An Overview Of Software Development Lifecycles
A software development lifecycle is a term that describes all of the tasks and activities involved in developing an application or program. A lifecycle includes everything from initial planning and consultation to final launch as well as ongoing maintenance.
There are different approaches to software development and every approach has some advantages. Many development teams choose lifecycle systems based on their benefits and their particular requirements. Here’s a brief overview of some of the different software development life cycles used today.
4 Popular Software Development Life Cycles
This is one of the most commonly used and popular software development cycles because it is so simple. It works like a waterfall, consisting of a linear sequential flow with one phase of development following the other. Developers only start to work on the next phase after the first phase is complete.
This approach to software development offers several advantages. It is easy to explain to other team members so there’s little room for miscommunication. The structured approach ensures the project remains on track more easily. All stages and activities of the project are clearly defined so all of a team’s members are on the same page. Verification at the end of every phase reduces the chances of error.
Unfortunately, this approach has several disadvantages as well. It is rigid and inflexible so developers are more likely to assume that all requirements are locked in. There’s little room for adjusting the scope or requirements of a project. The waterfall approach is much less unsuitable for large or complex development projects.
The v-shaped model is similar to the waterfall model, with an added advantage of an early unit test phase. The model follows the Waterfall process until software plan implementation, after which it moves upward from unit testing to maintenance. Like the waterfall model, this approach is fairly straightforward and easy to understand.
The biggest advantage of the v-shaped model is that it has specific deliverables at every phase. Developers create test plans early during the lifecycle, which reduces the room for error and improves flexibility. The v-shaped model is ideal for small, straightforward development projects with clearly defined goals and expectations.
However, this model is still very inflexible and it is difficult to adjust its scope once a project has launched. It is not possible to generate early prototypes using this model and there is not a clear structure for correcting errors.
The spiral model or SDM is a great solution for large-scale and complicated projects. This model combines design and prototyping systems, making it more flexible. It still uses the main elements of a waterfall approach as the foundation, assigning different sections for planning, risk assessment, prototyping, and simulations, but offers more options to move backward or forward in the project.
The SDM system has several advantages like more realistic estimates, early developer input, and better risk management.
However, this approach to software development has some disadvantages as well. It can be very expensive and time-consuming. Developers need specialized training to utilize this approach effectively and the system has limited re-usability across different kinds of projects.
The agile approach has become very popular because it offers maximum flexibility and is suitable for all kinds of projects. This approach requires collaboration and movement between different teams as well as phases during the development process. Developers can go back to earlier phases after learning from their mistakes to optimize an application.
This approach has several advantages like decreased development time, time to take input from the team, customers, and stakeholders, and no guesswork. You get high-quality software that fits a customer’s requirements perfectly at the end of the process.
However, agile requires special training and skill which can involve an investment of time and money.
Choosing the right development lifecycle is essential to keep a project on track and ensuring the result lives up to the original specs. A successful software development lifecycle can produce software with the highest quality and lowest cost in the shortest time.
At number8, our measure of success is delivering working software faster. That's why when it comes to meeting a project's full potential, we believe in embracing the agile development model. As an information technology company with many years of experience, we can help any team adopt the practices, processes, and tools needed to deliver with more agility. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.
8 Traits Software Developers Tend To Share
People often wonder what makes a great software engineer. Although there are several opinions on this matter, the most typical qualities that software developers share are the ability to produce maintainable working software, staying on top of the latest technologies, and, most importantly, being a team player. Here are a few traits software developers tend to share.
8 Traits Software Developers Tend To Share
1. An Analytical Mindset
A software developer must have high system-level thinking skills. At the same time, another essential quality is excellent problem-solving skills. There should be a perfect balance between the ability to think about the big picture while paying attention to smaller details.
2. Inquisitiveness and Curiosity
There may come times when a software developer creates codes that don't work. In such cases, they mustn't be afraid to ask questions about why it happened. The best way to move forward is by continuing to dig. Another quality that's crucial for developers is the ability to ask superiors, clients, and peers questions. This ensures that they fully understand the expectations and requirements for their work.
