What is a software development strategy?

It’s official, you’ve gotten approval, there’s room in the budget, and the team has been set, your software solution development is finally happening. Only one problem, you have no software development strategy to guide you through the process. In fact, you’re not even sure what constitutes an effective software development strategy.

Have no fear, DOOR3 can clear that up for you.

A software development strategy is a comprehensive plan that covers the approach and practices used by a team to develop a new software solution. A software development strategy acts as the roadmap taking you from conception through launch and beyond.

Why do you need a reliable software development strategy?

Going through the software development process without a plan in place is a little like building a house without a blueprint. Maybe you’ve got ideas of how it should look or what comes first, but without a plan in place, you can almost guarantee that what you’re imagining isn’t what the final product will look like.

The impact of not having a software strategy isn’t just a few bugs here or there or a user experience with room to improve on, 30-40% of software projects fail or experience significant setbacks when no software development strategy is set in place. That’s a substantial amount of “solutions” that only add to your headaches.

When do we need a software development strategy?

The answer may surprise you (or not), but always.

Why do you always need a software development strategy in place? The answer is simple and directly referenced above, without one, you increase your risk of a runaway project by 30-40%.

Let’s take a look at some of the tips and tricks DOOR3 has to offer on developing an effective software development strategy.

Strategizing for effective software development Developing an effective software development strategy requires careful planning and execution. It involves defining clear goals, conducting a feasibility study, identifying key stakeholders, planning resource allocation, choosing the right development methodology, and prioritizing and breaking down tasks. Additionally, testing, iterating, and improving play a vital role in ensuring the success of the strategy. By following these key steps and incorporating continuous improvement practices, software development teams can enhance the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of their software development strategies.

The role of the project manager in software development planning and strategy

Project management plays an important role in software strategy and development. A project manager works closely with both stakeholders and developers to guarantee that the project is properly allocated, on schedule, and well executed. Project Managers also help with risk management, to avoid increasing failure rates caused by extended deadlines, overrun budgets, or overallocated team members. They are the eyes and ears for the software development strategy, and a good project manager can be what makes or breaks your software solution development.

Steps for software development strategy

Creating an effective software development strategy can be time consuming and tedious, however, we can break the process down into four overarching steps:

  1. Preparation
  2. Resource planning
  3. Methodology selection
  4. Prioritization and break down tasks

Each of these steps covers different portions of the strategy development process. What’s particularly important in all of these steps is that stakeholders are involved throughout. Projects with active stakeholder agreement are 40% more successful than those without active engagement. So if you’re going to go through the software development process, make sure your stakeholders are all on board before doing so.

First steps: Do these before making your software development strategy

Before a strategy can be developed, some project prerequisites must be established first. These parameters help to establish how a software solution supports your overall business.


Identify how software fits into your business goals

Defining the goals of an effective software development project requires a systematic approach. It begins with understanding the problem or opportunity at hand and conducting thorough research. Engaging with stakeholders, including business leaders and end-users, helps gather valuable input.

Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Prioritizing goals based on their impact and aligning them with the company’s mission ensures their effectiveness. Technical feasibility should also be considered.

To make your software goals tangible, avoid ambiguity and provide clear targets. For example, instead of a vague goal like “improve user experience,” specify reducing average response time to under two seconds.

Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial for tracking progress. Metrics like defects per release or customer satisfaction ratings provide insights into the strategy’s effectiveness.

Regularly review and reassess goals to ensure their relevance. Consider industry trends, customer feedback, and emerging technologies for necessary adjustments.

Clear communication is vital for effective software development strategies. Share the goals with the development team and stakeholders to foster a shared understanding and collaboration.

Conduct a feasibility study


Conducting a feasibility study for a software development strategy is essential to assess the viability and potential success of the project. Here are the steps involved in conducting a feasibility study:

Define the Scope

Clearly define the scope of the software development strategy. Identify the specific goals, objectives, and expected outcomes of the project. Determine the boundaries of the study to focus on relevant aspects of your software strategy.

Identify Requirements

Identify the requirements and needs of the project. This includes understanding the problem or opportunity the software aims to address and defining the functionalities and features it should have. Engage with stakeholders, end-users, and subject matter experts to gather their input and requirements.

