7 Myths of Software Engineering Debunked

3 November 2022

Liubomyr Sirskyi

Content Manager

Businesses often lack trust in technology, especially when creating a digital product from scratch. Founders argue that bespoke software development is too expensive and the system’s effectiveness cannot be evaluated. However, changes in customer behavior are pushing companies towards digitalization. We have reviewed seven common software myths that frighten most founders.

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#1 The Biggest Myth in Software Engineering: Custom Development Is Expensive and Complicated

The concept of a digital product goes far beyond development. It may involve preliminary surveys, project planning, or even setting an advertising budget for marketing activities in new markets. All these things may require a lot of money and generate the most widespread myths in software engineering, but they are vital for the project’s outcome.

Custom software developers consider the most effective step-by-step implementation when creating digital solutions, from the minimum starting version of the product (MVP) to a full-fledged solution to further maintenance and scaling. This approach allows you to develop an IT product based on feedback from actual users.

If you have to create a large-scale and detailed solution, it will require quite serious investments. But you can use the final product to highlight the critical value that attracts users who will be willing to pay. As a result, its performance and self-sufficiency will be ensured. In other words, proper planning allows you to launch the project using about 30% of the total budget. Sales will begin to win back a part of the funds spent and finance the following custom application development stages.

#2 An Initial Development Plan Is Perfect

Often, project managers ignore constantly changing product requirements and insist that development plans remain the same. They explain all the mistakes as errors in executive management and performance. However, keeping planning and reviewing results to a minimum is notoriously bad.

In his article, Thomas Allen, Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School, described a study of the work of spacecraft designers and found that they tested every solution to a problem before choosing the most suitable one. Only then do they make assumptions about the timing of the project.

The same applies to custom business software development. Even an experienced team can rarely determine an appropriate way to solve problems they encounter for the first time, just as customers can not set precise requirements for the product. Markets are volatile. New competitors or user habits emerge daily. And reviewing plans simply equals adjusting to changing environments.

#3 You Can Always Use Ready-Made Solutions

Every business starts small. First, the founder chooses, for example, a ready-made task tracker for assigning tasks to specialists. Further, as the business grows, the management uses an inexpensive and straightforward CRM system to integrate with the task tracker. After that, founders often realize they also need a website and make it on Wix or a similar service. 

Of course, the right combination of ready-made tools can help at first. But it is dangerous to assume that such solutions will always follow your company’s vision and adjust equally quickly to the current business conditions. In the end, you might get the so-called “zoo of systems” when diverse platforms and out-of-the-box solutions live their own lives. There are two drawbacks:

  • They have different customization and integration options (e.g., support for specific payment systems or analytical tools).
  • They differ in the quality of technical and customer support (e.g., different platforms, Service Level Agreement conditions, etc.).

Custom software development services are necessary for creating complex systems and expanding existing ones. It will allow businesses to meet current requirements, adapt to new challenges, and have streamlined business systems working as a whole.

#4 More Functions Make the Product More Enjoyable

Often, founders claim that additional functionality makes the product more valuable. As a result, even an ordinary toaster is equipped with an LCD and a bunch of buttons. However, in the case of software, this approach makes the product less usable.

That is why successful companies try to create elegant but straightforward products. Let’s take the example of Bang & Olufsen, a well-known producer of high-end audio products. At some point, the company realized that the customers didn’t want to spend much time setting up the equalizer. Today, their high-end speakers automatically adjust to the songs⁠—all the customer has to do is choose the volume.

To avoid overloading software with features, bespoke software developers pay attention to two things:

  1. Defining the problem: You should spend more time on the exact formulation of the problem the digital solution solves. To do this, founders must identify the goals the team faces and the hypotheses to test. These elements are critical for creating a unique user experience. 
  2. Defining the features that can be hidden: Founders can be tempted to amaze the user with all the available functionality. However, the most appropriate solution is to show the user’s features on the screen and allow them to use the custom software product without unnecessary hassle. 

Today’s approach to customer development includes several stages that help determine the initial feature of an MVP. The minimal product allows you to plan further functionality according to the first customer feedback.

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#5 It Is Enough to Gather a Team of Junior Specialists

This myth has a simple explanation: not every customer company that needs software is willing to pay more. However, saving on big projects can have fatal consequences. After all, middle and senior specialists, in addition to executing tasks, will have to check the code for juniors and train them. At the same time, experienced developers should also find time for learning because technologies are constantly developing, and it is vital to keep up with new trends and requirements.

When hiring a custom app development team, it is customary to rely on the following factors:

  • The requirements (how well they are detailed and formulated in the final version);
  • Project size and scope (coding, analytics, design, testing, CI/CD, etc.);
  • Technology stack (frontend and backend);
  • Relevant experience in implementing similar projects.

Besides, all participants must know their duties, product backlog execution order, and customer interaction principles. At the start, it is crucial to choose an appropriate management method and a person who will lead the process rather than determine the ratio of seasoned and less experienced specialists.

#6 Developers Can Create a Demanded Product on a First Try

When striving to get the desired result right away, the team makes less risky decisions and builds a linear development process. However, it reduces the speed of the response to new problems.

A unique user experience often requires taking risks and implementing new features or custom software design concepts to test multiple hypotheses. Mature investors know that most ideas will fail. On the other hand, they also know it’s impossible to find those that will skyrocket without trying them all out.

Accepting the first failure is perhaps the most profitable strategy. People learn from their mistakes, while modern modeling and prototyping technologies make it much easier and faster.

#7 Customer Myths in Software Engineering: No Need to Spend Resources on Analytics

Sometimes, a business has only a product idea but no terms of reference or understanding of where to begin. It is risky to start development immediately, as the requirements will change, and the time and costs will inevitably increase. Simply put, it is impossible to get positive results with no analytics because there must be an understanding of the project’s purpose.

Specialists address one of the most frequent customer myths in software engineering by reducing the preparation time for the project kick-off and using the discovery phase. It is a preliminary stage for identifying requirements, analyzing business goals, and developing the concept of a future product.

The main task of the discovery phase in software development is to turn the data received into a step-by-step roadmap for each role in the system. To accurately evaluate the project, you need to know the software’s boundaries and understand how much time it will take to determine the requirements and draw up technical specifications.

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