Even for the wealthiest companies in the world, developing software is an expensive activity that involves much more than the average person thinks. Not surprisingly, many business owners and managers tend to underestimate the time, financial and technical resources required to develop quality and functional software.
That is why whenever a company finds itself considering investing in new or improved software systems, it’s crucial to follow processes, best practices, and standards that ensure the success of such a project in every single way.
At Exo, we’ve come up with a list of ingredients we believe are key to guaranteeing the success of your projects.
Understanding the client’s business needs
Everyone knows that developing great software requires its players to have excellent programming skills. What isn’t always a given, however, is how important it is that project managers, analysts, and developers alike hold a business-savvy mindset.
If we can’t understand your business requirements, it will be almost impossible to translate them into the features and functionalities of future software.
Succeeding at this stage requires commitment from both, our team, but also yourself.
Every dollar that is properly spent during this analysis phase will come back to you later during the development stage.
Defining a clear project scope
Having a strategic plan is a critical starting point whenever you are developing software, creating new applications, or building a website. This plan should include clear goals and action steps, as well as the resources (namely budget) required to achieve the milestone and timeframes with expected deadlines.
In other words, here we’re building the project roadmap that will be the guiding chart for short and long-term strategic planning. It should cover the following steps:
- Maintenance (if necessary)
Keeping the end user in front
As we’ve seen in the previous step, really great products come from melding two points of view — the technology point of view, but also the customer point of view.
It is when we genuinely care for the needs of your clients, that they will value who you are. That’s why, during the design phase of your project, we should try to involve your end user – whether internal or external – as much as possible.
Appointing the right team
Even if the development or coding stage is where we’ll spend most of our time, software projects often require different kinds of talents, including Projects Managers, Business Analysts, UX designers, Software Engineers, and Quality Assurance Experts.
When it comes to Developers, it’s fundamental to have experienced people that can deliver project outcomes within the specified deadline. Each member needs to be highly skilled in programming skills, but even more significant is that the team works well together. This group of people will spend countless hours together – either in-person or remotely – so it is essential that they get along and enjoy working together, especially under pressure.
Keeping a realistic project schedule
In recent years, the word “deadline” has become a synonym for “trouble”. Indeed, project deadlines are a source of heavy pressure for PMs and developers and concern for you as the client and your stakeholders.
The truth is that the more complex the project, the harder it is to actually estimate a realistic deadline, and there’s often no amount of control that can make the software delivery more predictable.
Yet, that doesn’t keep us from trying! Meeting deadlines requires fusing agility with professionalism. It’s fundamental to apply relevant project management strategies. Short delivery cycles foster a stable development environment and allow our team to be flexible around changing requests yet consistent with the use of methodologies.
Dealing smartly with changes in project scope
It’s common to see software development projects step away from their original blueprint. While flexibility is one of the core values of agile development, it’s also healthy to recognize that any team can lose momentum if too many changes are introduced too frequently.
When change management is handled improperly, it may even degrade performance and create frustration among the development team. One way of mitigating the potential costs of changing requirements is to design alternative routes during the project scoping stage. These routes should have tiered off-ramps that allow you to save money and ensure your key features are included.
Before introducing changes, we recommend spending some time identifying how these may affect the project’s progression.
With hubs across Mexico, Argentina, Spain, and the US and a team of +90 developers, Exo offers software development, mobile application solutions as well as staff augmentation services for companies looking to scale and transform their business.