Planning to build a custom software solution and want to launch the product in the market as early as possible? Well then you might have surely asked this question – how long does it take to develop software? The short answer is, it depends. A software development timeline is contingent on the kind of project you are undertaking. How? That’s a long answer.
No worries! Let’s discuss the long answer in detail!
Setting a realistic plan for the software development timeline is a critical step in ensuring that a project is completed within a stipulated time frame. However, it can be a tricky affair when you take into account all the different steps your team has to go through to build the software and all the tasks that need to be completed by different team members. So, how do you go about it? Let’s find out that as well!
In this article, we will be taking a look at the factors that play an important role in determining the time it would take to develop custom software and how we calculate the software development timeline. So, without any further delay, let’s dive right into it!
How much time does it take to develop custom software?
As a leading software development company in Canada that has been in the market for 17+ years, we have built our share of custom digital solutions. So, we have a fairly realistic estimate of the time it takes to develop custom software. And this is the conclusion we have arrived at:
· Small business software project timeline: 3 to 4 months
· Mid-level business software project timeline: 5 to 6 months
· Enterprise business software project timeline: 12 or more months
Software development timeline breakup based on the development process
Irrespective of the size and type of a software solution, each software development lifecycle goes through some common phases.
1. Requirement Analysis
This is the phase where all the requirements are collected accurately to develop custom software that meets the project objectives. The project manager and a business analyst will schedule a meeting with your team to gather the requirements and conduct an analysis. Major aspects covered in this stage are:
· Requirement elicitation
· Writing test cases
· Building user stories
· Wireframe development
· SRS document
The approximate software development timeline required to complete this stage is 1-3.5 weeks, depending on the size and requirements of the project. The majority of the research time goes into defining the required features, functionalities, techniques, tools, development approach, and the risks involved.
2. Project design
Based on the software requirement specified in the analysis documents, the design is built. The UI UX design services involved in your development team will be able to help you build an attractive user-friendly interface for the software. But developing an aesthetically pleasing, high-quality design will take time as it involves understanding the requirements, developing wireframes, and then designing the actual screens.
That is why this stage of the software development timeline usually takes 2-5 weeks approximately. here are some of the major factors that go into it:
· Defining user experience
· Following platform-oriented design principles
· Maintaining a standard of design
· Following design consistency
· Avoiding cluttering the screening
· Number of screens
· Ensuring responsive design
· Testing of design
3. Development and QA
Once the design is ready and approved, we move on to the next stage, which is to develop custom software. At this stage, the development team begins writing the code according to the scope and the pre-built design. Developers follow appropriate software methodologies to code the necessary features and functionalities. The factors that are addressed here include:
· Size of software
· Software platform
· Complexity of the features
· Software development tools
· Development techniques
· Number of screens
· Third-party integrations
· Software development methods
· Unit testing
· Black box testing
· Bug tracking
· Bug resolving
Development and testing would take around 2-10 months or more in the software development timeline. Consider these factors mentioned above to estimate the complexity of your project and the approximate timeframe it will take.
Once the software quality assurance team gives the green light to go forward, you can deploy the software based on the platform. Traditionally, software developers deploy new applications using manual and automated processes. You can also use any of the following strategies to deploy the software:
· Blue Green Deployment
· A/B Testing
This process will take around 1-2 weeks in the software development timeline. Here are some things you need to consider during the deployment stage:
· Deployment on the pre-decided environments
· Post-launch testing
· Resolving bugs
This is the last phase of a software development life cycle. Most third-party software development teams will offer the maintenance of the software until it is deployed and operates efficiently on the web servers. Later on, if any problem arises, you can opt for a complete maintenance package for the application. But if constant maintenance of the software is a priority for you, make sure you opt for post-launch maintenance before you sign the contract.
Now that you have learnt the steps to develop custom software and the estimated time for each of those steps, let’s find out what factors that impact a software development timeline.
Factors that influence the software development timeline
1. Size of the team
If you want to develop a small software, you will not need a big team of developers. Whereas, if you wish to build enterprise software, you will need a large team with members who can work on different components of the project and complete it by the pre-set deadline. If you are planning to hire a development team but do not know how to begin, here’s a quick read on the tips to choose the right software development team.
2. Complexity of the features
This is a given. As the complexity of the proposed software increase, so does the software development timeline. Developers will have to build new code from scratch for the advanced functionalities that you want in your application. Moreover, they need to conduct testing and remove bugs and errors from the written code.
3. Platform of your choice
You need to decide on the platform of your software depending on your target audience. There are chances that your audience is present on different platforms and so you will have to go for a cross-platform software solution for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. In such cases, since you have to go for both mobile app development and desktop application development, you will need different teams and therefore additional time to develop custom software.
4. The number of software screens
To build aesthetically pleasing, clean software you need to develop different screens of the software. And as the size and complexity of the application increases, the number of screens will increase. This will directly impact the project timeline.
As you can see, it is imperative to set a realistic software development timeline for your project. This schedule is the backbone of every software development project, and many people depend on it to manage their tasks. That is why you need to put in care and effort into creating the timeline. An experienced software development team can guide you through the minor nuances of the process and help you build a stellar software product.
If you have any further queries or want to consult regarding your software project development, then contact us. You can either hire skilled developers to bridge the skill gap in your existing team or outsource the entire development process to our expert teams. Let’s connect and discuss your requirements!