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5 Deadly Sins of Software Development

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Software development refers to a process of designing, programming, developing, testing, deploying, and supporting software. Developing new software can be a really complex task. The complexity of software development can cause a developer to get overwhelmed with the development process resulting in grave mistakes or sins as which are referred to in this blog. These sins deteriorate the quality of the software due to which companies can lose trillions of dollars. In 2020, as per the CISQ report, the US companies faced a loss of a whopping $2.08 trillion due to their software quality issues.  


These mistakes have not only cost organizations trillions of dollars but also weeks, months (and even years in some cases), merely over simple things that could’ve been handled in a much easier and more effective manner. Most of these sins can be prevented by following a pragmatic approach towards development. Read the entire blog to understand and avoid the most obvious mistakes that developers make.  

So, here are the 5 deadly software development sins that you shouldn’t commit:

1. Not Testing The Code

This is one of the most overlooked sins in the software development space. If you want to add a new feature or just write code without actually testing them, it could put the software in peril. Every smart developer irrespective of hierarchy or experience writes a test. Software is not completely built unless it is developed and tested. Software bugs require immediate heed to rectify.  

Improper or no testing could become a considerable expense for you in several ways.  

  • These expenses can comprise extra work hours and loss of profits by software downtime. 
  • If the bugs give a substandard experience to even one user, it can result in a snowball effect.
  • This can cascade negatively and people can share these experiences on social media, which can tarnish the reputation of the brand and the brand is prone to face grave losses.

The most ideal way to test software is by navigating through the system in a non-standard manner, pushing incorrect buttons, and entering wrong information. If any error arises, it is a crystal clear indication to fix the bugs. But if everything goes well (which rarely happens), you’re good to go. Remember – Prevention is better than cure!  

To understand more in-depth about software testing basics click here.

2. Naming A Variable/Function Improperly

Amateur software developers are the prominent individuals who commit this sin. They tend to name something x, y, or something else. Unless they are actual coordinates, it is indeed erroneous to name your functions improperly. It can cause chaos and consume a big chunk of your time when you need the proper variables.  

Bad variable naming distills down to bad state modeling. There’s indeed a certain limit for the number of variables people can handle in terms of a program, function, or class. Hence, this is the reason why abstraction is so critical to software engineering. You may have to come up with several transitory variable names to depict intermediate states of the program. But at the end of the day, following the practice to name your variables correctly can save you countless disastrous turmoil in the future.

3. Not Using The Source Control Management  

Source control embodies tracking and management of changes to code with an entire history of the changes. Having source control management is an important function to maintain a robust system. It helps you keep a track of changes you made and why you made them.  

If you are someone who is neglecting the value of SCM, you are wasting hours or even days. How? You may ask.  

If you have the exact information of what made you change a code, you have an unparalleled edge over those who don’t keep track. You can fix bugs deftly and along with this, you can decrease the risk of mistakes as there is zero human involvement. Now you also cannot forget to copy a major file. The ease of deployment surges substantially and catalyzes development cycles. The SCM also provides a brief overview of the code that needs to be changed that causes any bug. So you should use source control management regardless of being a solo developer or being in a team of developers.  

4. Not Comprehending The WHY Of Software  

Curating software from a translation of codes that is executable by a computer and understandable by a human is not an easy task. Before jumping on the development tools, you must devote a fixed timeframe to understand your client’s business. Dig deep enough and understand HOW exactly is the software going to impact the workflow of the organization and the end-users. By doing so, you’ll get more clarity on what to work on and more importantly, what not to work on. Every software developer who has attained significant success will tell you to understand the resulting benefit of the software. This will allow you to only focus on stuff that holds value, while preemptively eliminating the most obvious changes that the client’s review team would recommend.  

So the next time you sit in front of your computer for a new software project, go through the project’s brief to comprehend the WHY of the software before you begin coding.  

5. Overloading The Software With Excessive Features  

Making the software eloquent and interactive for the user is what every developer strives for. But while doing so, you must take care that you don’t add too many features, which could eventually overwhelm the user. This is because a confused mind denies everything. He or she finds it easier to leave the overwhelming software rather than exploring and using it, which is the last thing you want.  

To tackle the issue of multiple features, you can opt to integrate micro-niche features or better yet remove the features with lesser value. You may say that this is not the best choice, but the only thing you are doing here is reducing the excess friction built in the system. That’s because you are discarding the features to make the system simpler and easier to learn. If the system becomes intuitive, more and more people are going to engage and spread the word about the software. Focusing on the features that are important to users is what matters.  

Bonus: Dealing with clients and constantly incorporating changes in the program can be exhaustive and we understand it. Fatigue can take its toll and can drastically affect your health.  

Here are a few tips you can follow to avoid burnout:

  • Take a walk or stretch at least once in a working hour to refresh yourself.
  • Prioritize working out at least half an hour or more on a daily to attain good physical health.
  • Follow a pragmatic checklist to avoid wasting time on unnecessary things and to drive energy to the only things that matter.

To get more information about the tips and tricks to avoid burnout click here.

Last Updated : 27 Feb, 2022
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