Software development often comes with a pre-set budget, which means you can’t go overboard that easily. Keeping project costs down without offsetting quality involves adopting innovative practices, engaging experts, and not getting caught up in inefficient strategies. Besides other factors, a meticulous and documented approach can deliver cost-effective and top-notch results.
Ultimately, manage all the variables so they work cohesively to deliver a quality project on time and within budget. Every actor in the software development project needs to learn practical and proven hacks to limit exposure to uncertainties and keep the costs down. This article gives you rich insights on how to achieve that and more. Let’s take a look:
7 proven ways to reduce software development costs
1) Choose the right technology stack:
Choosing the right technology stack early on can mitigate the risks and lead to tremendous savings. Pick the wrong one, and you’ll spend time and money rebuilding the software, resulting in improvement costs. Go through a decision tree to select the technology that best fits your software dynamics.
• Use technologies with a host of tools with easy to integrate packages
• Lean towards reliable technology built and good support by trusted vendors
• Ultimately pick the one that seems more efficient and suitable for your specific goals
2) Assemble a reliable software development team:
A team with solid expert-level knowledge and the right synergy can make a considerable difference. You have already solved the time and quality problem if you can put together a team of developers with the necessary skill set, expertise, flexibility, familiarity, a good understanding of the requirements, and camaraderie.
As time works out in your favor, expect fewer delays and budget overruns stemming from that. The right team knows how to shift priorities well, maintain a healthy pace, track progress, review, communicate internally, work with the stakeholders, have backups, maintain transparency, build the right equilibrium, and support to reduce the time and maintain code quality.
• Hire competent developers that cover diverse skillsets for different aspects
• Essential that developers have a knack for learning, taking feedback, and are hands-on
• Foster a culture that encourages suggestions and healthy discussions
• Hold a standup meeting daily to ensure all members are on the same page
3) Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) first:
Launch an MVP first, not a prototype or a mock-up but a functioning product with the minimum feature set. This may not be a full-fledged product, but it allows you to interact and experience it sufficiently. Collect feedback from decision-makers & end-users and make suitable changes. This process saves you time & money and validates an idea.
According to CB-Insights, around 8% of the time, a startup failure resulted from a poor product. Prioritize core functionalities over cosmetic features. A scaled-down version of the intended product demonstrated early on will reveal whether the product is heading in the right direction and will it deliver enough value down the line.
It allows software developers to course-correct in the nascent stages and saves them from making massive changes later. The key to a good MVP is learning and then building a tailor-made solution that caters to the functional side, is reliable, usable, and scarcely addresses the design aspects.
• MVPs are of two types – low-fidelity and high-fidelity
• Segregate MVP features into – feasible, desirable, and viable
• Helps to gauge product fit and potential before committing to a bigger budget
• Leave room for modifications in line with the user feedback.
4) Go Agile from the get-go:
Agile involves code creation in sprints with fast iterations and the workflow showing enough flexibility to adapt to changes. On the whole, testing, iterating, and quick changes help cut down the cost of software development. You get to develop the core features, test them out, and deploy them before pushing for secondary requirements.
The core principle of Agile uses an iterative approach, that allows short cycles of work for rapid creation and constant revision. Teams quickly act on the feedback and make responsive changes at each stage of a sprint cycle. Agile controls and manages the scope within each sprint to reduce time and cost overruns. This helps to prevent a major pitfall and subsequent financial crash at the very end of a project’s completion.
• The sequence of steps from ideation to launch is much leaner and tighter with Agile.
• Improves decision latency, enabling developers to respond faster to sudden changes.
• Improves collaboration, software quality, and customer satisfaction; lowering costs.
• Ability to meet requirements within deadlines means staying within budget is far easier.
5) Implement DevOps:
DevOps methodology is meant to improve the way developers work throughout the software development lifecycle. The DevOps process is an infinite loop of planning, coding, building, testing, deploying, operating, monitoring and feedback. Generally, developers can get it right in the first attempt, mainly due to swift communication and better prioritization.
DevOps combines the best practices of software development and IT operations to shorten the development life cycle. DevOps involves Continuous Integration / Testing / Delivery (CI/CT/CD), microservices, automating processes, constant monitoring, with communication and collaboration to optimize the development budget.
• Better trust and cohesion between developers, leading to increased efficiency
• Develop code with fewer errors – real-time monitoring detects bugs fast and resolves them
• Cuts the delivery time short, leading to a faster time to market
• Post-deployment constant monitoring ensures smooth stability and performance
6) Automate as much as possible:
Automation won’t replace humans; it’ll only catalyze their work. Improved efficiency will lead to developers being freed from time-consuming tasks, which allows them to contribute high-value tasks (design test cases) to the project. Automation cuts downtime, meaning fewer man-hours and thus a tight budget. You test faster, with more accuracy, and at a lower cost of software development. Link
Use low-code and no-code environments to automate the development part of the project. You can also automate the testing side of the project; instead of relying on manual testing to find bugs use automation environments to find errors in your code. You can automate to perform Usability, UI, performance, load, stress, functional, and regression testing.