It's crucial to remember that software is all about people. Good developers always make efforts to understand their users. Being able to relate to and empathize with the team and clients is another trait that good software developers share.
Regardless of the kind of programming language a developer specializes in, code is always unpredictable. Skilled developers have the ability to switch the scope of a project quickly and return a previous point if required. Adapting and being able to respond to time-sensitive problems as soon as they arise is crucial.
5. Enthusiastic To Learn
When it comes to technology, there's always something new to learn. Expert software developers always keep abreast of advances in their industry and are eager to expand their knowledge.
Software developers can come across unique problems with their projects. They understand that the best solution and the correct solution aren't always the same. Sometimes, standard practices work well. Other times, they have to think outside the box. Skilled developers value their own practices and problem-solving abilities more than just relying on a set of rules.
7. Team Player
Besides working on projects alongside other developers, designers, and engineers, software developers have to work as part of a team within a company as well. They can be assigned to work with sales teams, support teams, or even marketing teams. Being a team player is a quality successful software developers pick up early in their careers.
8. Technical Mindset
A developer's main tool to carry out day-to-day work is a computer. A computer can do what it’s told to do but cannot think for itself. So, software developers need to know the "logic" of computers. Software developers are very adept at working with computers and other devices. They also have the capacity to quickly learn about new technology and apply it in their work. Another indispensable quality that expert developers have is the ability to communicate technical ideas to non-technical people. Being able to evolve and adapt and look at things positively are key traits for this. These are just a few of the traits that developers tend to share. Overall, being adaptable and willing to learn are some of the most important abilities. These qualities help them grow as professionals. As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.
Software Development QA Testing
Quality Assurance (QA) is an essential aspect of the software development process. Experienced professionals carefully comb through every feature, addition, and component of a software program or application to determine if it lives up to their standards. In this highly competitive world, companies can't afford to put out lackluster products. QA Testing is especially crucial in the software development industry because customers directly interact with and rely on software products. They'll immediately notice if something isn't working as it should. Here are some of the best practices for QA testing during software development:
Always Keep User Experience in Mind When a company develops a product, the end goal is always to delight the user. You don't want to create something clunky, slow, inefficient, or challenging to navigate. QA testing teams often miss the bigger picture while examining minute details. If the overall user experience is poor, these small details won't matter.
Know Who Your Audiences Are Different audiences have different expectations. Developing a software program for millennials can be very different from developing a platform for an older audience. QA teams must keep the target audience in mind while assessing products to ensure it provides a good experience.
Optimize QA Testing by Focusing on the Most Important Sections Oftentimes it isn't feasible to comb through every aspect of a software program's code during quality testing. Teams must optimize the process by prioritizing sections that are most important or relevant. Focus on testing components that directly impact users, since their experience is vital for a program's functions.
Arrange Bug Fixes Based on Usage Every software product has bugs that must be fixed to improve user experience, and QA teams need to focus on flaws in the most relevant sections of a program. For example, bugs in the order placement or complaint registration components of an app should be addressed immediately.
Maintain Communication with Developers QA teams and developers must work together during the testing process. Open communication between these two departments can optimize both testing and the development processes. Testers get a clearer idea about the developer's intentions, while developers understand how to improve the quality of their products actively.
Run QA Tests in Real and Relevant Environments Your program should work on platforms that users commonly use. Most people don't have supercomputers or the latest operating systems. A large portion of your audience will want to run programs on slightly dated systems. Make sure every aspect of the product is working well on various platforms and real-life conditions.
Have a Dedicated Security Assessment Team Typically it’s important to have a dedicated team that focuses solely on security operations. Modern users have a healthy distrust for software applications and won't trust any program without a reliable security system in place.
Maintain a Dedicated Performance Assessment Team A performance assessment team will navigate a program or application from a user's perspective. The process helps them identify issues in the performance of the end product and provide detailed reports on it.
Test Third-Party Systems Applications and software programs often use third-party components like social media plug-ins, shopping carts, etc. Users will only have a smooth experience if all third-party systems work efficiently with your program. Always check them carefully for compatibility issues or related problems.
