Drew Barontini

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Phases of Building Software

We’re in the fourth week of development on a new 0-1 product. My initial excitement is transforming into pressure to meet the design standards I expect.

Despite using technologies that provide a solid design foundation, our current UI does not reflect the final product’s aesthetics. While I’m tempted to jump in and refine the UI immediately, I understand the importance of timing in the development process. It reminds me of the sequential phases of constructing a house, each stage requiring deliberate attention and completion before proceeding to the next.

Software development follows a similar pattern with distinctive phases:

Phase 1: Foundation — This first phase involves laying down the groundwork: establishing the codebase, infrastructure, and deployment pipelines. It serves as the backbone on which the entire project will stand. This is the concrete foundation.

Phase 2: Framing — Comparable to constructing the core structure of a house (wood framing and drywall), this phase focuses on developing essential functionality such as authentication, primary screens, and basic operations (e.g. CRUD functionality).

Phase 3: Finishing — Just like adding the final touches to a house like painting and flooring, this phase introduces initial design elements, enhancing its appearance and usability.

Phase 4: Furnishing — In this phase, functionality is further developed, resembling the process of adding furniture and appliances to a home. It improves the look and feel of the product, setting a solid foundation for subsequent improvements.

Phase 5: Decorating — The final phase is for the art and personal touches. These are the details that bring a product (and home) to life. It’s the personality, the “feel” of the product: the animation and interactions.

Just as each phase in constructing a house is essential, so are the stages in software development. Understanding where you are in the process helps align your efforts to the activities that match the phase you’re in.