During my studies, a tutor of mine shared that skilled programmers focus on fulfilling present requirements, whereas exceptional programmers consider the future. This advice may not seem relevant when working on a one-time project for an undergraduate computer science course that will not be used again.
With experience in software development, I have come to appreciate my professor’s advice. In every software development project, the primary goal is to translate an idea into a functional solution for a specific problem. There is no set answer, as the program and its surrounding environment continue to evolve, necessitating ongoing adjustments and adaptations.
You may have heard of WordStar, a highly popular software released in the 1970s and used extensively until the year 2000. While considered outdated now, it was a well-designed software. Interestingly, it remains famous in popular culture because George R.R. Martin, the author of “A Game of Thrones,” still uses it.
WordStar exemplifies the evolution of software over time. It was originally developed to fulfill a specific need, and it continues to do so. However, its usage has become more complicated on modern hardware, and it no longer contains the features that are now standard in most software programs.
A software product can never be truly ‘finished.’ For instance, if the source code of a WordStar application is ported to a newer computer, it may not run efficiently on the faster hardware without optimization. Moreover, if the program needs to be backed up on a floppy disk, a significant amount of effort may be needed to bring the software up to current standards.
While designing new software, it is important to consider its long-term implications. Our approach involves incorporating scalability by structuring the software into modules, documenting our progress to simplify future maintenance, offering high-quality documentation to enable users to resolve issues independently, and developing the software with auditing in mind.
What is Meant by Auditability?
Auditability refers to the ability of an audit to produce dependable outcomes with minimal effort. Although primarily linked to financial matters, it can be applied in any circumstance where information about a company is required. Our operations are open to both internal and external audits. Companies and government organisations conduct audits for various purposes, such as ensuring compliance with regulations and identifying areas that can be improved with the help of consultancy services.
Which stages of the software development process can be examined?
- The Outcomes of Software
- Data on the Users
- Modifications in the Development Cycle
- Secure Storage of User Data and Controlled Access
- Compliance with Local and Global Regulations
While it may be nearly impossible for developers to anticipate every potential scenario, following fundamental principles can enhance auditability.
Incorporating documentation as a crucial component of your software development life cycle (SDLC) is vital. Comprehensive documentation can assist in reducing project time if work needs to be resumed after an extended hiatus or in the event of an audit, providing dual benefits.
Documentation aims to act as a reference for introducing the product and offering an understanding of the development team’s thought process for all stakeholders, including auditors. While I have reservations about R, I appreciate that the majority of R libraries provide a citation to the relevant scholarly paper containing the equation, which simplifies the review process for academics.
Essentiality of Documentation and Replication of Data Maintenance
Keeping a record of the development process, including significant dates, meeting notes, and methodology used to determine prioritization of stories, is critical. This record can offer valuable insights into the proceedings.
Maintaining comprehensive records of problematic projects is crucial to analyze progress and spot any issues that may have arisen. Documentation can also offer insights into the factors that led to a project’s success, which can be utilized to enhance future endeavours.
Some tools boast impressive record-keeping capabilities. For instance, Amazon and Azure are incredibly useful for predicting and monitoring expenses, providing a comprehensive overview of costs. It is advisable to take advantage of these functionalities.
Consider Legal Terminology
Developing a product that complies with all requisite standards demands significant effort. When acquiring external resources, maintaining a comprehensive record of relevant licenses and their restrictions, including open-source software, is critical. Keep in mind that having more customers in your office than authorized by the license could lead to issues in the future.
Special care should be taken when handling user data. It is crucial to understand the intricacies of maintaining user privacy and acquaint oneself with the GDPR procedure. Additionally, it is recommended to incorporate features in your code that allow others to verify compliance with legal requirements.
Cultivate an Environment Conducive to Audits
Having participated in several audits, I understand how disquieting it can be to have an external party scrutinize your work, particularly when they are unfamiliar with the software development process. Regrettably, this kind of scenario is all too pervasive and has played a role in fostering the unfavorable perception of audits and auditors held by many.
It is evident that adopting the methods outlined above could yield considerable benefits for you, your team, and the project as a whole. Proper preparation is crucial for an efficient audit. It is advisable to devote time and energy at the outset to ensure that all documentation is of high quality, all work is meticulously documented, and all pertinent laws and regulations are adhered to. Your team will appreciate the emphasis placed on these critical aspects.
Develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that align with the requirements for passing audits and offer bonuses and incentives to encourage positive behavior. This approach will allow the team to internalize these behaviors, and upon successfully completing the audit, they will recognize the benefits of this approach.
An Innovative Approach
Despite popular belief, software development is a collaborative endeavor. It is critical to take into account the viewpoints of those we collaborate with, such as our superiors, customers, and other stakeholders, to ensure the final product is of excellent quality. We must devise tools that facilitate communication between ourselves and these external entities, promoting productive dialogue and feedback throughout the process. This will allow us to deliver a finished product that meets the required standards.