Full Cycle Software Development in 2023: Team, Process, and Pitfalls

2666 Updated 08.15.2023
Yuriy Matviyuk

Development Tech Lead


Table of contents

Before creating a digital product, you need to find the right development approach first. Full cycle software development is just one of the many options and we are here to tell you more about it!

Overview of the Full Cycle Software Development in 2023

In a nutshell, full-cycle software development is a development methodology where a development team handles the whole product development cycle from concept formation to deployment and maintenance. Typically, the process consists of five to seven stages that we will discuss further in this guide.

In 2023, more and more brands opt for a full-cycle development methodology due to a number of reasons. First and foremost, this methodology enables you to get a full-staffed team that has all the expertise and skills needed to turn your idea into a full-fledged product. Also, this methodology ensures the excellent quality of the end product as it is being implemented by a single team where all specialists are on the same page.

In this guide, we are going to tell you more about full cycle software development and everything associated with it.

Full Cycle Software Development From Concept to Completion [Step-by-Step Guide]

Step 1: Concept Formulation

Before you kick off your project, you need to develop a solid concept. At this point, you should already have an idea of your product. However, while an idea is a very rough and broad mental construct, a concept is a more refined construct.

In order to formulate a concept, you need to define what you want to achieve with your product and what value you want to deliver to the end user. Also, you need to conduct thorough research to create a proof of concept, aka test its feasibility, outline how it can become market-ready, who your target audience is, and how your product will function.

Simply put, during the concept formulation stage you need to ensure that your idea is realistic and achievable and give it a more specific, refined shape.

Step 2: Requirements Gathering

Once you have a clear concept, you need to delve deeper into detail and identify the requirements for your project. Typically, the requirements gathering process consists of six steps:

  • First, you need to identify all relevant stakeholders, including decision-makers, users, sales, marketing, customer support, partners, etc. In a nutshell, stakeholders are all people who might be affected by your software development project, including those who will use the end product, who will promote and sell it, etc.
  • Next, you need to outline your project’s core goals and objectives. These should include the broader business goals, such as the revenue you want to generate with the help of your future product, and narrower objectives, such as what outcomes your end users will receive.
  • The next stage involves eliciting requirements from your stakeholders. Basically, your goal is to define what every stakeholder or group will want to see in/get from your product. The most common and time-tested tools for eliciting requirements are interviews, questionnaires, and surveys.
  • After you have a clear vision of what your project should look like, you have to compile all the requirements in clear and detailed documents.
  • At this point, you want to get clear not only on what your product will look like and how it will function but also on such details as development speeds, timelines, resources, costs, etc.
  • After documenting your requirements, you need to confirm them with your key stakeholders to ensure that you didn’t miss out on anything important.
  • Finally, you need to prioritize your requirements and identify the things that matter the most.

Step 3: Software Architecture Selection

In software, the term architecture is used to describe the design of the primary components of complicated information systems, as well as how they interact with each other.

When it comes to choosing the right architecture, of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Ideally, it should be selected based on your organization’s unique needs, capabilities, requirements, and resources. Yet, to give you a fast start, here are the five most common architecture patterns:

  • Layered (n-tier) pattern;
  • Event-driven pattern;
  • Microkernel pattern;
  • Microservices pattern;
  • Space-based (cloud) pattern.

Step 4: Software Design, User Experience & Interface Planning

After you finalize the scope, requirements, and other details of your process, that’s where the fun part begins. Before you can have your code implemented, you need professional UX and UI designers to bring your ideas to life and implement the interface and user experience design for your software.

The key task at this stage is to create a design that looks and feels good at all levels. It should be neat and appealing and, at the same time, offer exceptional usability and experiences.

Step 5: Full Cycle Software Development Process

After UI and UX designers complete their work, your developers will start implementing the code. They will apply the programming languages and tools determined by your tech stack to create a product that suits your requirements and brings tangible value.

If you decide to hire an external development team, opting for full cycle software development is the wisest choice. This way you will know that the entire project is handled by the same team and that you and the developers are staying on the same page.

Step 6: Testing, Deployment & Maintenance

When the coding part is done, it’s time for QA. Regardless of the project type and scope, every product needs thorough testing and quality assurance before deployment. This is needed to ensure that the final product is bug-free and matches all requirements.

Finally, when the product is tested and polished, it can be deployed across the selected platforms. A professional development team should help you make this process smooth and effective.

And after your product is deployed, you need to establish an effective maintenance procedure to keep your product relevant and high-quality. Please note that maintenance is an ongoing process that can last indefinitely, so you really need a loyal and dedicated development team to help you on this one.

Northell Experience in Full Cycle Software Development


Full Cycle Software Development

Northell is a top-rated software development company that helps companies develop world-class digital products with ease.

Being on the market since 2019, we’ve gained vast experience in all areas of software development across various industries. Our team boasts 100+ successfully completed projects. The positive reviews from our customers and high ratings at trusted platforms like Clutch and Trustpilot prove our reliability and professionalism.

