Software Development Best Practices

Software development is a crucial process for businesses of all sizes, as the software and applications created, play an important role in a company’s success.

Article by
Becky Chase
Article date
February 24, 2023

Why managing AI risk presents new challenges

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The difficult of using AI to improve risk management

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How to bring AI into managing risk

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Pros and cons of using AI to manage risks

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Benefits and opportunities for risk managers applying AI

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Software development is a complex task and can be done in a variety of ways. That’s why it’s essential for businesses to adopt the best software practices and processes to ensure their software meets the highest standards of quality. These practices can help to ensure that software is properly designed, tested, and maintained.

First and foremost, proper software development requires a well-defined process or life cycle.

Software Lifecycle

The software lifecycle works in the following order: project planning, gathering requirements and analysis, design, implementation and development, testing, deployment or launch, and lastly maintenance. Having clear procedures and processes is a vital part of the software lifecycle. The development process should include clear requirements, coding standards, and the implementation of automated testing. It’s important to have a plan in place before beginning the development process to ensure that all of the necessary steps are taken, and that the application is created in a timely manner.

The first stage in the lifecycle of software is planning. Project planning is one of the most important steps in any type of project. The proper questions need to be addressed, and the full scope of the software application needs to be fleshed out. It’s during this stage that a full understanding of the inner workings of the project is attained.

Requirements are the specific needs or characteristics that a software application must meet to be successful. The process of defining and documenting requirements is a crucial part of the software development lifecycle. The biggest factors in the requirements phase are to identify stakeholders, determine the scope of the project, gather requirements, document, and prioritize requirements, and validate requirements. By following these steps, software developers can ensure that they have a clear understanding of the requirements for a project, which can help improve the overall quality and success of the software application.

The design phase is a crucial part of the software development lifecycle, as it involves creating a plan for how the software application will be built and structured. During the design phase, developers consider factors such as user experience, technical feasibility, and performance to create a roadmap for the development process.

The development phase is the stage in the software development lifecycle where the actual code for the software application is written and implemented. During this phase, developers work to turn the plans and designs created in the previous phase into a working software application. This is where most of the best practices lie.

The testing phase is a crucial part of the software development lifecycle, as it involves evaluating the software application to ensure that it is working as intended. During this phase, developers conduct various types of testing to identify and fix defects and improve the overall quality of the software. The deployment phase is the final stage in the software development lifecycle, and it involves making the software application available for use by end users. During this phase, developers configure the necessary infrastructure and deployment pipelines and release the software to a production environment.

Technical Practices

Another important best practice is to use software tools and technologies that are up-to-date. Using outdated technologies can lead to security vulnerabilities and inefficient development processes. By using the latest tools and technologies, organizations can ensure that their software is secure, efficient, and effective.


Pull requests are a way for developers to collaborate on software projects by submitting changes to the codebase for review and integration. When used effectively, pull requests can have a positive impact on the quality of software development. Here are a few ways that pull requests can contribute to better software quality:

  • Peer review: Pull requests allow other team members to review code changes before they are integrated into the main codebase. This can help identify and fix errors or defects, as well as improve the overall design and architecture of the software.
  • Improved documentation: Pull requests provide a forum for discussing code changes and their implications, which can help improve the documentation of the codebase.
  • Better collaboration: Pull requests facilitate collaboration between team members, allowing for a more seamless and efficient development process
  • Increased code quality: Pull requests encourage developers to write clean, well-documented code, as their changes will be subject to review by their peers.
  • Unit Tests

    Unit tests are a type of software testing that validate the behavior of individual units of code. They are a vital part of good software development for several reasons:

  • Ensure that individual units of code are working as intended: By testing each unit of code separately, unit tests can help ensure that the code is correct and free of defects.
  • Facilitate code reuse: When unit tests are in place, it becomes easier to reuse code with confidence, as the tests provide a safety net that ensures the code is still functioning correctly.
  • Improve code quality: By testing individual units of code, unit tests can help developers identify and fix defects early in the development process, which can improve the overall quality of the software.
  • Help catch regressions: As code changes are made, unit tests can help catch unintended consequences or regressions that may have been introduced. This helps ensure that changes do not negatively impact the functionality of the software.
  • Unit tests are an essential part of good software development, as they help ensure the correctness, quality, and reliability of the codebase. By using unit tests, developers can be confident that their code is working as intended and can make changes with greater confidence, leading to improved software quality and faster development times.
  • Code Review

    Another important best software practice is to use code reviews. Code reviews are a process where developers review each other’s code to ensure that it meets quality standards and performs correctly. This practice allows developers to identify issues quickly and address them before they become a problem. Code reviews also help to ensure that code is written in an efficient and maintainable way.