Technical Feasibility

Evaluate the technical feasibility of the project. Assess the existing technology infrastructure and resources to determine if they can support the software development. Consider factors such as hardware, software, development tools, and required integrations. Identify any technological limitations or constraints that may impact the project.

Economic Feasibility

Assess the economic feasibility of the software development strategy. Evaluate the cost implications of the project, including development expenses, licensing fees, hardware and software costs, ongoing maintenance, and potential return on investment. Consider the budgetary constraints and the financial viability of the project.

Resource Assessment

Determine the resources required to execute the software development strategy. Evaluate the availability and skills of the development team, project management capabilities, and other relevant resources. Assess the capacity and expertise of the team to ensure they can meet the project requirements for your software strategy within the defined timeline.

Risk Assessment

Identify and analyze potential risks and challenges associated with the software development project. Assess both internal and external factors that may impact the project’s success.

**Risks Associated with Software Development Planning **

  • Scope creep
  • Incomplete requirements
  • Inadequate resource allocation
  • Technological risks
  • Poor communication
  • Market competition
  • Regulatory compliance

It’s a good idea to develop mitigation strategies and contingency plans to address identified risks. Responsible software developers look for challenges ahead of time, sticking your head in the sand will only have a negative impact on the development process.

Schedule and Timeline

Evaluate the time required for the software development strategy. Develop a project schedule and timeline, considering factors such as development phases, testing, integration, deployment, and potential delays. Ensure the proposed timeline aligns with the organization’s objectives and any external dependencies.

Make Recommendations

Based on the feasibility analysis, make recommendations regarding the software development strategy. Determine if the project should proceed, be modified, or abandoned based on the identified feasibility factors. Provide insights and suggestions to optimize the project’s success, addressing any identified risks or challenges.

Conducting a thorough feasibility study provides valuable insights to inform decision-making, mitigating risks, and increasing the likelihood of a successful software development strategy.

Identify Stakeholders

Identifying key stakeholders for an effective software development strategy involves a systematic approach. Here are the steps:

First, identify internal stakeholders such as executives, project sponsors, IT departments, and the development team.

Next, consider end-users and customers who will directly use or be affected by the software.

Include subject matter experts like business analysts, domain experts, and legal/compliance professionals.

Lastly, recognize other relevant stakeholders like vendors, partners, and regulators.

Conduct stakeholder analysis through interviews, surveys, and workshops to ensure their perspectives are considered.

By involving key stakeholders, you can create a more successful software development strategy.

Plan Resource Allocation


Planning resource allocation for an effective software development strategy involves these key steps:

Identify Project Requirements

Understand the scope, goals, and functionalities of the software, considering any technical or budget constraints.

Assess Resource Availability

Evaluate the availability and expertise of developers, project managers, testers, and other necessary roles within your organization.

Prioritize Resource Allocation

Determine resource allocation based on criticality, task dependencies, and milestones within the software development project.

Consider Resource Skills and Expertise

Match the required skills and proficiency of team members with specific tasks and technologies.

Monitor and Adjust

Continuously monitor resource allocation, assess progress, and make necessary adjustments to address gaps or changing project needs.

By following these steps, you can effectively plan and allocate resources for your software development strategy, ensuring the project progresses smoothly and meets its objectives.

Most applicable strategy development methodology


Select one of the strategy development methodology options that aligns with your project requirements. Consider factors like project complexity, team size, flexibility, and stakeholder collaboration. Here are some common methods:


The Waterfall methodology follows a linear sequential approach, where each phase of the development process (requirements, design, development, testing, deployment) is completed before moving to the next. It is highly structured and requires detailed planning upfront as a strategy development methodology.


Agile as a strategy development methodology, such as Scrum and Kanban, emphasize flexibility, collaboration, and iterative development. They involve breaking the project into smaller increments called sprints, focusing on delivering working software in short cycles and adapting based on feedback. Agile methodologies promote close collaboration between cross-functional teams and stakeholders.


Lean software development as a strategy development methodology aims to eliminate waste and maximize value delivery. It focuses on continuous improvement and the elimination of non-value-added activities. Lean methodologies emphasize efficiency, reducing defects, and optimizing resources.

In addition to these three methodologies is DevOps, which can be viewed as an expansion to the previously listed methodologies. Devops combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) to improve collaboration and speed up software delivery. It emphasizes automation, continuous integration, continuous delivery, and close collaboration between development and operations teams.

