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Hackernoon logoSix Basic Tips To Reduce Software Development Costs by@alex.circei

Six Basic Tips To Reduce Software Development Costs

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@alex.circeiAlex Circei

CEO & Co-founder Waydev

Reducing operational costs is always a goal for every business, no matter the industry that they might work in. For many companies, the development and ongoing maintenance of essential software that keeps their business operational is one of the most significant expenses that they face.

How do you reduce software development costs, without reducing the performance and quality of the end product?

We have put together six tips to help you benefit from the most cost-efficient, innovative development process, while still ensuring that your business enjoys the very best software possible.

Tip 1: Have a Plan

A process without a plan is doomed to fail. Imagine building a house that does not have an initial planned out structure or estimate of the cost. Building such a structure would eventually fail, along with an unnecessary amount of money already spent. The same goes for software development.

The very first thing to do is to plan. Map out the whole process of software development. Check out the required essential features with the customer or client. Draw out your pathway to achieve the desired goal and estimate process costs before developing the software in itself.

Planning saves you from unnecessary costs. How so? When you have done a research and have come around with an estimated sum that each development stage would incur, you have the actual idea of what are the costs. Also, during this cost estimation period, you might have developed some relationships with some stakeholders involved in these costs and reached a bargaining balance with them. This would produce an overall price beat-down on the expenses.

Tip 2: Clearly document your needs

It's very easy to lose track of the requirements that you need from your software. To ensure that your developers understand exactly what you are seeking, you should clearly document your necessities.

Checking if your development team is on track with the requirements can be done by monitoring the churn code. Churn code happens when engineers modify or delete code in the first 21 days after being written initially. The Project Timeline feature of Git Analytics tools can help you spot unusual spikes in churn code. Knowing that you can dive deeper to find out whether requirements were unclear or see if an engineer needs help in a particular area.

A high number of follow-on commits in a pull request can signal miscommunication. Engineering managers can work with the Review Workflow feature to spot an unexpected number of follow-on commits. Then, lead productive discussions with your engineers to understand what's happening there. By knowing what's happening, you can help them get back on track with work.

This will prevent any miscommunication and reduce the need for major amendments, ensuring that you are able to keep costs down as well as save development time.

Tip 3: Stay connected

In addition to clearly outlining your requirements at the start of the process, you should stay in contact with the software team, so you know exactly what is going on. A recent White Paper from the Standish Group revealed that over 52% of projects end up costing 189% more than the original estimate.

This is often a direct result of frequent direction changes and poor management. Therefore, remaining connected and clearly communicating with the development team will ensure that any confusion is quickly cleared up.

Engineering managers can stay connected with their team while reducing friction, using the Work Log feature of Git Analytics tools. The Work Log acts as a map of the engineers' activity. You zoom into any commit and pull request activity. In this manner, engineering managers can gain eliminate guesswork and communicate with their team effectively.

Tip 4: In-depth testing

When it comes to software development, there is no such thing as too much testing. Spotting errors and bugs late into the development cycle can be a costly expense to fix. Testing throughout the early development stages can help to identify any issues before they become a major problem.

Regular testing will also help to keep the project on time and ensure that there are no unnecessary delays.

A great measure of the quality of your teams' work is the thoroughness of your teams' code review. Metrics such as Review Coverage and Sharing Index can help engineering managers quantify their code review process. A high Review Coverage percentage will translate to lower chances of bugs into production.

Similarly, a high Sharing Index can be interpreted as how broadly knowledge is shared amongst the team. More metrics like these can be found within Git Analytics' Review Collaboration features. Like that, engineering managers can assess the quality of their teams' code review.

Tip 5: Keep it functional

Although having a feature-packed software might sound attractive, if you are serious about reducing your development costs, you should ensure that you stick with just the critical functions you require. Unnecessary features amount to unnecessary costs.

Do not get lost in the excitement of creating software, then forgetting the cost impact of the unnecessary features in the long run. Keeping to only the core functions required will diminish the overall development costs and reduce the time involved, decreasing the total project costs.

Tip 6: Outsource your development

Our sixth tip on how to significantly reduce your software development costs is to outsource the work. Opting to work with partners in Eastern Europe, India and China can help to reduce costs by up to 40%. These costs are reduced thanks to your business having no in-house wages or the costs involved with employment. In addition to saving on the cost of staff, you will also not need to invest in any software architecture.

Despite the lower costs, outsourcing to these countries does not mean you will experience a lower quality of work. These regions are some of the world's leaders in software development, which means that competition is high, and you will be able to choose from a talented pool of specialists.

My vision

I understand that software development costs are a significant investment. This is why we are on a mission to help engineering leaders move from feeling-driven to data-driven leadership. Therefore, their decisions will ultimately translate into increased business value and reduced costs.

Git Analytics tools, such as Waydev, Pluralsight Flow, formerly Gitprime, and Code Climate Velocity, are capable of tracking engineers' output from git repos and project management tools. It creates objective reports and reliable metrics, helping engineering managers improve their teams' velocity and productivity.

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