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What parenting and software development have in common and why it matters

Parenting a newborn and developing custom software might seem unrelated, but as I have found, the two share deep similarities and their comparison yields valuable insights. Both children and software projects require nurturing, collaborating and compromising to persevere through unforeseen challenges while offering continual support through growth and development. In this blog post, we’ll use similarities between parenting a newborn to explain the process of software development, exploring how skills like planning, iteration, adaptation, and teamwork play crucial roles in both.

The Parent Trap

Much like parenting, developing custom software is a complex and challenging enterprise. Ask anyone who has done either and they will tell you that while you can plan out everything to the last detail using the best advice, the unforeseen trials of real life experience will lay your best laid plans to waste. You have to adapt and overcome, because that is just the beginning of a long and fruitful journey where you will play a central role in a success larger than yourself.

Creating custom software is like parenting in myriad ways, not least because both endeavors create something new using well-established tools and approaches. Both must plan carefully and reduce risk, account for unintended consequences, and environmental constraints on resources. Maintaining authority and expert guidance while integrating a different perspective on reality is a tricky balance to strike.

The following cartoon illustrates this connection well. Often, even our best-intentioned actions result in a subpar or difficult experience for our users. Always keeping users in mind fuels the creative process of software development.


Now that we have a better idea of why this comparison is valuable, let’s discuss some ways to access different perspectives and incorporate them into your planning, design, and development process.

Process = Product

Conception and Planning

Just as parents plan for a birth the moment they know they are expecting, software development begins with the conception of an idea. In both cases, this is a time of anticipation and preparation. Parents envision their child and dream about raising them, while software developers outline the core features and functionalities their product requires. These initial phases of Envision and Discovery set the foundation for what’s to come and require careful consideration of various factors, such as resources, timelines, and potential challenges. For a closer look at what this process looks like, especially for a Startup looking to disrupt an industry, read about our work with Dr. Treat.

Gestation and Development

Once the planning phase is complete, the real work can begin. You can think of pregnancy as akin to the development phase in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), where the product gradually takes shape. Like a fetus grows and develops within the womb, software undergoes iterations and refinements as teams write and publish code, design interfaces, and test functionalities. This phase is marked by significant progress, but it’s also a period of vulnerability, where unforeseen complications usually arise. If you are interested in learning more about how we make our magic, take a look at our work with DAA Enterprises creating a complex cloud-based application for the modern pharmacy.

Birth and Launch

The birth of a child is a cause for celebration, signaling the beginning of a journey for all involved. Similarly, the launch of a software product marks the culmination of months or even years of hard work. It’s a joyous time, but also one of anxiety as developers anticipate user feedback and prepare for potential challenges. Just as parents adjust their lives to the demands of caring for a newborn, developers must be prepared to address bugs, optimize performance, and adapt to user feedback post-launch. To learn more about how DOOR3 helps launch a new product, check out the exciting story of Leon Markets, a disruptor supermarket in Saudi Arabia.

Growth and Adaptation

As a child grows, parents must continually adapt to meet their evolving needs. Software development, similarly, doesn’t end at launch; it’s an ongoing process of growth and adaptation. Developers release updates and patches to address bugs, and add new features to maintain their competitive advantage. While parents seek guidance from pediatricians and parenting resources, developers rely on user testing, market research, and industry best practices to inform their decisions. If you are interested in learning more about life after launch, DOOR3 recently helped PepsiCo overcome their data management challenges to enhance their retail network.

Challenges and Milestones

Parenthood and software development are both rife with challenges, but the moments of joy and accomplishment far outweigh the stressors. From sleepless nights and teething troubles to successful product launches and positive user feedback, both journeys are marked by a mix of highs and lows, which in their navigation help us evolve and improve. What’s important is how parents and developers persevere in the face of adversity, learning from their mistakes and celebrating their achievements along the way. Explore more about overcoming adversity through this case study about how DOOR3 and AIG, a global insurance company, partnered to create a world-class interface to drive evidence-based decision making.

Teamwork and Support

Neither parenting nor software development is a solo endeavor. Both require teamwork and support from partners, family members, colleagues, and communities. Just as parents lean on each other for emotional and practical support, developers collaborate with designers, engineers, testers, and stakeholders to bring their vision to life. Building a strong support network is essential for navigating the challenges and uncertainties inherent in both journeys.

After All That

We can now understand that the parallels between parenting a newborn and the process of software development are undeniable and provide invaluable insights into both. Though different, they involve conception and planning, gestation and development, birth and launch, growth and adaptation, challenges and milestones, and, most importantly, teamwork and support. By recognizing these similarities, we gain a deeper appreciation for the complexities of both endeavors and the resilience required to see them through. Whether nurturing a child or a piece of software, the journey is fraught with challenges, but it’s also immensely rewarding for those who embark upon it with dedication, patience, and love.

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