Always Take Customer Feedback into Account No system is infallible, and QA teams are no exception to this rule. Fortunately, you have a large group of thousands of users willing to provide feedback on an application's performance. Always take their inputs into account during the QA testing process.
A well-planned and well-executed QA routine will ensure the product that reaches your audience is as reliable and efficient as possible. Companies should also review their QA routines regularly to ensure they remain useful, especially if you notice that too many issues are slipping through the cracks. At Number8, we believe in developing software that is user-friendly, reliable and completely functional. As a result, we are always recruiting talented QA professionals for quality assurance jobs on our team. To learn more about how we can help you complete and successfully launch your software project, contact us at 502-890-7665.
7 Things About Microsoft You Might Not Know
Microsoft is a tech giant and one of the most influential companies in the market. While competitors like Apple or Google may seem more popular, Microsoft continues to have a strong presence. It is the third-largest tech company in the world, just a couple of steps below Apple and a step over Google's parent company Alphabet. While Microsoft has been around since 1975, there are still some things most people don't know about the influential company. Follow along for more details.
It was First Micro-Soft Before the founders registered its brand name, they used Micro-Soft (a combination of microcomputer and software) in their company communications. Fortunately, they decided to drop the hyphen during registration and settled on an admittedly cooler brand name. While the name has remained unchanged, the logo has undergone several transformations. Microsoft’s first logo had a stylized ‘O’ called a ‘blibbet’, which was also the name of a burger served in the company’s cafeteria.
Microsoft Made a Lot of People Rich Microsoft founder Bill Gates was the youngest billionaire of his time and spent a lot of time sitting at the top of the richest people list. But Microsoft’s stellar success didn’t just make Gates rich. Thousands of millionaires can trace their success back to this technological juggernaut. People who bought this company's stock in the 1980s and retained it until the 2000s made a remarkable profit as well. Its stock price has increased by approximately 71,283% over the past three decades.
Microsoft Saved Apple from Bankruptcy Microsoft and Apple are some of the fiercest rivals in the industry. They have been competing against one another since their very inception. However, when Apple landed in financial trouble back in 1997, its rival stepped up to save it. Microsoft invested around $150 million to get Apple back on its feet. Not surprisingly, many people were not thrilled by this news, but if that support hadn't come in, Apple may no longer exist.
A Long List of Code Names Tech companies are notoriously secretive when their products are under development; Microsoft is no exception to this rule. The company always assigns code names to its projects, which keeps competitors from knowing much about it. The code names are also placeholders because developers often come up with a product name after it is fully realized Some of the more famous names include Chicago (Windows 95), Whistler (Windows XP), Yukon (SQL Server 2005), Longhorn (Windows Vista), and Milan (Surface). The list of codenames is extensive, probably containing dozens of code names.
Microsoft is Serious About Art The company has one of the most significant corporate art collections in the world, with more than 5,000 pieces from contemporary artists. Its collection includes works from relatively unknown artists as well as industry heavyweights like Takashi Murakami, Chuck Close, and Cindy Sherman. The art is scattered around Microsoft's 150 campuses and includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, multimedia works, etc.
Microsoft Entered the Smartphone Game First Apple launched its first smartphone in 2007, but Microsoft had been in the industry since 2000. Unfortunately, they didn't find much success and their software performance on smaller hand-held devices wasn't stellar. Apple's technologically sophisticated product revolutionized the industry.
The Company Has Pet Rabbits A few years ago, someone abandoned a few rabbits on the Microsoft campus grounds. This small group of rabbits bred at a rapid pace and grew in size; before long, the campus was swamped with these adorable but fast-breeding pests. To this day, they still have a thriving population. These are just a few of the many unknown facts about Microsoft. There are several fascinating stories associated with this company that you can explore in your spare time.
5 Principles of UX Design Everyone In Tech Should Know
User Experience (UX) is the most crucial factor to consider while designing a new product. UX dictates how people interact with a product or service, how pleasant their overall experience is, and their journey while looking for solutions. Modern customers are very sophisticated, picky, and willing to discard any product or service that doesn’t offer an optimal experience. That’s why everyone in tech must understand UX well and know how to prioritize it in the new products and services they introduce. Follow along for an overview of 5 principles of UX design everyone in tech should know.
