Software Development Process

Our light & nimble development process has been pioneered to deliver quality software for small-business budgets.

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consultation meeting for software development process
prototyping process for software development
software architecture process
Diagram of process. Discovery phase, development, then support.

Phase 1

The Discovery Phase

The most important part of the custom software development process is the Discovery Phase. The goal of the Discovery Phase is to help us fully understand your project and make sure all of your bases are covered throughout the process. Our process relies heavily on transparency and communication, and each step in the process helps to foster those qualities throughout the duration of your project.

What the discovery phase includes at a glance:

1. Project Consultation

Our process begins with getting to know you and your project. We'll meet with you in person or virtually, to learn more about your business, and why you're seeking a software solution. When we understand your motivations, whether than be personal passion or a business need, we can figure out the most efficient way to reach your goals.

In the consultation, you'll meet with a developer, and a project manager who will make sure the business analytics and technological sides of your project are being understood.

virtual consultation meeting over software

2. Interactive Prototype

After communication with our developer and project manager, we'll work with our UI/UX design team to create a digital prototype in Figma. The prototype will detail the "flow", or how users would navigate your product. You'll have the ability to click through your project with placeholder data to make sure every piece meets your specifications.

The biggest benefit to this step is that it helps ensure both design and functionality needed to reach the end goal is addressed. This is important to do early-on because a prototype is easier, and less costly, to change than code.

example of a figma prototype

3. Software Architecture

During the Architecture phase, our development team will go over your specifications and digital prototype with the project manager and designers. From there, the developers will be able to choose the appropriate technology stack and begin diagramming the whole scope of your project.

The end result of Architecture is a detailed list of to-dos with time and cost estimates.

two developers architecting a software project

Scope of Work

Unlike other dev shops, we don't operate on contracts. We do this for your benefit, because later down the road if you decide to pivot, you won't be stuck in a long-term development cycle. Instead, the work we do is agreed upon through an SOW, or Scope of Work statement, which explains each milestone in detail for the upcoming sprint or group of tasks. This helps maintain transparency for both our company, and our client.

Man frustrated because he has business problems


Our Software Development Payment Plans.

Every client has a different set of criteria when it comes to paying for a project. With this in mind, we offer some options to help you get your project completed.


Full sprint

A 400 meter dash style development cycle for clients wanting to build their software as quick as possible. This requires a decent size bi-weekly or monthly budget to be added to the bucket. This will give our developers the maximum amount of hours on a project during the current pay period.


The Steady

A more steady plan where you decide how much you want to put towards your project each month, and we'll allocate development hours based on your preferred speed. This is for clients who don't know exactly how much they can allocate to a software project per month.


The Discount

The slowest, but most budget-friendly payment option. Your project will be used to fill our downtime at discounted rate. This if for clients who don't really care WHEN a project is finished, just as long as it's finished in the end.

Phase 2

The Development Phase

The next step in the custom software process is development. The goal of the Development Phase is to build out your product based on the prototype created during the Discovery Phase.

What the development phase includes at a glance:

1. Project Kickoff

With the previously agreed upon tasks split into Sprints (roughly two week segments), we can start working. At the end of each Sprint, we'll meet again with you to cover what tasks have been completed, and ensure we're staying on the right path.

During each Sprint, there may be unforeseen changes or even new ideas. This is where our process of ongoing communication and collaboration really shines. We'll add you to Basecamp (our project communication software) which will make direct contact with our team more convenient.

developer starting to code a software project

2. Deployment

Before your project is ready for release, whether for beta testing or production, we'll set up hosting services for you. This includes cloud services, application hosting, databases, backups and uptime redundancies, and more.

We also set up and deploy native apps on the App Store and Play Store so that they can be accessible across any mobile device. This includes creating public-facing apps as well as private apps that are only available to a select group of users.

illustration of software deployment process

3. Maintenance

Ongoing maintenance is often the most overlooked part of custom software development. The biggest benefits we've seen from our clients setting up a maintenance plan are; improvement to user experience, minimizing downtime and revenue losses, and keeping your software up-to-date.

Overall, a maintenance plan can avoid a lot of headaches—and from what we've seen, most business owners have plenty of those to worry about without the addition of technology. That's the one we can alleviate.

software team and clients high fiving

Get Started

Ready to start building a software project?

Even if you aren't ready to build just yet, a free consultation can help answer important questions that will make your technology destination easier to reach.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How is my project cost determined?

We'll ask questions during the initial consultation to make sure we're a good fit. From there, we'll start the Discovery Phase. This discovery process involves working with you to get specifications so we can build a digital prototype of what the end goal of your project is. We'll use that prototype along with the information you've provided to write the business logic and user stories so that we'll be able to create architecture. Architecting a product starts with deciding on a technology stack then creating a task list for everything that needs to be done to meet spec. Those tasks will individually have hour estimations assigned that will lead us to the timeline as well as total cost.

Do you provide any support after launch?

Absolutely! Even finished projects are never truly finished. Between quality of life enhancements and keeping up with technology updates, there is almost always ongoing maintenance for any project.

How much is a Discovery Phase?

Discovery Phases typically range from $2500 - $5000 depending on how complex your software needs are, and how extensive the prototype needs to be.

I just need a prototype, can you provide that?

Of course! If your plan is to just get a design prototype for your product for investment or marketing purposes, we can take you through the Discovery Phase then allow you to move freely to do whatever you'd like with it!

How do you provide software project estimates?

Software product estimates are determined through architecture; a process in which developers sit down and list every task needed to complete a project, combined with estimated hours. Once we have an estimated timeframe, we can determine your estimated software project cost.

What is your payment process?

At Deep Fork, we work out of a pre-paid retainer. This means that you'll pay for an individual segment of work at a time. This helps in a few ways:

- You won't be obligated to the entire cost of your project upfront.
- You'll have the opportunity to review the work completed and be satisfied before spending more money.
- Our costs are kept low because we won't need to chase payments.
- Work on your project moves at your pace, and we won't need to stop to hunt for lost checks or overdue funds.
- You own your code through the entire project. You buy the code along with our time each step of the way.

We accept payments through cash, check, ACH, and credit card (credit cards have a processing fee).

Do you use software contracts with clients?

We want to work alongside you as your software development team and not as a vendor. From past experience, traditional vendor contracts place an inherent divide in collaboration. In our eyes, contracts are meant to protect opposing forces from eachother, not foster teamwork. We get around the need for contracts through continuous commincation and making sure that we're always delivering what's expected.

What if I already have a UI design for my software?

Bring it on in! We will still need to go through a small Discovery Phase that includes getting to know your project and buiding architecture based on those designs. But once that's complete we can start building your already designed product.

What communication platform do you use with clients?

We use Basecamp to connect clients with our Deep Fork employees. It's great for team building and making sure responses are always quick.

How involved will I be during the process?

We like to involve our clients in every aspect of the software development process. That way, you feel like you have contributed to the completion of your product, and understand everything that's going on.

Can we collaborate when creating my wireframes?

Yes! Creating wireframes during the Discovery Phase is great for client collaboration because it allows our design team to really get to know you and your problem, and find a visual style that will fit your product.

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