Software Development vs. Construction

When it comes to describing software development, it helps to use parallels from construction. The processes can be similar when put side-by-side. They are both referred to as “projects”. There are several stages of planning, executing, and maintaining involved. An architect needs to draw up blueprints before a single brick is placed. Having these blueprints allows for greater preparation. This preparation can consist of having the right materials, picking the right site, and so on. Similarly, these factors can affect software development. A team that needs to develop mobile apps would be ill-equipped without Swift or Java expertise. A team that does not have a specific platform in mind, might waste time and resources writing code that may become redundant later. One effective framework in terms of software is agile scrum. Which will be discussed briefly. This article will discuss the steps involved in both construction and software development.

Using construction when explaining software development is helpful in many ways. The average consumer would have somewhat of an understanding of construction. This is because we all in some shape or form interact with housing. They might have worked in a construction project as a youth or be building their own house right now. Being able to place the terms in understandable analogies can better inform the consumer. Just like a construction project, a software project needs to have a defined user base. Is the software being developed for tech-savvy users? Is the target audience familiar with tech? What is the target market size? How can the team use the resources more efficiently based on internal and external factors? At Twelfth Dream, Team As A Service (TAAS) has extensive experience with these scenarios. Let us dive further into the construction process.
Software development in action Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Steps involved in Construction

As stated earlier, many factors need to be considered before a construction project officially begins. Architects then spend time crafting the necessary blueprints. They must consider the zoning laws and other city ordinances as well. Doing so would save the project from several headaches. It would set a clear plan for the materials and the time needed. Planning would also eliminate wasteful labor and maximize efficiency. It should be noted that different permits are cleared at different times during a project. A construction permit would not be issued for a piece of land if the land is not yet purchased for the project.

Once the right permits are obtained, the project can commence. Clearing the land is the first order of business. The trees in the way, boulders, and other environmental factors need to be addressed. This is to ensure the excavation phase can run smoothly. Once the land is cleared, the foundation site is dug to the determined amount. This would depend on the height of the building. A single-story house does not need the same foundation as a skyscraper. The parallels with software can be seen here when it comes to acquiring the right licenses and resources. A team would need to determine the necessary software for their coding. Next, they would need to plan out their content roadmap.

Once the excavation is done, the foundation is poured. The foundation is dependent on the stability of the soil as well. The same can be seen in software development. The initial phase of coding mirrors the foundation of a building. It is the framework upon which the software will be built. As the construction progresses, the framing is built. Steel beams or wood would depend on the size and complexity of the building.

The project takes shape

Now that the frame is in place, the rough plumbing and wiring work starts. Contractors will put in the pipes and wires to prepare for the oncoming steps. The next step is the drywall and insulation being installed. An important aspect here is the roofing as well. The roofing ensures that weather conditions do not damage the work that has been accomplished. It also creates a meaningful picture of what the house is going to look like. The steps outlined mirror that of the agile scrum deliverables. They ensure the client and the team that real work is taking place. It allows for a greater representation of the effort put in and errors can be caught early. Heating and cooling are another set of concerns that need to be addressed before we move on to the interior.

Next, the interior is completed. The carpeting and tile work can commence. An important part of the interior is its fixtures. Lighting, toilets, doors, and windows to name a few. After applying the finishing touches, the house can be called complete. The finishing touches include painting the walls, installing the flooring in all the rooms, and many final adjustments. Finally, the house is deliverable and inhabitable. Software development follows similar steps. Agile scrum is one of the frameworks a development team can use. Stakeholders in both projects are shown meaningful deliverables at each stage.

Software Development Life Cycle

The Software Development Life Cycle describes the steps an idea takes before it becomes software. Every great piece of software comes from an idea. This idea is then planned and fleshed out over a few brainstorming sessions. This allows the stakeholders and the team members to align their vision of what it could be. Is it a ride-sharing app? Is it an app that connects comic book enthusiasts? The possibilities are endless. But no matter how great the idea is, the next step is to analyze its feasibility. Factors to consider here are the available resources, the team members at hand, and whether the app is technically doable. Sometimes an idea is way ahead of its time and needs additional research. Other times, it is simple and clear. Meaning it could be done with the minimal use of resources.

Like architects with buildings, the software is then designed. Based on the analysis, certain features may be added or removed. Unlike with architects, software developers must set their own rules. The rules that will govern over the code they write. The coding step can be completed using a variety of frameworks. Agile scrum is a great example. It involves the team picking development goals and completing them during two to four week “sprints”. These sprints involve daily meetings where the accomplishments of yesterday and the goals of today are discussed. Another topic is potential pitfalls and what the team can do to avoid them. Once the sprint is over, there is a review and retrospective. The review serves to examine what has been accomplished. While the retrospective analyzes the work done and looks for areas of improvement.

Finalizing the software

Once coding is complete, comes the integration. The software is put to action and its features are tested against adopted testing methods. This step is far more intuitive than with construction, as every feature can be stress tested and refined. Whereas a house cannot be put against an earthquake or other natural disasters for testing. Once the kinks are worked out the software is implemented and finally deployed or “shipped”. Much like a house it requires maintenance and upkeep. But unlike a house, it is constantly operating and needs oversight over those operations. Here, the development team can use real-world feedback and update the software, as necessary. This is a much tougher job in the software world. As new technology grows rapidly, whereas city ordinances can take some time to be updated.

Throughout all these steps, a framework like agile scrum can help keep everyone involved. It does so through frequent communication and deliverables. There are other frameworks of course. Here at Twelfth Dream we have found agile scrum to be the most effective and efficient.

Construction in terms of software

As you can see there are parallels between the two processes. Let us look at two examples of software being developed and how they mirror construction planning. The first could be a streaming service aimed at a youth demographic versus a government website for the elderly to claim their benefits. The design, the look, the features, they will vary drastically based on the users of the platform. In the same vein, whether a house is being built on the outskirts of town or in a bustling sector of the city matters. It could affect change in the architecture and scalability of the project.

As helpful as the construction analogy can be, it is not without flaws. In construction, the materials are premade and therefore an accurate or semi-accurate invoice can be drawn. Barring events out of the crew’s hands, they can safely assume the time it takes for a project to be completed. However, when it comes to software the story is different. Depending on the client’s needs and the clarity of communication, the project can take a long time.

A physical house is easier to grasp by the average consumer than a collection of code. They may be able to imagine what the User Interface (UI) would look like based on experience with other apps. But they cannot specifically relay the procedures or the coding language that they want.  Coders cannot give an exact estimate of resources needed to complete a project. In the ever-evolving world of technology, trends are born and then fade away much faster than other sectors. The building blueprint is planned with known variables. Software development however can be drastically different depending on the code and required features.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What specializations are required to build a software from A to Z?We have a team of specialists at Twelfthdream whose job is to deliver software products. Click on the link to know our experts.Our specialists
  2. How much money is needed to build a software?Every product is unique so a perennial estimate won’t work for every case. We have been helping many business since 2015 and are happy to help you with your business. Get estimate now
  3. How much time will it take to make a software?Building software is like building house, depending on how large the software is, each phase will be maintained.Get familiar with the process.

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