    Version Control

    One of the most important software practices is version control. Version control is a system that tracks changes to software over time. It allows developers to easily keep track of changes and collaborate on software development without having to worry about conflicting changes or losing track of important changes. Version control also enables developers to easily roll back to a previous version if necessary.

    Agile Software Development

    It is best practice for software development to use an appropriate software development methodology. This methodology should be chosen based on the specific requirements of the project. Some of the most popular software development methodologies include Agile, Waterfall, and Scrum. Each of these methodologies has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the one that best fits the project’s needs.

    Our team utilizes Agile Development. There is a multitude of benefits when it comes to using the Agile method over the Waterfall method and other various methodologies. Faster delivery, Increased flexibility, and Improved quality. Agile emphasizes frequent testing and iteration, which can lead to higher-quality software.


    All Software NEEDS to be properly and thoroughly documented throughout its development. Documentation is essential for any software, as it provides a comprehensive overview of the software and its functions. Documentation should be up-to-date, easy to read, and should include diagrams, user guides, and other resources. It’s also important to provide support for your software to ensure that users can get help if they need it.

    Maintenance Strategies

    Maintenance strategies play a crucial role in the quality and reliability of software. There are several types of maintenance, including corrective maintenance, adaptive maintenance, and perfective maintenance. Corrective maintenance is focused on fixing errors or defects in the software. This type of maintenance is essential for ensuring that the software is reliable and functional.

    Adaptive maintenance involves making changes to the software to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the user or to adapt to new environments or technologies. This type of maintenance can help keep the software relevant and useful.

    Perfective maintenance involves improving the functionality or performance of the software. This type of maintenance can help make the software more efficient or user-friendly.

    Code Style

    Code style refers to the conventions and standards that are followed when writing code. It includes things like naming conventions, indentation, comments, and the use of white space. Code style is important because it can affect the readability and maintainability of the code. Here are a few ways in which code style can affect software quality:

  • Improved readability: When code is written in a consistent and standardized way, it becomes easier to read and understand. This can make it easier for developers to work with the code and can improve the overall maintainability of the software.
  • Enhanced collaboration: When multiple developers are working on the same codebase, having a consistent code style can help improve collaboration and reduce misunderstandings.
  • Reduced defects: Code that is written in a clear and consistent manner is less likely to contain defects or errors.
  • Improved performance: Code that is written in a clear and concise manner is often more efficient and performs better than code that is cluttered or difficult to read.
  • QA Protocol

    In addition to these practices, it’s also important to use automated testing. Automated testing is a process where tests are written to ensure that a piece of software meets specified criteria. Automated tests can be used to test the functionality of an application or to identify potential issues. Automated testing can save time and money by quickly identifying any issues and helping to ensure that the software meets the highest standards.

    Finally, it is important to use a quality assurance process when developing software. Quality assurance processes allow organizations to ensure that the software meets their requirements. This can include testing the software to ensure that it is secure, efficient, and meets the organization’s needs.

    Final Thoughts

    By following these best software practices, businesses can ensure that their software is of the highest quality and meets the needs of their customers. Having a well-defined process, using version control, code reviews, automated testing, and documentation ensures software meets expectations and provides a stellar user experience. A few additional things to keep in mind in any field that requires copious amounts of teamwork are empathy, organization, clarity, honesty, and simplicity.


    Organization is the act of arranging and structuring information or tasks in a logical and efficient manner. In software development, organization can help ensure that code is easy to understand and maintain, which can improve the overall quality of the software.


    Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. In software development, empathy can be important for understanding the needs and perspectives of users and stakeholders, which can help inform the design and development of the software.


    Clarity refers to the ability to communicate ideas or information in a clear and concise manner. In software development, clarity is important for writing well-documented code and for collaborating with team members and stakeholders.


    Honesty is the act of being truthful and transparent. In software development, honesty is important for building trust with team members and stakeholders, as well as for identifying and addressing problems or challenges in a timely manner.


    Simplicity is the act of keeping things as simple as possible. In software development, simplicity can help reduce complexity, improve the usability of the software, and make it easier to maintain.

    By following the best software practices and remembering these basic tenants, businesses can ensure that their software is reliable and secure and provides a great user experience. Implementing these best software practices can help businesses to save time and money, while also providing a great user experience.