What are the key software development principles?

Inez Bartosińska

With the increasing technological advancement, customers’ demands are growing too, which is why we can notice a significant development of all the banking systems we use daily. For example, users require access to a wide range of payment options and fast, hassle-free transactions when making a purchase. “Good, reliable, and experienced.” That’s how every software development company describes its engineers. But what does ‘good’ really mean? What are the critical software development principles which should lead the way during the process? Read the article to find the answer to this and other questions.

What is the main aim of software engineering?

As you can guess, the fundamental task of software engineers is to develop solutions, discover faults, and attempt to fix them. It is mainly about coding, but is it only about that? Delivering unique projects requires much more contribution. A software engineer is someone who has to design, build, construct, implement and maintain things that have some predictable utility. In the ideal world, engineers work the agile way and deliver products on time and within budget. Obviously, that’s not always the case. With unexpected technical or communication issues emerging during product development, software engineers must overcome a rash of obstacles. Their goal is to be more effective and efficient at what they do and minimize the risks. Thus, over the years of work, software developers were able to come up with some basic principles that help them achieve this goal. 

What are the basic principles of software process change?

As we already know the general idea of how a software engineer job, let’s now dig deeper into basic software development principles and practices. 

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

One of the most common principles is called KISS (and it’s not the rock band!), or Keep It Simple, Stupid is exactly as it sounds. You should always keep your programming as simple and clear as possible. It will streamline future work on the code as it will be much easier to modify, debug and maintain. There is no point in adding another tool, method, process, or class if its only functionality will reflect in increased complexity. Even though simple may seem ‘too simple,’ it will be good enough. 

YAGNI (You Aren’t Gonna Need It)

You Aren’t Gonna Need It principle is once again about keeping the code simple. To be exact, while developing software, you should always add only those features which are necessary at this particular point. So even though it’s super tempting to tweak your app, focus on essentials first, as many of the features you thought were useful will be unnecessary. Trust me, it’s much easier to add more options in the latter development stages than wrangle over code debugging. 

Measure Twice and Cut Once

If you are wondering which of those basic principles you should implement in the first place, it’s this one. Before you jump into developing functionalities, you must first understand what the problem is, which approach to choose and what tools are suitable for the task. Moreover, you need to gather a team and decide on metrics that will enable you to control the final solution’s quality. If you double-check the project’s requirements, you can easily avoid making mistakes such as adding unnecessary features or skipping some of them. Finally, test everything systematically. It will save you valuable time. 

DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself)

App maintenance is a part of the development process which you might not focus on while building your product. However, this step is essential to keep it running smoothly at all times. To make your life easier, don’t repeat yourself while writing a code. Copy-pasting, even though it might be tempting to do, brings more harm than good. It could significantly impede future maintenance as even while introducing seemingly slight alterations, you would have to make changes in every place you copied a part of the code. Instead, make sure every piece of data has its single reference point and create separate methods if needed. 

Key principles of lean software development

Getting to know some basic principles of software design, we’ve learned that you should always attempt to keep your code as simple as possible (KISS) and make sure that you only add those functionalities that are necessary in this particular moment (YAGNI). Also, before you start creating, it would be perfect if you focused on determining the right problem and the method and tools to solve it (Measure Twice and Cut Once). Finally, remember to avoid any copy-pasting in the development process as it will handicap future product maintenance (DRY). Obviously, there is more to it, and technical tips are not the only ones to follow. Taking the lean approach can streamline your work too. So, let’s see what’s that all about. 

The lean approach in software development is based on Agile methodology. Not so long ago, managers used to organize their work differently. The traditional “waterfall” planning involved making a big plan, and it didn’t anticipate any changes in the process. Now, product owners are more likely to lean toward a completely different approach. In an agile way, you focus on responding to changes. Project objectives are presented to all team members, and the workflow takes the form of short time frames called “iterations”. It enables greater flexibility as you can react quickly in case there is any change of plans. 

Moreover, as the market is changing faster than we know it, the agile approach implies that feedback should be gathered straight from end-users on a regular basis. This way, the product’s design answers customers’ needs directly. 

Finally, one of the agile principles focuses on interactions between people rather than tools and processes. It has been proved that effective communication can enhance a team’s productivity over 50 times. In a good team and great environment, you can quickly build trust and create unique projects. Thus, frequent meetings and daily statuses are the natural part of this approach. 

What are the benefits of flexible agile development

The agile approach to software development is very flexible. It can improve your team’s work, save your money and time, and bring business value. There are many advantages of such a system. Let’s read about some of them. 

  • Responsive management 

Undeniably, one of the most significant agile development benefits is that it takes a very flexible approach to work during the whole process. As the project roadmap is divided into many smaller parts, managers can introduce changes easily, and it won’t affect the work that has been done so far. As for software developers, it means that if there is a need to alter some app’s functionalities, they don’t have to start writing the code from scratch. Few adjustments will do the job. 

  • Building customer-focused products 

Among the lean software development principles, there is a rule that products should be focused on end-users. It’s logical as to create a successful offering, you have to make sure your customers need it and have a pleasant experience while exploiting it. Thus, it’s normal to involve customers in the agile approach during all stages of the app development. Swift communication between all parties ensures that you won’t spend hours building something that won’t bring business value. 

  • Early delivery of the product 

Agile methodology implies quick delivery of the product. In the beginning, it doesn’t even have to be a fully functional application. You can start by launching an MVP and then keep improving. What is important is that the product will see the light of the day, and it will respond to some of the end-users needs. The market is changing very quickly, and to stay relevant, it’s crucial to find solutions to emerging problems fast. Moreover, by early delivery of the product, you make sure the client is satisfied with your services as instead of waiting for a few months with no clue how the development is going, he can see its result in real-time. 


The key software development principles are something every software engineer should be familiar with. Implementing at least one of those rules can significantly improve the daily work and overall product development process at all stages. However, it is also important to remember that it is impossible to always fully comply with all of those principles in practice. For starters, if you focus on one of them, you might notice that you violated others. It’s not something that you should be worried about, though! That’s the natural order of things. Moreover, you might find some of the rules pretty subjective and even though you might be good at what you do, you don’t have to ‘know it all’. Wrapping up, you should know the key software development principles and adhere to them, but you must strive for that sweet spot of balance between them.

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