So if you are looking for a full cycle software development partner, look no further because Northell can deliver a custom, end-to-end solution that will meet and exceed your expectations!

Full Cycle Software Development Trends That Will Define 2023

Cloud Computing

Industry leaders are investing heavily in cloud transformation. This trend is definitely worth following as it leverages agility, better speed, and greater scalability in the modern environment.

Expansion of IoT

With the rise of smart appliances, IoT became mainstream. In 2023, this trend will expand so more companies will focus on IoT-centered development to scale.


This technology became widely known thanks to cryptocurrencies and digital art, but next year we expect to see more facets of blockchain and stick to this trend in software development.

Microservices Architecture

This trend basically implies breaking software functionality into smaller manageable sectors instead of building one best service. The big perk is that your software continues functioning even if one of the microservices goes down.

AI Adoption

Of course, AI remains one of the p[redominant industry trends as we expect the global artificial intelligence market to grow rapidly in 2023. Thus, AI-based software segments will be thriving.

Technologies Required for Full Cycle Software Development

Now that you know what the process is made of, let’s discover the main technologies required to make your full-cycle development project successful.

Tech Stacks

A tech stack is a predetermined set of programming languages and tools that developers will use to create a product according to your concept and requirements. A good tech stack should match the unique needs of your project. Then it will allow you to avoid serious programming mistakes, ensure data security, and save time and money.


In full cycle software development, a framework is a tool that empowers developers with ready-made solutions and components that can be customized later. Frameworks are used to speed up the development process and save your team’s time.


Regardless of type, every software has lots of data. In order to store, organize, and manage this data effectively, you need to use reliable databases.


In a nutshell, software protocols define the organization of a dialog between different computer systems. It defines the structure and states of messages that need to be transmitted between systems in order to achieve certain goals.

Data Storages

This technology has a number of applications in software development. Data storages allow storing data for new objects, accessing data of existing objects, altering existing data, and removing data that is no longer relevant.

The Main Challenges of Full Cycle Software Development

Deciding to engage in full-cycle development, you need to know not only about the biggest trends and tips but also about the biggest challenges.

Here are some of the problems facing companies in a course of full-cycle development:

Inexperienced team

Developing a product from concept to completion is a long, tedious, and complicated process with lots of hidden pitfalls and variables. In order to handle it successfully, a team needs extensive knowledge, skills, and experience. Thus, if the team lacks experience, ensuring the timely and successful completion of the project is nearly impossible.

Wrong Technologies

Technologies play a pivotal role in every stage of software development. If you choose the wrong ones, the velocity of the entire project will be at a huge risk. Also, the choice of the wrong technology stack can also affect the quality of the end product.

Highly Complex Architecture

Architectural complexity can arise due to a variety of reasons, including your project’s focus, design ability, organizational structure, etc. However, if your architecture turns out to be too complex, it can harm the process and extend the product’s time to market.

Simple architectures, on the contrary, are much easier to communicate, build, deploy, evolve, and operate. Thus, when getting into software development, you should embrace architectural simplicity.

Security Gaps

This challenge is rather all-encompassing. Security gaps can be present across every stage of the full-cycle development and lead to a variety of issues. Namely, having gaps in security can make your code and sensitive data vulnerable to external threats. So it’s vital to be able to realize and mitigate security risks.

Unclear Project Scope

Finally, another common issue facing full-cycle projects is a lack of requirements and understanding of the scope. Every successful project starts with careful planning and identifying the scope. Without this, the process will be tiring, time-consuming, and ineffective.

Northell Tips on How to Make Full Cycle Software Development Successful

Thanks to our vast experience in full cycle software development for various industries and verticals, the team of Northell knows exactly what it takes to build an excellent product.

Here are a few winning tips based on our experts’ experiences:

Define Best Practices and Follow Trends

Based on our experience, applying software development best practices is a surefire way to optimize the entire development process and make it more productive. Moreover, well-defined best practices help make a code that’s easier to work with and modify in the future.

As for industry trends, they come and go. However, following the major ones is a must to stand out from the crowd and make your product future-proof.

Develop Gradually

First of all, developing your product gradually, in short cycles, gives you more visibility and control over the process. Your professionals will focus on one smaller goal at a time, thus, delivering better outcomes and progressing through the project faster.

Apart from this, gradual development will let you keep an eye on the quality of the product. This way, you will be able to notice mistakes and weaknesses faster and improve them along the way. As a result, you have a better quality of product, higher efficiency, and shorter time to market too.

Focus on User Experience

User experience is paramount in 2022 and will remain so in 2023 as well. According to studies, 88% of users will likely not return to a website with poor UX. A similar situation can be seen in software and apps – 90% of users report that they stopped using a product because of a bad experience.

Therefore, if you want your product to survive the competition and attain set objectives, you have to put user experience first.

Use Agile Methodology

We’ve already told you about the benefits of gradual development. Now, the Agile methodology makes it possible by letting your team work in shorter cycles, with a focus on continuous improvement.

