Best Practices

Best Practices to Manage Your Software Development Project

Software development requires a lot of technical and financial commitment. Yet, many software development projects ultimately fail. Research has shown that software projects have a failure rate ranging from 50% to 80%. These figures show that failure is not uncommon with software projects. However, regardless of how rampant software project failure seems, it is equally avoidable. Thus, this article will guide you on the best practices your company can implement to manage your software development project effectively.

Managing Your Software development project: Six Best Practices

Set Clear Goals

You can hardly manage a project when confused about its goals and objectives. This is because the goals set the tone for your management approach. When you clearly define your goals for the project, you have metrics you can use as benchmarks for your performance. The team members are also more inclined to understand what your project entails when you clearly set the project's goals. You can use a Product Requirements Document (PRD) to set the software project's features, purpose, and goals. This makes the software development project easier for the software team. It also reduces management difficulties, as all team members can reference the documents in cases of confusion or conflict.

Hire the Best Team Available

There is no doubt that the quality of your software development project heavily depends on your team's competence. Software development is a highly technical task. Thus, your software team must have the requisite skills to execute the project successfully.

This is why you need to prioritize technical competence while searching for software development partnerships. At this juncture, it is essential to note that the most expensive software team might not be the most competent. You can find a competent software team within the ambits of your budget. You must also note that while technical skills are undoubtedly critical, you should also look out for soft skills like proper communication and responsiveness. These skills will make it easier for you to manage the software development project. Also, it is advisable that you outsource the software development project, especially if your internal team needs to gain the requisite technical skills for the project. Often, external teams are already managed. For instance, YouDigital has an existing management structure that reduces the need for clients to micromanage. This benefit lets you focus on more critical aspects of the project, such as setting project delivery timelines. 

Be Realistic About Project Timelines

Project timelines are essential to the software development project. They ensure that your software team works according to your expectations and that the project is delivered on time. However, it is also essential to set realistic timelines for your team. The project will likely fail if you end up requiring project delivery at a time that is not humanly possible. While your software team may try to meet up with the timeline, they may compromise the quality of the project due to the rush. Thus, you must work with your team to determine a timeline that performs your goals and is feasible enough for them to deliver. 

Prepare for Change Management

Change management involves effectively implementing change in your software project. You will likely experience changes in the factors that served as the backbone of your software project. For instance, you can undertake a project to build an application that helps consumers track their expenses because you discovered that it was a market need during your product validation process. However, you can discover mid-project that you need to integrate additional features to fulfill this market need adequately. In this case, change management will come in handy. It would be best if you were proactive enough to adapt the changes to your project, communicate the developments to your team members, and find a resolution. At this juncture, checking with your software team on core timelines and delivery dates is essential. Of course, additional features could result in delays and additional costs. Regardless, you must clarify these factors with your team. 

Communicate Statuses and Development

You will likely have multiple team members working on your software project. This means that information will need to flow to each team member, especially when fundamental changes are made to the project. This clear communication enhances collaboration and creates a seamless software development process. However, team communication is not exactly effortless, particularly if you have cross-functional teams working on the software project. This is why you need to adopt tools that make communication easier. Use Trello to keep every member on board with progress on deliverables. You can also use productivity platforms like Slack to facilitate accessible communication and collaboration. Most importantly, hold periodic calls to keep all members up-to-date.

This is because some team members could be experiencing Slack fatigue. Such team members are more likely to listen during Zoom calls. However, if your team works physically, you can arrange weekly or bi-weekly meetings for every team member to give updates on the project's progress and possible changes. 


Pay Attention to Risk Management

Risk is inevitable with virtually every project. Numerous risks could manifest during the software development process, and you must determine ways to address these risks. Possible risks include incorrect budget estimation and code errors. Thus, ensure you have a risk response team that takes action when these risks manifest and ensures that your project stays on track. The risk response team often determines the measures for risk treatment and prevention. 

Wrapping Up

The failure of a software development project can be highly costly. Your company will likely waste human resources and financial resources. Thus, while proper management of software projects may seem like a huge workload, it saves you from unnecessary losses. We, at YouDigital have the necessary expertise to identify potential risks to your project and implement project rescue missions. Reach out to us to assess, plan and execute our unique project rescue plan. The assessment stage is free of charge.

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