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Be Prepared for the Most Expensive Part of Your Software Development Efforts

Prepare for the Most Expensive Part of Software Development

At what stage does the real cost of software come? While a software development company considers profit as firm revenue minus costs, as a customer you need to have your priorities straight and ensure your financial resources are sufficient. Everything hinges on the type of software you are going to create.

Custom software can be created for an internal or external client. When purchasing this type of software, the developed system’s exclusive rights are taken by the customer. This can lead to the transferring of work on the further development of the software to another firm.

Compared to custom software, investment software development is carried out by the developer for payment from an internal or external investor. As a rule, the executor gains the right to the external code, which stimulates continuous work on improving the project’s performance, with consistent releases of versions with more advanced functionality.

Embedded software is supplied with equipment, which means that it is not subject to maintenance during the deployment stage, not least as product recall is very expensive and therefore only takes place in exceptional cases.

Game hits development doesn’t really contain a support or maintenance phase. If gaming software users come across a bug, they are usually not eager to download an updated version of the software. That’s why the gaming industry has its own economy and development process.

But all these and other types of software can be viewed through the software development lifecycle (SDLC), which may be utilized to guide the process of your future project development.

Any conceptual model for software project management includes at least 7 common stages plus a discovery phase, each of which has different time-/effort-consumption and pricing/costs:

  1. Planning
  2. Defining
  3. Designing
  4. Building
  5. Testing
  6. Deployment
  7. Maintenance and support

The length of the SDLC outputs can be additionally divided into two major classes: those with short and those with long lifecycles.



Programs with a short lifecycle are primarily developed for solving scientific and engineering issues, and use Waterfall or a rigid approach with a thoroughly-regulated product design and operation.

Such apps are usually lightweight and can be developed by a single specialist or a small team. The main aim of the software is discussed between a programmer and the customer. The project is usually realized in a few days or weeks.

Due to the minimal documentation, the outputs can be highly problematic if transferred to other teams for further development.

Long lifecycle outputs are usually created for regular processing of heavy traffic and information management, and use Agile or a flexible approach to software creation

This type of program has a complicated structure with multiple commands (from 1 to 1000). All the assigned commands possess properties, which provide a performer/developer with the possibility to make changes in the structure and a customer with the opportunity to transfer the long-term project to other executors.

Software products of this class are supplied with documentation similar to industrial products and therefore can be easily replicated and detached from the previous developer. The class is commonly designed and operated by large teams of specialists.

The lifecycle consists of a long phase in task forming, as well as a testing period. However, there is a relatively short stage of final output delivery and maintenance.

The quality indicators here are under the developers/performers control and fully consistent with their informal views.  Maintenance and modification stages are not obligatory for such cycles. Once the results are achieved, a completion stage comes into effect.

The lifecycle is typically of 10-20 years, with up to 70-90% of the time spent on maintenance and support.

What stage of software development is the most expensive?

The most expensive parts of such software development include the testing and planning stages, which can take up from a month to several years. However, the lifecycle rarely exceeds a 3-year period. Due to mass replication and prolonged support requirements, the total costs of that stage significantly exceed expenses associated with software maintenance and support.

Are you about to develop custom software?

You’d better know ahead that a fruitful project won’t be clinched in one handshake and it will take quite some effort to get into the question and purpose at large.

The process requires significant expense and time. Thus, having invested heavily in such a project, it would be extremely complicated to terminate the development without much loss. However, you shouldn’t discount the idea, just think carefully before doing it and calculate the financial possibilities, as well as your willingness to spend a good deal of time on it, in advance.

Published: June 15, 2017

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Yana Vardomatskaya

Yana Vardomatskaya is a VP of Business Development for HQSoftware, a custom software development company with offices in New York City, Tallinn and a development center in Minsk, Belarus. Having started with a wide variety of custom software development projects, the company in now working in the IoT and AR/VR.

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