What’s the fuss about software factories?

The Netflixes and Facebooks of the world swear by the golden standard of shipping software fast and often: the software factory. We, the admiring public, know this works because we have incorporated their apps into our lifestyles. We have seen first-hand how fast they deployed and how effectively they managed new features, bug fixes, security, and scaling.

The term software factory may have been thrown around once or twice during your mobile application development planning sessions. While much of the industry has turned agile, the transition from a waterfall mindset is still ongoing, and software factory is still a relatively new approach — one that we at Stratpoint, a seasoned software development service provider, recommend.

What is a software factory?

A software factory pertains to the factory approach to application development: rapid, efficient, and automated. It aligns with a true DevOps environment, where software developers collaborate seamlessly with IT operations.

A software factory is more than just a team of developers and testers. They own interrelated assets that they unbox and use for every project, such as the following:

  • Recipes. Just like a food factory, a software factory would have automated processes for routine tasks. Developers can perform the tasks with little to no input.
  • How-to topics. The procedures and instructions on how tasks will be completed.
  • Templates. Ready-to-use application components, code, and features, including placeholders for arguments. Projects are jump started with these.
  • Reusable code. Common functionalities across applications that developers reuse to avoid manually coding the entire project.
  • Designers. Tools for developers to tackle more complex design hierarchies.
  • Factory schema. Documentation of assets used to build and maintain a system, including relationships among them.
  • Architecture guidance and patterns. Explains the decisions made in application design and the motivations behind them.
  • Reference implementation. An example of a realistic and completed product.

A software factory standardizes, automates, and scales business processes. Just like any production line, a software factory maintains quality standards and volume output metrics, making quality, increment, and supply and demand predictable and more manageable. 

Why a software factory?

For companies

A software factory can hit the ground running as soon as an idea for an app drops. Gone are the days when every time the business proposes an idea for an application, it would take 6 months to defend and approve the project and source the developers. Then it would take another 6 to 12 months to build software. By the time the software is ready, the market has shifted their attention to another trend. With a software factory having templates, automations, and reusable codes at hand, a brand can respond to customer needs before their competition does. 

For developers

A factory approach benefits developers too. Because much of the activities are automated, the developers are relieved of the burden of routine tasks that don’t do much for their professional development. Now, the team can learn and pay more attention to delivering business value, design, security, and new technologies, among others. They can acquire new knowledge and skills that they will apply to the next projects, continuously improving output.

For companies that outsource development

For companies that outsource development, they can fully leverage the service provider’s skills, expertise, and experience from past implementations. Accountability becomes clearer as well, with the highly technical responsibilities being addressed by the service provider and with the hiring company having more focus on bringing value to the market.

We can help you start today

If you are interested in starting a software factory practice — or hiring a team — we’ll be happy to be your guide! Stratpoint has been in the business of software development for decades, servicing clients in the Philippines, Asia, and Silicon Valley, so we operate based on best practices we acquired from all over the world. To request a consultation, email us at hello@stratpoint.com.

June 10, 2021

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