Such assumptions can be dangerous if you’re looking to outsource software development to another company or enter this professional field. Many people have exaggerated expectations of what building software looks like and have a stereotypical view of software engineers.
That’s why we decided to write this article and debunk some of the most popular misconceptions about software development. We hope that it will be helpful to those of you who are looking to enter the profession, as well as those who want to want to build software.
Developers like to praise the languages they use, so sometimes you might hear that one language is much better than others. But in reality, each language serves a specific purpose. That’s why it’s impossible to say for sure that one language is better than another. It’s similar to asking whether Italian or French is better – that might depend on the country where you’re located.
Similarly, the benefits of a specific programming language can only be assessed considering the specific task at hand. Most of the time, a single task may require knowledge of several languages. That’s why it’s better to view the programming scene as languages working together instead of competing with each other.
Another common myth about software development is that if we fail to do our job during the planning phase, we can always add more developers to the team and accelerate the process of building software.
In reality, software development is nowhere near mechanical processes like manufacturing. That’s why adding people to an ongoing software project is almost never a good idea. In some cases, the project might be delayed even more.
It might seem counterintuitive but consider this:
When you add new people to a team, you need to communicate with them and onboard them to the project. This is the time you don’t spend on product development. It’s possible to add new team members and avoid this risk, but only in a well-coordinated and planned manner. This is how you get the real value out of more team members.
Some people believe that if the developers are out of their sight and located in a remote location, they can’t be controlled. They’re not motivated and unaccountable. And they deliver poor results.
This is very far from the truth. Note that in the tech industry, remote work has a long tradition and is very well supported by tools and company cultures. Thanks to modern project management practices, excellent communication tools, and project management systems, dispersed teams find it easy to collaborate.
Remote teams can be as hard-working, professional, and enthusiastic about the product they’re building as in-house developers. Any company that has a successful outsourcing experience will tell you that. Moreover, for established outsourcing providers, the success of their client’s products, and their satisfaction is a top priority. That’s why their cultures are well-adjusted to remote work.
Many people believe that building software is like building a house from a blueprint. As long as the team sticks to the plan, everything will go well. Unfortunately, this isn’t true at all.
Software development can be straightforward and predictable in small and short-term projects. For example, building a landing page is a fairly predictable process that can be fixed in time. That’s where fixed-price contracts work best. As long as all of the product requirements are well-documented and clear, the right technology stack is selected, and the team communicates regularly, the process will go smoothly.
However, a sequential production flow like the waterfall software development lifecycle (SDLC) model is too rigid for today’s requirements. That’s why development teams around the world favor more flexible and less predictable agile methodologies such as the Scrum framework.
In many cases, development teams can’t give a 100% accurate time estimates for a project. That’s why they rely on planning so much and thinking over each functionality in detail as early as possible. On the other hand, the world is changing faster than ever, and project requirements rarely remain similar throughout development. The software in production can be affected by both external and internal changes. And this is something that agile makes room for.
Someone who created that myth clearly spent no time on programming. The software development process is far more complex, and the problem a computer program solves can go far beyond IT alone.
In order to create a high-quality product, software developers need to understand the subject area and gain some domain knowledge. They need to know far more than just writing code in their preferred language and using their preferred tools.
Programmers are usually curious people, and it’s likely for them to embrace the sector for which they’re building solutions. For example, software developers who specialize in building blockchain solutions often have domain knowledge about the financial services sector.
In most projects, dedicating time to planning and gathering requirements bring the best results. Moreover, solutions are usually developed over several years and require lots of support. The project doesn’t end when the solution is ready (this is another common myth that we dispel below). Next, there’s the process of maintenance, updating the solution with new features, and supporting users.
If you decide to speed up the development process by forcing developers to work long hours, expect their productivity to drop dramatically. While it’s important to maintain momentum in the project, there’s no need to rush software development.
This myth might derive from the common belief that basic requirements are enough to start development, and all other features can be added in due course. This is a way of misinterpreting agile as a mode of working without any planning and documentation. But it’s all wrong.
Starting a project without clear requirements in mind will inevitably lead to the loss of money and time – or even cause project failure. Proper documentation accelerates the development process and ensures high product quality. Feature creep, and scope creep can affect product usability, time-to-market, and budget. Moreover, if requirements keep on changing, the team can’t appropriately test the product before launching it.
That’s why leaving room for change makes sense – but only with a well-planned core of the software application.
There’s no denying that software development is a complex process that requires a lot of attention to detail and coordination. That’s why planning is a must-have, especially in the early stages of development, when it’s advisable to dive into details and consider every functionality.
However, not everything will go according to the plan. Requirements might not remain constant, and developers might need some flexibility. That’s why plans should be considered only as initial hypotheses that are constantly revised.
Sticking to a plan isn’t going to bring you great results if what you end up building is an application that matches requirements that are no longer valid in the market.
Many people believe that Quality Assurance experts and testers are not a critical part of the software development project. In reality, doing that early on is what makes a project successful.
Sometimes businesses that build software give up on testing and argue that it’s too time-consuming and expensive. However, test automation can reduce the development time dramatically and allows us to effectively measure the quality of software during every phase of development by applying QA mechanisms such as code review. Companies can build high-quality software by engaging testers as early as possible.
While it might sound convenient, software products are like living organisms. They have their own lifecycle and are subject to changes. Besides, the reality around them is constantly evolving as well – from market and business trends to new technologies and consumer preferences. Users might demand new functionalities and improvements too.
That’s why releasing a product to the public is not the end of the project at all. The product still needs to be maintained, and any bugs reported by end-users need to be addressed. Software solutions require constant care from the team to ensure smooth performance.
We hope this article helps in clearing up some of the most harmful myths and misconceptions surrounding software development. The best way to dispel these myths is to be more down to earth and actually working with the development team to observe how developers build software from scratch.
Moreover, let’s not forget that software development is a process that engages more professionals than just software developers. There are business analysts, UX/UI designers, testers, Quality Assurance experts, project managers, and product developers. They all need to work together smoothly to build outstanding software.
Do you have any other questions about the software development process? Be sure to take a look at our blog, where our experts share their insights about what the job of a software developer really looks like.