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Home » The Software Development Roadmap: Your Guide to a Foundational Process

The Software Development Roadmap: Your Guide to a Foundational Process

In this article, we explain the main phases of the software development process. This workflow underpins nearly all software development, so understanding it is especially important.

Software Development Roadmap: The Big Picture

What is a roadmap in software development? It simply means an overview of the process, from gathering foundational information to deploying ready-to-use software.

If you partner with a software development firm or company to build your project, you won’t need to worry about how to create a roadmap for software development. A dependable development team will have a strong sense of familiarity with the concept and know how to follow this strategic plan.

Is your organization considering building a custom software project? Are you looking to gain a better understanding of what that process looks like? Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out this software development roadmap example:

software development

Now that you have a visual, let’s talk about what each of these stops on the software development roadmap means. Read on to get a better understanding of the software development process from start to finish.

Discovery & Requirements

Discovery is an information-gathering process that digs deep into the details of what is important to your business, target audience, and industry.  It takes everything from general business goals to the specific intent of the software into account.

The discovery process will differ from project to project, but the results are the same: invaluable information. The more information you gather, interpret, and comprehend, the more prepared you will be to begin your custom software project.

When the discovery phase is over, you should be left with a list of requirements that allow you to step back and look at the project from the outside in. Then, you can determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs — and if you can get what you want from the software you’re proposing.


In the design phase, the requirements will be broken down further. This supports accurate forecasting of the project’s timeline and helps to estimate the level of effort and amount of resources needed.

During this phase, you’ll also want to identify any specific designs and workflows for the application. You may want to design specific pages and provide more details aboutof what will be created.

If the application will be data driven, you need to discuss what database(s) will be used and create a data model. You also want to identify what tools and software will be used to create the application. Once the software design phase is complete, active development can begin.

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The largest amount of time in software development is spent coding the application. It simply takes time to develop effective, reliable, and secure software. Once the system is designed and the technical foundation is decided, development can start.

The development efforts are typically broken down into sprints. At the end of each sprint, you can view their growing and changing software and give feedback to the developers.

A good software firm will keep you engaged in the entire development process, making sure you get exactly what you want. This avoids unpleasant surprises further along in the software development roadmap.


Depending on your project, there is a variety of testing that could and should be used. 

All projects should undergo end-to-end testing and user acceptance testing. End-to-end testing is using all the features and functions of a system as a user would. During development, features are tested in isolation but not as a unified whole.

Once all of the software is developed, an end-to-end test exercises the system holistically. This allows the tester to compare what was built to the original specifications and any changes in design made along the way.

A user acceptance test (UAT) is a period of time when you use the system and sign off on the development. Consider it like a final walkthrough of your software.


Once all of these phases are complete, you’re ready to launch your new software. If this is brand-new software, it can be deployed all at once. If this is a feature update, just deploy the specific changes made to the software.

Now, sit back and enjoy your new software. It’s been carefully and purposefully developed to address your needs and meet your business objectives.

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