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April 21, 2020

Five Tips for the Smartest Development Ever

When it comes to product development, everyone wants it fast and good. How to combine these two goals without breaking the budget? Keep reading to discover the smart way to deal with development.

Development is the core concept of product creation. Basically, development is product creation. Every point of UI/UX design, every basic and additional function is implemented with the help of code, both in web and mobile apps. This process is complex and requires proper control, so that the final product will be finished on time with minimum bugs and maximum profit. 

How to do it? Well, we’re here to help with five tips our team uses to bring about nearly flawless development.

Set clear goals

Teams suffer if there is uncertainty during development. This happens if no clear goals are set at the very start of the project. Developers are just given a task - and that’s it. They have no idea why their piece of code is important or why they should write it at all. Development without purpose can become a serious problem. 

To keep our development teams from wandering around the project, we set clear goals even before development begins. As we set these goals, we answer vital questions that pinpoint the general direction for the entire team:

  • What should the final product do?
  • When it should be finished?
  • What means and methods will the team use to implement it?

Next, general issues are divided into smaller ones and are delegated to corresponding specialists. This process helps every team member understand what role their code plays in the overall project and what is expected of them.

Deal with over-engineering

Over-engineering happens when the team puts too many resources into achieving a limited goal. Let’s imagine a situation where the client just wants to test the market and release a more or less viable product as soon as possible. The right way to achieve this goal is to create an MVP (minimum viable product) and with its help predict the likely success of the final product. 

But your typical developers are passionate people and without proper control, they can start complicating things out of sheer boredom. In our example, instead of an MVP, the team might end up building an architecture that could support a 1,000 simultaneous users with a dazzling array of additional features. “Building an MVP is boring and it offers no challenges or space for professional growth. Well, I’ll just add this interesting function. It won’t hurt anything.” 

Sure, it’s nice to have such a powerful app, but there’s no need for it at this stage. The added functionality offers no help in probing the market, but it creates additional problems for the app-owner. That’s why eliminating over-engineering is extremely important to keep development from turning into an interesting puzzle for the entertainment of the developers.

And deal with under-engineering too

Under-engineering is the flip side of the coin. Bigger projects with broader functionality require more time, money and expertise, so that they can function properly when the development is done. For example, your app needs to work seamlessly with 2,000 online users at a time. A load like that can easily crush an app if it’s not built in the right way. 

Some teams can do this from scratch in a hurry, but in the end, the client will receive a poorly built app full of bugs and errors that won’t succeed on the market. 

That’s why it’s really important to choose development methods and means that completely match the product’s goals. The most significant things that help accomplish this are good information and constant communication with the team.

To avoid situations like this on our projects, Yellow’s team communicates constantly with our customers throughout the entire development process. In the beginning, our CTO and tech leads create the basic architecture together with the client. 

They also think over the technology stack and timeframes that will be suitable for everyone. Then developers start implementing features according to the architectural patterns. These patterns set a clear vision for developers and keep them from straying from the correct path.

Stop reinventing the wheel

While it’s a fact that many app features are written from scratch, some core functions are hard to write anew. In these cases, the option that will save both time and money is using a ready-made solution. 

An example of this is an admin panel. If developers decide to build a custom panel, making a good one with minimum bugs will cost much more money to develop, test and deploy. Furthermore, supporting this admin panel in the future will require more resources, since all the updates and patches will also have to be created from scratch.

Video calling is another function that’s best implemented using ready-made products. There are a lot of nuances to building custom video streaming, which makes it difficult and time-consuming. Since a custom solution can increase the budget significantly, using a prebuilt architecture is the best way to implement a function like this.

That’s why some companies, like our partners Twilio and PubNub, focus on building solutions for complex processes like these. Their solutions are trusted and are already well-known in the market. Since these solutions significantly decrease the probability of making a serious mistake, using them can sometimes save a project. 

Besides video streaming and admin panels, these companies help developers implement various sets of other functions that are difficult to make from scratch, such as phone number validation, cloud-based customer service center, and SMS mailing. 

Use DevOps

DevOps is a set of software engineering practices that brings together software development (Dev) and information-technology operations (Ops). On the tech side, DevOps is about speeding up development, increasing the final product’s quality and minimizing errors through automating important processes. As a mindset, DevOps focuses on unifying engineering, operations, and testing teams through communication and expertise sharing.

One of the great benefits of DevOps that can sometimes save your project is the automation of development processes such as building, testing, and deployment. Another benefit is the strong connection DevOps creates between support specialists who monitor the product for performance problems and the engineers who can solve those problems.

Our team has adopted the most popular DevOps practices for work on all our projects. We use services like Docker and Kubernetes to deliver software in packages called containers. They contain application code and all the elements needed to launch the app. Software inside a container is isolated from the rest of the host platform and always functions the same way. This technology lets you launch your app on any platform, virtual or cloud, without any loss of the app’s functionality. 

Another technique we apply in our work is Continuous Delivery. This is the ability to make changes to production quickly and safely by ensuring the code always remains deployable, no matter how fast it’s changed and how many developers are working on it. This method helps the team to facilitate their work and helps the client make the app scalable and platform-independent.

To sum up

Development often seems like the hardest part of the entire product creation process. But in reality, if the development team follows all the guidelines and uses the tips we mentioned above, their work can become an absolute breeze both for themselves and for the client.

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