5 Principles of UX Design You Should Know
1. Understand Your Audience
It’s nearly impossible to design a useful UX framework without understanding your audience. What do users find appealing, what are their priorities, and what do they value? Designers must understand their target audience(s) to develop products and services with good UX, and they can do this by establishing a strong audience profile based on small and Big Data. It will be the foundation of your project, providing clear guidelines on how to move forward.
2. Have a Clear Design Intent
Your product or service can quickly become lost in a veritable forest of digital distractions. Everything from innocent cat videos to angry social media posts can tear a prospect's attention away. That's why designers must focus on intent and create unique experiences to attract users. Make sure every element of an application or website is purposeful or contributes towards UX. For example, something as simple as a button going green when a user has completed a task can add to their experience. This simple action has a clear intention of giving users a sense of accomplishment and completion.
3. Clarity is Important
Unique elements make an impact, but clarity is also essential. Users want a simple, straightforward journey when looking for solutions. No one wants to waste time figuring out how a particular element of your app or website works. Make sure all functions are clear, straightforward, and simple for the best results.
4. Predictability is Essential
Browse through a few websites or applications carefully. You'll notice several distinct similarities in their layout. For example, most sites have a clickable logo with a homepage link at the top left corner. Many also have drop-down menus with products or services situated under a header banner. Apps have a desk with links to home, search, profile, etc., at the bottom. These factors ensure your product always has predictable navigation, which improves the overall user experience.
5. Get to the Point – Quickly!
Online audiences have short attention spans and are always in a hurry. This means UX designers need to offer them the shortest possible route for getting people what they want. Most users won’t linger on your platform while they seek a specific result. You must work to eliminate all unnecessary steps and set them to a solution as quickly as possible. Create a product that delivers excellent value to customers. Make sure every aspect of it has some purpose or meaning for the best UX. User experience isn't just limited to the digital world. It has an impact on a company’s overall reputation and operations. Brands that deliver a seamless user experience on all fronts tend to have a much better overall reputation. As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.
An Overview of AI – 2020 & Beyond
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a futuristic concept; it is a current reality. People use it every day to find information, automate processes, run complex calculations, and do much more. Because AI has such a significant influence on everyone's life, it is a good idea to keep an eye on its progress. We’re expecting many exciting developments in the world of AI in the months and years ahead. Here’s a brief overview of AI and what can you expect from 2020 onward:
Where Can We Find AI Today?
AI is more prevalent than many people realize, so much so that even people with little to no interaction with smart technology use it. Some of the most common uses of artificial intelligence include:
- Google Maps AI-powered predictions recommend the fastest routes for any desired destination while also offering other route alternatives and live traffic data.
- Ride sharing apps actively calculate pricing for different routes based on factors like distance, demand, traffic, etc.
- Commercial airlines have been very early adopters of AI. This technology has powered airline autopilot systems for decades now. Modern day pilots fly a plane for only seven minutes on average, on a flight of any duration. The rest is handled by sophisticated autopilot systems.
- Google uses AI technology to categorize emails automatically. All messages are sorted into spam, primary, social, or promotional folders without any user input. Google's AI is extremely precise; it filters 99.9% of all spam emails.
- Many banks use AI and machine learning technology that let customers deposit checks through their mobile phone. AI recognizes handwriting, converts it to text, authenticates information before approving a deposit.
- Smart assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, etc., are powered by AI and Machine Learning.
- Online shopping platforms like Amazon use AI in search and to offer tailored product recommendations.
AI is also used in traffic control systems, communication, human resource management, credit management, and much more.
What Can We Expect from AI in the Future?
While people have long anticipated the development of AI, there have still been surprises along the way. Most assumed we'd have AI robots or machines, but this technology has taken a more indirect route. Based on current developments, experts believe we can expect the innovations mentioned below in the not so distant future:
1. Blockchain, IoT, and AI Coming Together
Blockchain, IoT, and AI are also disruptive technologies that have changed several industries. IoT can interact directly with hardware while collecting data for AI, and Artificial intelligence can analyze data before making decisions. Blockchain can ensure the system is secure, scalable, and protected from fraud.
