software development blueprint

What is Blueprint in Software Development?

Software development is not a sprint. It is a marathon. 

Like marathons, software development has several rules too. A blueprint is a single diagram that rules the entire software development process.

We can even compare a software development blueprint to something similar to constructing a building. Raising a building from scratch requires having a plan. Architects refer to such a plan as a blueprint. It is an intricate plan of the building that is going to be constructed and is enriched with minute details including measurements, materials used, etc. 

In software parlance, a blueprint is the high-level plan or outline depending on which the end product, that is the software, is going to build. It specifies the technical specifications, and the resources necessary for creating the software or even act as a template depending on which more software products will develop. Further, the end product created using the blueprint would also work and perform as per user requirements and expectations. 

Let’s summarize the software development blueprint in two ways:

  • High-level documentation, either in written or graphical form, or both that outlines the architecture is useful to create the software
  • A piece of code or a template for software development that acts as a guide for the developers

From the above description, it is evident that a software development blueprint goes a long way in accelerating software releases. 

Why is a software blueprint necessary?

Software development is a complex process. There are many stakeholders whose requirements may not get properly communicated or even if understood are interpreted wrongly resulting in creation of the wrong software. 

This illustration from the Project Management Association of Canada explains the situation aptly. 

project management

A software blueprint eliminates all possible miscommunication and misunderstandings that can derail the project. It gives certainty to the deliverables and unifies all efforts towards the end goal that the customer wants from the software development team. 

The proven benefits of the software development blueprint

Let’s take a closer look at some of the other expenses that the blueprint can offer:

  • Gives directions to developers
  • Stipulates technical specifications
  • Determines a timeline
  • Ensures quality control

Gives directions to developers

Software development is the culmination of efforts by several software developers, QA professionals, UI/UX designers, project managers, and so on. These stakeholders, especially the software developers need a direction before they can kickstart the development process.

They need clear guidance on which software development framework is to be used, the choice of programming language, the programming benchmarks to be followed and so on. A software development blueprint specifies all of this and acts as a single source of truth for developers. This helps in reducing the number of cycles required for planning, implementing, and reiterating the software development process.

Stipulates technical specifications

As mentioned earlier, the purpose of a software development blueprint is to offer a high-level plan for software design and development. As a result, it is also the document that specifies the technical specifications that needs to follow. It communicates the implementation requirements that developers have to adhere to while developing logic and code for the software.

For example, in an app development project, the blueprint may specify what the user will do in the home screen and which functionalities may have to be developed to suit that purpose. It will also specify the interaction the user will be having with the screen and the next action they will be taking. All this helps the developers create the software logic with perfection. 

Determines a timeline

Perhaps, the biggest benefit of a software development blueprint is that it determines a timeline for deliverables. It ensures that all the stakeholders involved in the software development exercise have a time-bound responsibility to deliver. All the efforts exerted will be time-bound and focused towards achieving the goal of a sprint, that is if Agile methodology is used. 

Ensures quality control

The blueprint puts in writing the exact requirement that the software code has to achieve. As a result, it ensures that the software performs in accordance with preset expectations. It acts as a precursor to the quality assurance process which usually follows the development stage. If the development process adheres to quality checks during the development stage, the quality control process becomes easier and more efficient. Ultimately, this help in timely delivery of the completed software.

What does a software blueprint include?

A typical software blueprint includes:

  • The business cases
  • Project charter
  • Requirements gathering
  • Project planning

The business cases

The business logic behind the development of software. What objectives are it trying to meet? What goals will it pursue? How to evaluate the business success of the software?

Project charter

The project charter is the ruling document that defines the scope of the project, its objectives, and the stakeholders. It will contain the essential information that will be the context for the rest of the activities. 

Requirements gathering

The current business process, business requirements, desired, technical specifications, use cases, and so on. Basically, what the client wants the piece of software or code to do.

Project Plan

The timeline for the project, the different phases into which the project plan is divided, the stakeholders and their roles and responsibilities, etc. 

In a nutshell

With this information, we can be certain that a software development blueprint is a precursor to the actual task of software development. It makes the objectives of software development explicit, ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page as to deliverables, ensures that there is a timeline attached to all tasks and that objectives are being met. In short, the blueprint minimizes risk in project execution and improves efficiency.

Perfomatix | Product Engineering Services Company