Starting out with a new project of any kind can be both exciting and intimidating, and reaching your end goal can be challenging and complicated. Change, moving forward, making improvements are essential to any business.
With the right approach, a positive path can be followed and that end goal can be achieved with aplomb.
For any custom software development project you are planning, you may feel a long way away from the point where things are operating smoothly and effectively. But by taking a measured approach that covers all bases, turning your vision into a reality is a definite possibility. Software development projects are as much about effective change management as they are about the actual technical project delivery.
As one of the leading UK software development companies, we at Williams Technology wanted to explain the best approach towards your software development processes in order to make your project a resounding success.
Create a plan
We will skip the part where you have a great idea and want to turn it into reality, as that is probably where you already are. We are talking here about the logistics of achieving that reality.
The first thing to do is to get a plan together in order to clearly define the route you want to take towards software development success.
Outlining the project scope from the off helps to create a clear idea of what is involved and what will be required from a technical and logistical standpoint. It also outlines a clear set of plans to follow moving forward.
Get the right people involved
Once you have an idea of what work is going to be required, it is time to put together a team of people you believe have the skills required to reach the end goal.
Identify the right stakeholders and understand their requirements. How will the new software affect them, their teams, what is a measure of success. If there are a large number of stakeholders, you may decide to form a smaller project team who can be responsible for undertaking the requirements gathering and consolidating into a single Statement of work.
Sharing plans clearly with team members is vital, and ensuring that everybody is on the same page from the off will give your project the best chance of being a success.
Also, defining roles and making it clear who is expected to manage what throughout the project’s progression is highly beneficial at this stage.
Committing to a solid discovery phase is an excellent way of truly establishing a roadmap to follow.
Discovery allows project teams to get a full understanding of cost, and to ensure that they have budgeted accordingly for any additional expenditure that may be accrued during the project.
Discovery also allows for a market assessment to be carried out, and look at whether the project is something that is truly worth pursuing. If problems such as limited or no market need, or the benefits of going ahead do not outweigh the drawbacks, then being aware of this early in the project can save time and money.
If however the project is something identified as a good thing to progress with, then the discovery phase can help ensure that the desired value of a project is realised.
Targets and Deadlines
For a project of any kind, there is a pressing need to set clearly defined targets and deadlines. This will help ensure things are kept on track, and that expectations for each member of the project team are outlined.
Making it known that a certain element of the project needs to be completed by a particular time is a good way to ensure things run smoothly. It gives team members an indication of how pressing their tasks are, and supports positive progress.
Man management with a project of this nature is important, and therefore making deadlines feel like life and death can be counter-intuitive. Things change and there may be unforeseen circumstances that arise, which means targets and deadlines need moving.
But by setting out a clear vision in terms of dates and timings, the project team gets an outline of what needs to be achieved by when. This can keep the project moving forwards in the way you want.
Creating a software prototype is an excellent way to firm up the requirements and achieve a wider buy in from involved parties. Additionally, the prototype can act as a basis from which the final software can be developed.
There are four main ways of prototyping: rapid, evolutionary, incremental and extreme.
Rapid prototyping is a quickly developed example of how a software will look visually, and allows for ideas to be explored. These prototypes can be quickly discarded, but allow for discussions around the best path forward to take place.
Evolutionary prototyping involves developing software in close discussion with the client to refine things until the client is satisfied. This requires plenty of communication to make sure all parties are moving in the same direction.
Incremental prototyping involves splitting the overall prototypes into smaller prototypes and developing these separately. This approach allows for speedier feedback on different elements between the development team and the end user. The disparate prototypes are then merged late in the process to create a complete prototype.
The final prototyping approach is extreme prototyping. This is often used for web development and involves creating a simple prototype with the existing set up present in HTML format, and then data processes be simulated using a prototype services layer. The services that are simulated can then, once satisfactory, be integrated into the main software.
Project Delivery Models
How the project is delivered to the end client is important, with different project delivery models being used to achieve this.
The Waterfall approach is one such way. This is a tried and tested project delivery approach that gets its name from the cascading way in which elements are delivered, much like a waterfall.
The Agile approach has gained a lot of momentum in an increasingly time-sensitive world, allowing for the rapid deployment of solutions to end users. This approach brings people together from across teams for solution delivery.
A third approach is DevOps, which is technically an Agile form of project delivery, but with a ‘continuous delivery’ ethos underpinning this method.
In terms of which approach to choose, Agile and DevOps are typically more suited to solution architecture developed in recent years, and this may be the defining factor of your project. However, the Waterfall approach is a proven approach, supported by the Kaizen method of continual improvement. This could make it perfect for what it is you are trying to achieve.
Always keep the end user front and central
As your software development project progresses, it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of what it is you are doing. Though being focused on every detail has its benefits, do not lose sight of the overall aims.
Your software’s end user should always be in your mind’s eye, with the work you are doing tailored to their needs and requirements.
If you feel your project is moving away from this, then it is time to sit down and get things back on track.
Implement, test and deploy
This is the fun part. As your project progresses, you can start implementing your software and working out all the nuts and bolts of getting it to where it needs to be.
The testing phase is the time to iron out any issues, and ensure things are running smoothly ahead of deployment. This is exciting, with deployment being where your vision comes to life.
By following the points raised above, you give yourself the best chance of achieving what it is you originally set out to accomplish.
Get software development support with Williams Technology
If you are commencing a software development project and require support, the team at Williams Technology is well-placed to deliver this.
We offer enterprise custom software development services which see us work very closely with our clients. We offer a software development process that allows us to identify requirements and deliver business software which is both reliable and scalable.
While our team can build software to meet specific needs, we are also well versed in modernising legacy applications. Our team can transfer legacy technology to the cloud using modern development languages.
Williams Technology is one of the UK’s leading software development companies, and offers exceptional software product build services. This sees us transform minimal viable products into full solutions. We can work closely with your team and create a truly beneficial software offering in a collaborative way.
To discuss your specific requirements with a member of the Williams Technology team, simply get in touch. We will be happy to talk with you and set out a plan of action to help you realise your software development goals.
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