At Builder Studio, our Customer Product Experts care about executing effective, well-designed, customer-driven software by its’ expected delivery date on every project. How? What’s our secret sauce? While you’ll have to work with us to see, we’ll continue to bring you behind-the-scenes information right here on the Builder Blog to let you discover our perspectives on best practices in software development.
To kick things off, a question. What is software development? Or, what is it to you as a developer, manager or stakeholder? To answer this, we’ve added our thoughts to a tweet for you social media friendly Builders. We’ve collated the essential elements below included in our tweet.
From our side, just a few more words to explain what we mean in the above tweet.
#1: Software development is process-driven
“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”--this quote is attributed to both Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower at various times. We think it delineates a relevant concept in development: process has to dominate, so do the planning that will prepare you for what comes up… but be flexible enough to adjust features based on customer or stakeholder feedback (see our point below on feedback).
#2: Software development is collaborative
More of us (involved in software development) are viewing it as an inherently collaborative endeavor involving numerous stakeholders and contributors. Gone is the stereotype of programmers isolated and writing code, or even managers vs. programmers. Today’s projects live or die by how effectively they (produce) work (or an effective product) as a team.
#3: Software (products and) development should be solutions-focused
At the end of the day, software products are solutions for your stakeholders’ pain points. After all, what is software development but providing an answer to a problem? A pain point (or several) presents itself, then, the development team steps in to address it. Not to mention the numerous solutions that need to be presented to solve the problems which present themselves along the way during the development process.
#4: Software development is creative
Creativity goes far in software development. Working against stereotypes, the public often thinks development is simply 1s and 0s and black and white. On the contrary, inspiration and creative solutions are part and parcel of development and have led to some of the most significant breakthroughs in the last decades (including Builder!). We know this, but it needs to be said again and again. We aim to foster and grow creativity, and its’ cousin innovation, during our software development processes.
#5: Software development has feedback
Ideally, constructive feedback. At the tail end of a production cycle with deadlines looming, being constructive can be difficult. This back and forth, however, be it between developers on a team or between stakeholders and programmers, is essential. By maintaining an ongoing conversation of open-ended questions, all parties can encourage a feedback loop that keeps a project on schedule and as productive as possible. Healthy communication produces well-liked products!
#6: Software development translates (between the customer and developer)
This was an interesting one. Software development involves complex communication between diverse mindsets--from customer to manager to developer to designer and beyond. Conceiving of the process as “translation,” is a great way to manage this complexity and might go a long way toward alleviating stress during high-volume production cycles. Next time a stakeholder just doesn’t get it? Consider yourself a translator and vice versa.
Builders, how would you answer the question, “What is software development?” We want to know more about the ideas you have around this question. Let us know across the social space on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can also take a look at how we’ve defined it by exploring Builder Studio.
Erica Grigg is our Global Lead of Digital at Builder.ai, where she's been on board since August 2018. Previously, Erica Co-founded a media startup, co-authored a book on Facebook and worked with numerous businesses and non-profits, including the World Wildlife Fund, the United Nations and Comcast. She's happy to share her lessons learned and best practices yet to be developed on the Builder Blog. Follow her on social media @EricaGrigg on Twitter and at linkedin.com/user/ericagrigg.