• Use either black box or white box testing approaches.
• If you plan to code similar functionality across a few different projects, try to automate it.
• Automated Deployment will ship code across several stages of the development process – resulting in more reliable and efficient deployments.
• Reduce errors, save time, and ensure consistency and repeatability
7) Rely on Pre-built and customize it later:
Pre-built features and templates make life easier for the software development team. Utilize pre-built tried, tested, and approved templates and add custom features where possible to suit your specific needs. Using such templates, the development team can reduce labor, cost, and delivery time in writing a code block from the ground up.
Look for existing open-source solutions in open-source libraries and customize them to match your expectations. Once you have a stock template, the development team can integrate the necessary add-ons without spending time and resources developing the whole framework. The entire process is much more efficient, making the software development more affordable.
The gap between ball-park figures and final costs
Document the vision you have in mind. List down everything you hope to achieve in the discovery phase through a checklist. Try to include target audience, market conditions, current scale, scope, features, design, business value, core expectations, realistic timelines, and then the budget. Conducting an exhaustive review helps give direction, identify anomalies, and bring out the best.
More importantly, you can now quantify your vision and align it within your budget. The monetary terms of software development at this stage will more or less be on the initial investment. Of course, later on, you may need to factor in maintenance/running costs. If the value you see in the immediate or distant future surpasses your investment, don’t hold back.
• Conduct a proper review to control costs, minimize risks, and increase value.
• Don’t leave any room for ambiguity. Create a Software Requirements Specification document.
• If anything goes off, have a financial buffer in place – the maximum you can exceed.
• Larger projects may have a more volatile budget. On the go, changes will affect the timelines and costs.
How Project management practices influence the cost of software development
Cost-effective and speedy implementation starts with extensive planning and risk evaluation with all the decision-makers. Additionally, it involves segregating duties, establishing dependencies, and setting realistic timelines. Document every little detail and proactively monitor the project for any wasted activities, errors, incidents, or potential downstream impacts.
The best project management model will account for all the concrete factors in the project, alongside all the unstable variables in the inception stage itself. Plus, set realistic expectations and not allow any oversight. Furthermore, breakdown the project into multiple phases, prioritize milestones and perform a continuous assessment to validate them.
• Performs an end-to-end analysis of core objectives and their corresponding deliverables
• Identify, align, and continuously track the progress and quality through each phase
• Stay agile to allow immediate response on mission-critical roadblocks and shift priorities
• Keep bulky processes away to ensure a seamless start to finish project path
• A detailed project plan will minimize implementation time, lower costs, and cut down risks
An expert scrum master to oversee it all
A certified scrum master adapts, motivates, solves problems, communicates, and organizes to empower your team for the best productivity and outcome. An expert scrum master can take the project through any gridlock. No matter the hurdle, a scrum master with the best practices and principles will coach, facilitate, and guide the project to the finish line.
A dedicated scrum master will champion the project to success without exceeding the budget. Having such a scrum master will directly influence your development budget. Their ability to get tasks done, from every individual to the expected quality, and on time will keep the extra hours in check. They’ll work out ways to balance the objectives & timelines and address any disruption with ease.
• Leads, conducts daily stand-ups, reviews, and ensures complete support and access.
• Proactively communicates to learn and transfer knowledge.
• A highly-skilled scrum master detects and resolves conflicts early
• Also, updates activities, progress, and billable hours for each milestone on the tracking tool.
How API-first can reduce the development costs?
API-first methodology puts the API at the center. Building an ecosystem of APIs allows you to extend and reuse the code components in other projects, affecting your time to market and reducing your software development cost. Software developers always have a baseline architecture to work with and don’t need to write the code from scratch.
Only spend time developing the essentials and plug in the remaining components (microservices). Create excellent API documentation and elevate the developer experience (DX) through a modular approach that makes it easier to add new features. Additionally, the API-first strategy helps detect flaws before coding, which costs far less than fixing code issues once the API gets deployed.
• Platform and language agnostic – Integrate your system with a range of services.
• Troubleshoot seamlessly – Ensures reduced risk of application failures.
• Pluggability offers the agility to remove, add, or upgrade any feature without affecting others.
• Software developers can work in parallel – create mock servers and mock APIs, try out API designs, and test APIs asynchronously.
Final Word – Reduce Cost without diminishing quality
Increased expenses eat into your bottom line and shrink your profits. Software development costs form a decisive chunk of these expenses. Companies need to leverage cutting-edge technology and intelligent project procedures to realize incremental savings. However, cutting corners around costs can induce a sense of uncertainty around project excellence.
It doesn’t need to go that way. ISHIR’s software development experts enable economic project closures at superior quality to give the best returns on every invested dime. Adopting a resourceful and adaptive approach, we ensure that any compromise on monetary investments will not devalue the project’s integrity. Rely on the best to build the best!