a structured approach to developing a software product. Each method details a different way to communicate with team members, users, and stakeholders as well as how much planning is conducted at the start of a project. Two key categories of development methodologies are traditional, which is a predictive approach, and the other is agile, which is an adaptive approach. This article describes a number of different traditional and agile development methodologies as well as their key advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, the article covers the decision making criteria that should be considered when trying to determine the development methodology that is most appropriate for your startup.
Wireframes are a way for a startup to design a software product at the structural level. They are used to layout the content and functionality of a product’s page or screen while taking into account the user’s needs. This article describes the importance of wireframes as well as the key points of user research that should be reviewed before beginning to wireframe. Additionally, the article covers what should and should not be included within a wireframe. The article also describes the different wireframing tools available to startups, as well as what development steps follow the creation of a wireframe.
Right from the start of a new development project, the end user’s experience needs to be at the forefront of a startup’s mind to ensure that a stellar software product is being created. The design of the product needs to be considered in detail before rushing into the development stages of the project. User Interface (UI) design is the process of making interfaces easy to use and attractive in style. User experience (UX) design, however, focuses on creating a product that provides a meaningful and relevant experience to its users. This article focuses on the key differences between UI and UX design, as well as how to learn how to implement these design elements when doing it yourself. Additionally, the article covers a discussion regarding how important these elements are when creating a minimum viable product (MVP), and how to use the elements to design a stellar product. This article also goes through how UX and UI design is changing as a result of emerging technologies.
Architecture patterns were created to save developers time from having to recreate solutions for reoccurring structural organization problems. These patterns provide developers with the knowledge and strategies required to create a software product based upon a previously solved problem. Though useful, if chosen incorrectly these patterns can increase the total cost and duration of the development project. This article explores the overall benefits and disadvantages of using architecture patterns during software development. Additionally, the article provides a description, the overall advantages and disadvantages, and the situations where a specific pattern can be most suitably used. This article also goes though the criteria that should be reviewed when selecting an architecture pattern.
In addition to the layout and the interface of a software product, startups also need to think about what the code that controls the entire software looks like. The software’s code is the list of instructions that a developer writes out that is translated into binary, the language that the computer understands. This article will describe key programming terms, as well as the advantage and disadvantages of the different coding languages available. Commenting code and different Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) will also be covered. Lastly, this article will cover different code source control and versioning tools and methodologies that are available to startups.
Cloud hosting services provide startups an alternative to spending large amounts of capital, which many startups do not have, on traditional on-premises servers. Using the cloud allows for software, storage, databases, and more to be shared over the internet. It allows startups to keep up to date on all upcoming technology all while not having to worry about being responsible for upgrades or maintenance. This article covers what cloud hosting services are as well as why startups are using these services to house their software products. The key differences between the different types of clouds are explained, as well as an evaluation into the different cloud hosting providers and their related startup incentive programs. The article also covers how to select the right service provider for your startup, as well as how to migrate all the product development information onto the cloud.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a very common buzzword in the tech industry. Everyone is talking about how AI is changing the game and the top developers out there are producing the latest innovations. This can scare off many startups from implementing AI solutions at their business, seeming like too complicated, expensive, and time-consuming of a process. However, many user-friendly platforms and solutions are now enabling inexperienced startup entrepreneurs to take park in the move to AI. These solutions are most commonly used to automate inefficient business processes to help startup entrepreneurs save time and money so they are more capable of competing with resource-rich enterprises. This article explores some of the most common uses of AI for a startup that’s just getting into it, along with 8 key steps for implementing them.
User feedback is the one way that your startup can truly understand if your product provides value to its users. This feedback is conducted prior to beginning development, during Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development, as well as during later stages of development. Successful user feedback collection depends on product iteration where the software product is adapted based on the results of user testing. This article covers the importance of user feedback, as well as the different tools available that can be used to collect user feedback. Additionally, the article covers how to understand and prioritize the collected user feedback to be able to identify when to make the required changes to the product. Lastly, the article covers some overall tips on how to get collect user feedback successfully.
Creating software startups is a long and difficult process that involves more than just creating a unique and valuable idea. Success hinges on efficient and effective development, unique marketing, as well as truly understanding the needs or the user. There are many startups that have developed software products, either successfully or resulting in failure. This article covers the top software development challenges that startups encounter while trying to build a successful product. Additionally, the solution to each of the top challenges is included so that you do not face the same mistakes that other startup founders made before you.
Summary: how to create software products by learning common development techniques
Understanding the software development techniques explored in the articles above will give any software startup founder a running start when planning to create software products. Creating software is a complex task, and it pays off to spend time upfront learning the best practices, methods and development techniques that are widely adopted within the industry.
Even if you do not have a technical background, it’s not something that should be overlooked. Reading in detail about software development methodologies, UX / UI design, wireframing, software architecture patterns, programming language, code control and versioning will save you time and money in the long run. You won’t find yourself requiring as much re-development when you need to grow and scale your company.