8 Steps for Successful Software Project Management
Ideas are easy. Turning your idea into a productive application is much more difficult, even if you hire a software development team to do it for you. Project management can make or break your software development project. Whether it’s a new site idea or mobile app, here are some tips for a successful project management solution.
1. Write Functionality and Business Requirement Documentation
Right after shouting “Eureka!”, but yet before ever jumping right into coding, take your time to think through all the functionality that your developmental process is going to need. It is not recommended to skip creation of business documentation, as you might need to refer back to the essential ideas as you go on.
Especially if you are planning on hiring a professional team of developers technical documentation is going to help them make sense of all requirements, restrictions, additions and precautions along with all other wonderful ideas that you have decided to fit into your product.
Please, hire a professional if you do not know how to create business requirement documentation. In such a way, you will avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations with your programmers and ensure a more functional and technical approach of information supply. Beware of the risks and ensure the security of your ideas by signing an NDA.
2. Hire a Project Manager or Lead Developer
Project implementation is a complex task that only seems simple. It is more effective to seek help of a professional project manager to control the developmental process and lead the project implementation.
Project manager is a person who is in charge of all organizational, documentational and managerial tasks of the project from the phase of planning to deployment. This person will become a mediator to make sense of concepts and ideas from technical documentation and translating the requirements and visions to the developmental team for them to have a clear understanding of the goals of your product.
Project manager is also in charge of following the task completion by priorities, coordinate the workflow, ensure following deadlines and communicate and discuss bug reports and get the feedback to the team. If you feel confident about project management skills yourself, it is preferable to seek help from a lead developer who can dive deeper into the technical part of the question and suggest more advanced and time and cost-effective solutions on design, technology and can structure the work according to the priorities.
3. Prioritize and Specialize
Each project consists of the general look and feel that is seen by the client, called the front-end, and the functional part that all the code is in, called the back-end. There are full-stack specialists that have knowledge in working with both back- and front-end. However, it is always better to choose high profile specialist in the sphere to receive a more qualitative result, and so that each person can focus on what they are really good at.
4. Determine Project Development Processes
Clear determination of project development processes allows a clearer understanding of the scope of the project and sets the pace and workflow with changes and updates. Choosing the right methodology for your project is crucial as it is going to define your project workflow and update reporting system. There are a variety of software development methodologies, each having its pros and cons.
One of the most popular is Agile. Agile is a software development methodology that follows the app creation in short-term iterations, allowing to release the latest version updates more often. Agile is thought to be cost effective and resource efficient model, since it allows launching the application on the early stages of software development and supply with small updates on the go. It creates a clearer picture of the developmental process engaging a more trustworthy communication inside the team.
This model is very flexible in terms of changes, updates, and even changing business strategies in progress, allowing to update anything from deadlines to the whole concept of the application.
Another strategy is Waterfall. This methodology has a larger scope and the changes can’t be made until the project gets to the end of the development stage, therefore is easier in project flow. However, it also requires more precise estimations and planning as the outcome of a small fault can be catastrophic. The code comes in big chunks and requires more attentive review, therefore may result in scope and budget increase in case something goes wrong. Leave your Project manager or Lead Developer to decide on the best methodology for the project for you, as they have more technical background and can suggest better implementation ideas.
5. Cope with the Scope
The scope pushes a poorly managed project to ensure deadlines, reach general project goals, meet expectations of the application owner. Determine the project scope as soon as the general documentation on the project has been written to ensure timely manner of implementation. Commitment to project scope on behalf of both development and management teams are essential to meeting the project goals. Project scope presents the general view of the workflow and ensures identification of drastic problems before they can ruin your project at all, saving time, money, resources and the initial business idea. Status update is another important feature that should be included in the project scope. That way you can grant yourself with regular product review to check whether there are no surprises in your schedule.
6. Preview and Review
Completing a complex project is a difficult task, especially if it includes so many multi-level processes from brainstorming and sharing ideas to working prototype. Always expect that if something may go wrong – it will, so this gives you a heads up to upcoming difficulties and get you always prepared to fight back the risks and challenges. Dividing the project into phases where you can review what was done earlier and make sure that everything is clearly understood and runs smoothly allows you to follow the schedule indicated in the scope.
7. Communicate to Facilitate
In order to see the real progress, it is advised to keep notes of the activities constantly. Tracking of all your tasks in Excel or Word documents is not convenient, nor wise. Therefore, we suggest choosing from such most popular project management platforms like Basecamp, Trello, or Jira. This software has been specifically designed to satisfy the needs of developmental processes and includes such options as assigning tasks, add descriptions and notes or finish the cycle and make the software development process much more comfortable and clear.
8. 1,2,3 Check. Testing, Testing and again Testing
We can’t stress enough on the importance of testing your application as you go through on each step of your project. In case there is a problem with a code, or the application doesn’t seem to work under specific conditions you are ought to know about it as soon as it happens to save money and time on developing a product that no one would be able to use.
In addition, supplying a fully functional application version and dealing fast with bug reports, suggestions from the clients and negative reviews shows professionalism and defines the number and quality of your target audience. The more you care, the more people share. Always make sure your quality assurance team has checked the application for bugs before deploying it to production.
At last, software development seems fun and games, but at the end, a good product is the face of many hours of hard work of each one engaged in the team. Following guidelines of a successful project implementation is the easiest step to take on the ladder to success and wonderful product.