How to Create an Organized Software Development Project Plan: A Detailed Guide for Developers
It gives you direction toward meeting the project and the organization’s objectives.
The steps toward a robust software solution for your client organization are as follows:
Let’s first understand the meaning of a software development and design plan and its objectives. Then we’ll dive deeper to see how you can design one without falling into any pitfall
What is a software development plan?
It’s an integrated and organized management process that highlights the activities and things you need to complete a software project.
The software plan prevents hurdles that tend to crop up during the project’s execution. It also ensures optimal utilization of every allotted resource and time.
Let’s discuss why it’s important for every project manager to work with a software plan.
What are the purposes of planning a software development project?
You plan a software development project to make your work smooth and achieve specific purposes. We can classify these objectives into two: project objectives and business objectives.
Here is a list of the key project objectives:
On the other hand, business objectives aim to improve the organization’s processes, quality, and customer satisfaction. Here’s a list the following organizational purposes in most plans:
Planning your Software Development Project with precision
Every project manager needs to conduct project planning in a way that meets all objectives. Let’s discuss how you can implement the following steps in your project planning:
⇒ Define your scope
Before you start, the end-points of your project must be clear. Take time to research and define top-level project goals and intentions. For instance, software development could be about automating manual tasks, streamlining processes, or boosting productivity. Then list down the metrics that you’ll use to quantify your project’s success for the set targets. A free or premium Gantt chart will come in handy here.
⇒ Define and coordinate your resources and requirements
Once you’re done highlighting software development and project management goals, identify appropriate resources that will help you meet the objectives. Therefore, define the other aspects of the project that you will need to work on, such as equipment, budget, team, skills, and timeline.
You might be dealing with a large project where specific targets can change at any time. Therefore, your plan should be flexible enough to accommodate any changes in the requirements to meet the target points. If you need to determine needs more accurately, employ the skills and experiences of a project manager.
⇒ Understand your constraints and risks
Your project may encounter unexpected events that may adversely affect it, which may include an increase in costs and delayed results.
So take time to identify and document technical and business risks that may arise. Generally, such hurdles include support from the management, appropriate schedule, appropriate budget, and skilled software developers.
⇒ Map your business processes
What daily processes do lower-level employees employ when working in the client organization? How do they complete their tasks? Draw-up a flow diagram of these activities.
While it’s okay to hear from senior managers, it’s easy to get a clear picture of the bottlenecks when you’re working with the junior employees.
The number of employees to involve in this process depends on the organization’s size.
⇒ Estimate your budget
With a rough estimate of your costs, it’s worth noting that some variables are subjective. It’s impossible to work out the right amounts for each milestone and completed projects. However, the estimates will help you get an idea of the money and time you need.
⇒ Draw up your staged deliverables
As a project manager, your next task is to draw software development milestones to give room for testing and feedbacks at each phase. Additionally, milestones ensure the development team focuses on specific functionality aspects.
When planning tasks and features to be done at the various phases, concentrate more on achieving original targets. You don’t want to overwhelm the project team with too many unnecessary features and change requests.
⇒ Create a team
Custom software development project management requires one or several teams of professionals with the right experience and skills. If your company lacks these individuals, you may hire from outside or outsource the recruitment process to a company that will put together the teams for you.
While inputs from all business levels will be beneficial, the team needs only one final decision-maker. You don’t want your project to experience a lack of direction. Therefore, get an experienced project manager whose task will be to manage the project’s planning and execution.
⇒ Discuss Quality and Progress
Your planning is not yet over until you include the progress checks and quality testing. Testing your stages ensures you’re meeting your milestone goals.
Dealing with Potential Planning Pitfalls
When you approach every project with the seriousness that it deserves, you’ll want to be careful in all steps that constitute your plans. Having handled many software projects, our team at Laneways. Agency usually encounters several hurdles. Dealing with or navigating around them has become part of our tasks in every project. Some of these hurdles are:
Failure to deliver a great idea mostly springs from a failure to translate that idea into measurable and specific goals. So when planning the software project, take time to understand the business problem or need that your team will be solving and how you’ll measure success.
While it’s great to be as agile as possible, always document every important agreement, aspect, timeline, and project achievement during the planning phase. For example, include the User Stories and Acceptance Criteria to enable your developers to understand and work on the user’s requirements and produce a tailor-made solution.
A project may involve many people from your side, the client’s side, and others. Lack of clear, centralized communication may lead to misunderstanding and misinterpretation of procedures and feedbacks. Here is where the management and reporting tools step in to make the whole communication process automatic.
While documentation communicates your goals and processes, throwing in frequent ceremonies and meetings gives everyone a chance to be on the same page.
If your plan didn’t clearly define and document your goals and the needed approach, the changes might be severe. Your sprint goals will have bells and whistle features, leading to delays in feedbacks and meeting deadlines.
Employ agile project management plans, as they make the software development easy to manage. An agile software framework is responsive to change and allows you to break complex projects into small and achievable milestones.
Lack of stakeholder engagement
Researchers have found that 33% of projects fail mainly due to a lack of stakeholders’ confidence and interest. This statistic indicates the importance of informing and involving all stakeholders in every step of the project planning.
Actively seek feedback from everyone involved to boost their engagement and ensure your project gets completed on time without getting off-track.
A software development plan guides you to stay within the budgets, resource use, and timeframes while developing software. Meet all project and organizational objectives by making sure goals are clear and properly document and communicate the essentials along the way.
Are you looking for a team that will design and follow software product plans to ensure you meet your targets? Consider Laneways. Agency. Our team of professionals comes equipped with years of experience and skills to handle any project from the beginning to the end. Call us now for more information!
We build custom software with modern solutions in mind for any business and sizes!