2. Increased Penetration in Creative Industries
So far, AI hasn’t gone far into the creative industries. AI technology has only truly effected writing generic content for news media websites. However, that may change soon as AI starts delving into production, scriptwriting, story development, and even acting. CG technology has developed significantly in recent years. Movies use advanced graphics, de-aging technologies, and even AI for some imagery.
3. Workplace Automation
Many companies have already adopted automation for their regular tasks, but we will see increased penetration of technology in the future. According to Gartner
, workplace automation will eliminate around 1.8 million jobs while creating about 2.3 million new
jobs. As a result, this change may lead to people working on more engaging tasks for higher compensation.
4. Influence of Biased Data
AI and ML systems rely on data to provide solutions. If the historical data provided is biased, it can influence a system’s decisions. Unfortunately, using AI for hiring, credit scoring, or other such functions may negatively impact historically disadvantaged target demographics like women, POC, or people of different races. We’ll see increased penetration of AI and ML in fields like digital marketing, customer service, personal shopping services, etc. This technology is still in its early development stages. Who knows how far it will go? As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call, so we can get the conversation started.
What the Fastest Growing Companies Have in Common
Starting or running a business is a complicated process. It requires commitment, dedication, planning, and a bit of luck. Many businesses fail within the first one or two years, which can cause severe financial loss along with emotional distress. All entrepreneurs dream of having a thriving company, and many reach this goal. Here's a look at six common characteristics that all fast-growing companies share for some inspiration:
Product/Market Fit Entrepreneurs are always hardworking and driven, but they need a strong product to succeed. Thriving start-ups always have a revolutionary product that fills a vacuum, providing exactly what customers need. They provide must-have products or experience to clients. Sometimes the niche already exists, while at others, a product can create a need. For example, social media giants like Facebook and Twitter existed, but LinkedIn created a niche by being a network for professionals.
Focusing on the Niche Start-ups must be laser-focused on a niche for success and growth. They don’t have the manpower or resources to tackle a large market. Focusing on a niche allows companies to specialize in a specific category and fine-tune their products or services. For example, a web development company for small businesses can use a highly customized approach after comprehensive research. This might keep their customer pool small, but it helps companies develop a distinctive identity. Specializing in a niche has long-term benefits as you generate enough funds for expansion later. The cosmetics company Huda Beauty is a good example of this. It started out selling high-quality fake lashes and established such a strong niche presence that their products set a standard for everyone else. Today, this company has expanded, including other cosmetic items like eye shadows, foundations, lipsticks, etc.
Don’t Disregard Processes that Aren’t Scalable Modern entrepreneurs can get advice from multiple sources. One of the most common bits of advice is, “keep things scalable.” While this is sound advice, you still need to focus on specific processes that may not be scalable as companies sometimes need to invest in these too. It helps establish a strong presence while having a lasting impression on a customer’s mind. For example, some start-ups will coddle customers at first with a lot of personal attention. They will offer one-on-one consultations, discounts, accelerated project timelines, etc. None of this is scalable, but it can help companies develop a reputation for excellent customer care. You can roll back these processes slowly while maintaining sound basic customer care systems for long-term benefits.
Constant Focus on Growth – Timely Growth It isn't surprising that fast-growing companies are focused on growth, but not all of it can cause large-scale disruption. Most successful start-ups have a meticulous process in place for expansion. These companies plan a slow, relentless march towards growth until it becomes almost inevitable. For example, Uber has a precise expansion plan for opening up in new cities. They send feelers out, get to know the new market, connect with drivers as well as customers, before developing a unique plan for new markets. They make sure it is primed for Uber’s network before launching operations. This constant, unrelenting march drives long-term success.