It’s important to note that these methodologies and expansions can also be combined or customized to suit the specific needs of a project or organization. Hybrid approaches, such as Agile-Waterfall hybrids or Scrum of Scrums for larger projects, are also commonly used to tailor the development process to specific requirements. Consider factors like project complexity, team size, stakeholder involvement, and flexibility requirements to select one or more software development strategies that meet your needs.

Prioritize and Break Down Tasks


Prioritizing and breaking down tasks is crucial for effective software development strategy. Here are steps to prioritize and break down tasks effectively:

Identify and Understand Project Requirements

Start by gaining a comprehensive understanding of the project requirements. Collaborate with stakeholders, gather user stories, and define the desired outcomes. This helps establish a clear picture of the tasks needed to achieve project objectives.

Determine Task Dependencies

Identify any task dependencies or relationships that exist. Determine which tasks need to be completed before others can start. This ensures a logical and efficient sequence of task execution.

Break Down Tasks into Smaller Units

Break down software development project enhancements into smaller, more manageable units. This promotes clarity, easier tracking, and efficient resource allocation. Use a task breakdown structure, such as Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) or User Story Mapping, to divide tasks into manageable components.

Define Milestones and Deliverables

Establish milestones and deliverables to mark significant progress points. Milestones serve as checkpoints for measuring progress and allow for celebration of achievements. Break down tasks into deliverables, ensuring that each deliverable contributes to the completion of a milestone.

Estimate Time and Effort

Estimate the time and effort required for each task. Collaborate with the development team to determine realistic estimates based on their expertise and historical data. This helps in setting achievable timelines and allocating resources effectively.

Consider Resource Availability

Take into account the availability and skills of the team members when assigning tasks focused on software development project enhancements. Ensure that tasks are distributed evenly and align with team members’ strengths and expertise. Balance the workload to avoid overloading individuals or creating resource bottlenecks.

Track Progress and Adjust

Continuously track progress on software development project enhancements and adjust as needed. Regularly review task status, address any roadblocks or challenges, and make necessary adjustments to timelines or task dependencies. This allows for proactive management of the project and facilitates timely delivery.

Communicate and Collaborate

Maintain open communication and collaboration with the development team and stakeholders. Clearly communicate task breakdowns, priorities, and expectations. Facilitate regular discussions to ensure a shared understanding and alignment among all team members.

By following these steps, you can effectively prioritize and break down tasks for your software development strategy. This promotes clarity, enhances team productivity, and enables successful project execution.

Test, Iterate, and Improve


Testing, iterating, and improving software development project enhancements are crucial aspects of an effective software development strategy. Here’s how you can approach these steps:

Test Planning

Develop a comprehensive test plan for your software development project enhancements that outlines the testing objectives, methodologies, and resources required. Identify the types of testing needed, such as unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and user acceptance testing. Define test cases and criteria for success.

Execute Testing

Implement the planned testing activities based on the test plan. Perform different types of testing to ensure the software meets functional, performance, security, and usability requirements. Use automated testing tools and frameworks to streamline the testing process and increase efficiency.

Gather and Analyze Feedback and Test Results

Collect test results and analyze them thoroughly. Identify any issues, defects, or areas of improvement. Prioritize the issues based on their severity and impact on the software. Use bug tracking or issue management systems to document and track identified issues.

Iterate and Fix

Address the identified issues by resolving defects, bugs, or inconsistencies. Prioritize and fix critical issues first. An effective software development strategy must follow an iterative approach by deploying incremental updates or patches as needed. Continuously monitor and retest the software after each iteration to ensure the fixes are effective.

Continuous Improvement

Foster a culture of continuous improvement within the development team. Encourage regular retrospective meetings to reflect on the development process and identify lessons learned. Implement feedback loops to ensure that insights gained from testing and user feedback are incorporated into future iterations or future software versions.

Plan for Future Updates

Based on the iterative feedback and improvements, plan for future software updates or releases. Incorporate user feedback, emerging technologies, and market trends to enhance the software’s functionality, performance, and user experience. Continuously evaluate and adjust the software development strategy based on evolving business needs and industry advancements.

Essentials for your software development project to succeed

It’s imperative that your project has clear goals and objectives established prior to beginning development, though that’s only the beginning when it comes to making sure your software project is going to be successful. Other elements to establish include:

The right team: Not every company is equipped to develop their own software solution. For those companies, DOOR3 can be the perfect solution to your development woes. Schedule a call today to learn more.