There are many reasons to use Agile. Namely, it’s proven to boost performance, project versatility, and customer satisfaction. Also, Agile methodology helps teams respond to market dynamics more efficiently and successfully complete their projects.

Apply the MVP Approach

Building a minimum viable product first has plenty of benefits. First and foremost, it lets you minimize the development costs as the initial version of the product will only contain the must-have functionality. Secondly, when you release further iterations of your products, you can build a customer fanbase, learn from your mistakes, and make the end product better.

How to Choose a Full Cycle Software Development Partner

How to Choose a Full Cycle Software Development Partner

How to Choose a Full Cycle Software Development Partner

When you decide to team up with a professional full-cycle development team, it can feel rather overwhelming and challenging to choose the right partner among hundreds of options.

Here are a few tips that will help you make the right choice:

Check Their Portfolio

The very first thing you want to check and assess is the quality of work offered by a particular vendor. The easiest way to do this is by looking at their portfolio. Ideally, you should check potential partners’ portfolios for projects similar to yours. This will let you know if a vendor already has experience in your niche and whether they can help you build your product.

Read Reviews

Apart from a portfolio, customer feedback and ratings on trusted sources like G2 or Clutch also say a lot about a vendor. You should opt for vendors that receive recognition and positive reviews from their clients. And the higher the rating, the more trustworthy a particular partner is.

Check the History of Partnerships

Studying the history of partnerships is another great way to learn more about your potential partners. There are a few things you want to pay attention to at this point. First of all, you want to ensure that a vendor has enough partnerships in general.

Also, you want to ensure that a vendor has partnerships with clients from your field to claim their experience in a particular industry. Lastly, you want to check if a vendor’s past partnerships were lasting and successful and whether clients remained satisfied in the end.

Asses Their Tech Stacks

Finally, if you want to ensure that a particular vendor will be able to meet your needs and deliver the right solution to you, you need to assess their tech stack. You need to ensure that your potential partner has a sufficient talent pool and covers a variety of technologies to be able to implement your ideas in life.

Key Roles and Responsibilities in Full Cycle Software Development Team

Since full cycle software development spans all the phases between the concept formulation and deployment of the end product, it engages a big number of professionals along the way.

Namely, below are some of the key roles involved in the process.

Business Analyst

A person in this role acts as a bridge between engineers and the target market. Business analysts are responsible for studying the market, gathering all valuable information related to the product, and compiling clear and relevant project requirements.

When the development process is over, business analysts are also responsible for assessing the importance of the product for end users and whether it can solve the existing market problems.

Project Managers

A person in this role is the one who plans, organizes, and executes the project. A project manager is responsible for setting project goals, communicating project needs and requirements, overseeing the work of the entire team, and handling different restraints like schedules, deadlines, and budgets.

UI/UX Designers

These two roles deal with user interface (UI) and, respectively, user experience (UX) in the product. UI and UX designers bring together creativity and technology to make your software look and feel great for an end user. A UI designer will create the product’s layout and visual design. A UX designer will ensure that everything in the product is clear and intuitive, all features are accessible, and that every user’s experience will be positive.

Full-Stack Developers

A person in this role is the one who will code your idea to life. A full-stack developer is one who can create both server and client software using the predetermined tech stack. Typically, developers will work closely with the rest of the team (e.g. designers, engineers, testers, etc.) to ensure that the completed code goes in line with the overall vision and requirements of the project.

QA Engineers

Finally, another important role in full-stack development is the role of a quality assurance (QA) engineer. Basically, these are the people responsible for testing the product after the development stage.

The key goal of QA engineers is to ensure that every feature of the product works exactly as supposed. After running a series of tests, QA engineers will create detailed bug reports to notify developers about anything that should be fixed or improved.

How Much Does Full Cycle Software Development Cost?

The final cost of a custom software solution depends on many variables. For example, the location and reputation of the hired team play a significant role.

Typically, eastern-European software developers charge less than western-European or American ones. The product type and complexity level also matter a lot. So, when calculating the approximate cost of your project, you need to pay attention to all variables and factors.

The average price for building custom software can be anywhere between $30,000 and $200,000. However, more complex, enterprise-level software can cost over $200,000.

How Long Does Full Cycle Software Development Last?

The full-cycle development process consists of five to seven stages, each of which requires some time to implement. In general, here are the typical time frames for every phase of the development:

  • Planning and requirements – between two and four weeks
  • Architecture and design between four and six weeks
  • Development – between three and eight months
  • Implementation – between two and four weeks
  • Testing and Maintenance – between three and six weeks
  • Production – three (or more) weeks

Eventually, the exact time required for each particular product will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of product, its complexity, the team’s experience, etc. However, the total average time for handling full-cycle development is typically between four months and a year.

Full Cycle Software Development: Conclusion

Handling full-cycle development isn’t easy. It’s a lasting process with many potential challenges. But now, you have everything you need for success.

This guide should give you a thorough overview of the full-cycle development process, challenges, trends, costs, and other details. Use it as your roadmap to success and don’t hesitate to delegate this task to Northell if you want to get the best results with ease!

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