229,000,000.

That’s the number of search results Google returns for “custom software development companies.” To state the obvious, there are certainly not 229 million customer software development companies in the world; however, there do seem to be over 200 million articles on this topic.

Before we go any further, let’s define software development.

“Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applications, frameworks, or other software components” (Wikipedia).

That’s a mouthful.

And definitely not a task for the faint of heart.

In this blog post, we’ll break down each component of custom software development while sharing how monday.com’s various templates and boards can help make streamline the entire process from roadmaps to dashboards.

Step #1: Build out a roadmap

A roadmap — if executed property — is your guide for the entire project. It’s the high-level overview of the what/who/when/where … everything that makes up your project.

A project roadmap is a one-page graphical overview that simplifies all the major elements of a project. It would typically include high-level milestones, key deliverables, objectives, potential risks, and an estimated timeline.

Here is what a roadmap looks like as a monday.com board:

Roadmap 2020

Download the free template here.

A good project roadmap defines the strategies guiding the project.

Typical components of a roadmap include, but are not limited to:

  • Project overview: a concise explanation of objectives, priorities, and goals
  • Key milestones: best guess dates of critical delivery deadlines
  • Project timelines: not overly detailed, but instead a high-level overview of when initiatives will begin and end
  • Dependencies: a brief summary of important relationships between key deliverables and activities
  • Main contacts: a list of key team members who will be involved in the project
  • Resource allocation: general labor and/or cost estimates

Use the monday.com Roadmap template (board) to plan and keep track of all of your major initiatives and milestones for each quarter.

Protip: To ensure the timing of your custom software development is spaced appropriately, switch your new board to the Timeline View. The Timeline View will make those (oops!) overlapping initiatives or times that your team is being underutilized very obvious.

Step #2: Save yourself time by adding automations

Automations are life savers.

Automations save time. Automations save money. Automations save frustration and headache!

monday.com automations are simple, customizable processes that you can create in just a few seconds — push notifications of specific updates, automatic actions that are taken once an action item is complete, and so on.

These automations use an event inside (i.e., a status change) to trigger an action (i.e, sending a notification). On the Roadmap board, we suggest adding the following automations:

Protip: We suggest taking advantage of our “automation recipes” — pre-defined combinations of triggers and actions.

Automation

Suggested automations when thinking about custom software development include:

  • Alerts when a task is in the “stuck” status
  • Notifications when a task is approaching the due date (or is overdue).

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Step #3: Plan. Plan. Plan. Sprint. Plan. Plan. Plan. Sprint!

Sprints are critical to keeping a project moving forward — especially when it comes to custom software development.

Sprints are ways to organize and deliver work, often used within the Scrum project management framework. Each sprint is a 1–4-week period where your team pushes everything aside to focus on a narrow list of tasks that’ll help achieve a desired outcome.

For a more detailed look at Sprints (and Scrums and Agile) check out our article on how to optimize sprint planning in 2021.

Not surprisingly, monday.com has a … wait for it … customizable template for Sprint Boards:

Sprint Board

This Sprint planning template helps teams keep track of the multitude of tasks in a longer Sprint and multiple Sprints at once. It also provides team members with a single point of reference to view which jobs they have been assigned, the estimated completion time, and which of those tasks are of greatest importance!

And with custom software development projects, this organization is critical to keeping teams on the same page … and moving (forward!) in the right direction.

Protip: Using the Workload View in the Sprint planning template helps to track each team member’s contribution and capacity by visualizing assignments.

Step #4: Put it all together by connecting your boards

Toggling between screens and browsers and tabs can be exhaustive — and certainly not efficient.

Imagine a world where everything you needed to manage your day (and your custom software development project) was in one place, on a single board.

No need to imagine! monday.com has you covered.

Connect Boards

Simply use the connect boards column and a mirror column to connect our two boards together. No need to toggle tabs or boards to see the full picture. Even better? An update on either board updates everywhere board you’ve linked.

Protip: Ensure all necessary boards are added before moving forward.

Step #5: Keep track of, the squash, those bugs

When you push out custom software, bugs are inevitable. All the planning and preparation in the world will not prevent the occasional hiccup. After all, it’s software AND humans. Mistakes happen.

That’s why having a way to track, manage (and then crush) software bugs is important.

The monday.com Bug Queue Board is your answer:

Bug Queue

This board is essential for managing a seamless bug reporting and resolution process. Use it to track new bug tickets from creation to resolution.

Protip: use the chart view to see a visual breakdown of data, specifically the status of the bugs assigned to each developer. Don’t forget to add automations too!

Step #6: Add your incident report board to the main board

Just like bugs, incidents happen — especially in custom software development.

monday.com’s Incident Management Board helps manage ongoing incidents all in one place. With all of the data you need to take action centralized in a single board, you won’t have trouble diagnosing and preventing future incidents.

Incident Report

Protip: Connect your team’s existing tools such as Jira, GitLab, or BugHerd, and they will automatically update your template and vice versa. You can also integrate CRM tools such as Salesforce, communication apps like Slack, and more. Check out all integrations here.

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Step #7: Keep track of your team’s availability

Software developers don’t always have set (or traditional) hours.

Middle of the night, early morning, weekends — schedules can be all over the board (no pun intended).

Add monday.com’s Weekly Shift Schedule board:

A simple to use, easy to understand, sharable weekly shift schedule (see above!) helps ensure “round the clock” coverage with full visibility into every team member’s schedule.

Bonus: This Board can be easily exported to Excel in one click. You can also import your Excel schedule into monday.com!

Take advantage of three key features of this Board:

  • Permissions: “Read-only” privileges mean everyone has access, but only a handful can actually edit the calendar.
  • Searchable: The search function makes it simple to see which shifts a specific employee has been allocated or what dates are (or are not) covered).
  • Custom labels: Our templates are just a starting point. Change the “employee #” labels to reflect the roles you need to be filled. Set daily time periods to reflect specific needs.

Protip: Use both the phone and email columns to get in contact with your developers quickly. Both columns operate seamlessly with your computer or phone’s default applications.

Step #8: Gain insight with full-board search capabilities

Roadmap: ✅
Templates & Boards: ✅
Automations: ✅
Connected Boards: ✅

You are ready to go. Firing on all cylinders. Your custom software development workflow is primed and polished. You’ve done the (setup) work.

Next up: Gleaning powerful insights.

We recommend using the Search Everything — literally one of the most useful features monday.com offers.

monday.com's Search Everything feature

Search Everything allows you to search for anything across all of your boards!

Want to filter which tasks are in the “stuck” status across all of your boards? Search Everything.
Want to check how much work your colleague has going on? Search Everything.
Want to see what’s on this week’s calendar? Search Everything.

Search for people, tags, files … you name it. You can even search your archives for that “long lost” conversation.

Protip: Have a favorite/commonly-used search? Save it and come back it as often as you’d like using the “saved search” feature.

[BONUS] Step #9: Try out monday.com today

Can you develop custom software without monday.com?

Of course you can … but that’s no fun. Who wants to make life HARDER?

Our final recommendation for streamlining the custom software development process is to use monday.com!

Sign up with monday.com today and grab your first template. We have a 14-day free trial … no credit card necessary.

You’ve got this.

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