Do Things Differently
Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource Sometimes fast-growing companies succeed by shunning traditional practices. They don't do this arbitrarily but put some thought and research behind it. They look at established practices carefully, identifying their weaknesses before finding more efficient alternatives. For example, Yelp is such a success because it stayed away from paid reviews or expert testimonies. It relied on 100% community feedback, which worked spectacularly. Yelp became more trustworthy than any other review platform just a few years after its launch. Establishing a fast-growing company isn't easy, but it can be done. Just maintain focus and ensure you have the right product.
Fast growing companies tend to have a clear sense of their core competencies. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses gives them an edge to take advantage of outsourcing options while they grow. There are many business functions that may be better handled by a third party, especially during the early phase of a company’s growth. For example, accounting, billing, software development and IT support are all common functions that fast growing company’s may choose to outsource to free up time and resources so they can best focus on the priorities at hand. As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.
6 Common Traits Shared By Successful Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are some of the most dedicated and determined people around. They have innovative business ideas and are committed to seeing their ideas succeed. Different entrepreneurs have different approaches, but everyone has something to teach newcomers. Many effective people share specific characteristics and habits. Developing these qualities may help on your journey towards success. Follow along for a look at some common traits shared by entrepreneurs who are successful.
As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.
Have a Clear Set of Goals and the Determination to Achieve Them How can you find success without knowing what you’re chasing? Clear goals give people direction and a destination. It helps business owners create a tangible roadmap. There's a difference between “I want to be an entrepreneur” and “I want to start a marketing company in two years.” One is a vague, undefined dream, while the other is a definite goal with a timeline. Of course, just setting a goal isn’t enough; you must also follow it through. Create a plan, consult with other experts, get a mentor, do some research, etc. Work towards your goal with determination, as that's what helps entrepreneurs flourish.
Don’t Shy Away From Risks Leaving a secure 9-5 job for a shot at entrepreneurship isn't easy, but that's not even close to the most significant risks business owners take. Establishing a new venture requires a lot of risks, commitment, and courage. People invest their entire life savings, work tirelessly for years, put their life on hold, make innumerable personal sacrifices, etc., on the path to success. Entrepreneurs that make it typically take many risks along the way. Failed business owners face bankruptcy, loss of reputation, loss of credibility, and so much more. Overcoming these fears isn’t easy, but every entrepreneur must do it to move forward.
High Level of Confidence and Decisiveness Many people struggle to make concrete decisions. They dwell over small points, try to find perfect solutions, worry about making wrong choices, etc. All of this indecision may be a sign of low confidence. Mistakes are common, but the fear of making mistakes is more common. Effective entrepreneurs tend to be decisive and confident. They look at facts, and consider solutions for a short time before making snap decisions and moving forward towards their goals. There's a difference between being decisive and being overconfident. A successful entrepreneur strikes the right balance, which helps them reach higher.
Desire to Learn This sounds like a cliché, but most successful entrepreneurs are avid readers. High-flying individuals never stop trying to learn. Many read books, take up new sports activities, learn new skills, and keep their minds engaged. A desire for learning serves two purposes; it helps business owners expand their skills and helps keep monotony at bay. Daily work can become boring after a while, even for a self-employed business person. Learning new skills can help keep things interesting while stimulating your mind.
Ability to Accept Failure Failure is a natural part of life. You will likely face it every day while running a business. A sales pitch might not go through; a client may leave a negative review; a new product launch may go awry, etc. Successful entrepreneurs don’t spend time lamenting over failures. They collect data, look for causes of failure, and then find ways to prevent it from happening again. This ability to accept a setback separates entrepreneurs who eventually accomplish their goals from those who will ultimately burn out.
Smart with Money Successful entrepreneurs are smart with money. They are careful when spending, tracking all expenses down to the last cent. Business owners are good at getting financial aid from venture capitalists or investors. They know how to deliver an impressive sales pitch, which gets people interested in investing in their venture. Being smart with money is essential for entrepreneurial achievement, especially during the early stages of a business. Many ventures go bankrupt even before they have a chance at success. Fortunately, it is possible to cultivate all of these skills over time and increase your chances of success, as well. Personal growth is always valuable, regardless of your field. These characteristics can help whether you’re an entrepreneur, student, artist, teacher, or a corporate executive.