Thorough requirements gathering: It’s important to gather a comprehensive list of detailed requirements before development begins. In-depth requirements gathering helps to avoid scope creep and miscommunications. DOOR3’s technical discovery services are excellent for ensuring that everything gets laid out on the table before even the first line of code is written.

Quality assurance and testing: Software bugs can be difficult to detect, and impossible when no testing processes are in place. To ensure software quality meets operational standards, a dedicated QA process should be set in place.

Continuous improvement and feedback: Is software ever really done? We don’t think so, as with constant technological advancements being made accessible daily, iterative improvements can extend the life of your software by years.

Examples of effective software development strategies

There are many examples of effective software development strategies plastered all across the work section of the DOOR3 website, here are two of our favorite examples:

Leon Market: With a seamless user experience at the top of the needs list for these stakeholders, our development strategy led with deep research on the users of the platform and their cultural nuances. On top of that, the leon market ecosystem needed three different applications developed, so extensive alignment work was matched with meticulous quality assurance and testing to guarantee a similar experience across products. The end result was a beautiful application that effectively led the customer through their grocery buying journey.

DAA Enterprises: Years of ad hoc updates had left the previously existing core software system for DAA bloated and dysfunctional. DOOR3 needed to not only create a more effective software solution, but to conduct a tedious migration on top of it. Our strategy for DAA was to first extensively review every feature of this 30 year old software and prioritize them. This allowed us to establish clear requirements and help the stakeholders to understand how sometimes less is more when the user experience is clouded with features that are never used. We built a solution prioritizing the core functionalities necessary for DAA’s customers, while efficiently migrating their previous data to their new cloud based solution.

Concluding Thoughts on Effective Software Development Strategies

In the fast-paced world of software development, an effective software development strategy is essential for success. By setting clear goals, conducting feasibility studies, involving key stakeholders, allocating resources wisely, selecting appropriate development methodologies, and prioritizing and breaking down tasks, organizations can lay a solid foundation for their projects. Furthermore, testing, iterating, and continuous improvement drive the refinement and enhancement of software solutions, leading to superior performance, user satisfaction, and market competitiveness.

By embracing these practices and choosing software development strategies that fit their needs, software development teams can navigate challenges, adapt to changing requirements, and deliver high-quality software that meets and exceeds expectations.

As you navigate the intricate landscape of software development strategy, don’t overlook the crucial role of front-end development. Learn more about our front-end services. Contact us today!

Software development strategy FAQs:

  1. What is a software strategy?

A software development strategy is a comprehensive plan that covers the approach and practices used by a team to develop a new software solution. A software development strategy acts as the roadmap taking you from conception through launch and beyond.

  1. How do you develop a solution strategy in software engineering?

Developing a solution strategy in software engineering requires you to first define the problem and gather requirements. Upon completion, you must create a plan and evaluate the technology options accessible to you. Once these steps have been addressed, it’s time to begin the development and iteration process.

  1. What are software development strategies?

There are multiple software development strategies that can be used, at DOOR3 we prefer a strategy built around investing significant time in the preparation of a project. We find that allocating additional resources towards our technical discovery phase reduces the amount of slowdowns or bottlenecks that may arise during the development phase.

  1. What role does developing a solution strategy in software engineering play?

Developing a solution strategy in software engineering helps to keep software engineers on target with the needs of the stakeholders. Strategy in software engineering provides clear roadmap limits room for error during the development phase.

  1. What is a software delivery strategy?

A software delivery strategy is the plan that outlines how a software solution will be delivered to its end users while maintaining quality standards. Software delivery strategy should include support options as well as an iterative feedback loop.

  1. How can strategy enhance software development projects?

A well defined software development strategy can provide clear direction and improve efficiency while reducing overall risks that may occur during the process. Software development strategies enhance communication, adaptability, and ensure the quality of the product.

  1. How do software development strategies evolve over time?

As technology advances and market demands change, software development strategies have to meet the needs of their users regardless of environment. Strategies may shift their focuses to include more feedback and learning, or to focus on addressing current industry trends. The evolution of software development strategies is unpredictable, but maintaining an adaptive process ensures that you’re able to pivot when required to do so.

Need more help?

Think it might be time to bring in some extra help?