Quick Overview: Often, software companies rush the development stage by skipping the project management stage. However, Software Project Management is one crucial aspect of the SDLC and holds the secret key to the successful development of a software solution.
Have you ever wondered why the world’s leading tech firms invest a hefty share in proper Software Project Planning?
Why is it considered a holy grail for the success of a software project?
Along with the tech space, every business ecosystem is experimenting with new dimensions of work for the sake of staying relevant in an utterly disrupted market. The truth is, the nature of modern workspaces has changed beyond measure, and it has made visible impacts on the dimensions of work being generated in the global market. A truly growth-focused firm always aims at joining hands with software partners who aim at developing sustainable spurts of intelligent technology, rather than being disruptive in every sprint.
Did you know that as per an estimation by Bain & Company, most of the work scopes generated by 2027 will be project-based? This staggering growth estimation for project-based work is sure to spike up the demand for proper project management techniques.
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What is Project Planning?
Did you think the job of a software development company was limited to crafting intelligent software solutions? You might be wrong there – along with designing and building software; a custom software development company also has to undertake software project management.
The most integral part and the very first step in Software Project Management is Software Project Planning. To put it across simply, Project planning is basically breaking down a complete project into specific tasks, forming a team assigned for these tasks, and finalizing a schedule in which these tasks are to be completed. The purpose of project planning is to build small, iterative goals that are achievable within the set timeframes.
Planning serves a crucial role when it comes to being a guide for all stakeholders involved – development teams, sponsors, and most importantly, the project manager throughout the stages of the project. It is necessary for identifying goals, reducing risks, avoid missing deadlines, and delivering the agreed-upon software product or service.
Let us now examine the tough spot you can be in, in the case of flawed software project planning. How about we give you one scary stat regarding this?
One recent study by hive reveals that around 50% of organizations do not appraise the value of project management. Which in monetary terms translates to losing $122M for every $1B that is invested in the US – all because of flawed project performance.
If only these firms valued the necessity of project planning and management, they would have considerably saved on resources, time, and efforts! Indeed, it is taxing enough to employ additional time and effort into the planning procedure. However, without planning, it is more of a hit-and-miss game!
Watch this insightful video where Mr. Varix Patel – Head Delivery & Operations, tells his approach to successful project delivery.
Why do firms mostly skip this one crucial step? These can be a few probable reasons:
1. Agreeing to unrealistic expectations: Most project managers rue the fact that the development company had agreed to unrealistic timelines for the software project, and in the pressure to deliver within a stipulated time, they rushed through or at times even skipped the planning stage.
2. Lack of understanding: A lot of firms and their development teams fail to understand how planning assists in the successful delivery of software solutions and products. That becomes one major reason why planning as a stage gets ignored.
3. Impatience: The tendency of most project managers is to dive head straight into project execution t show visible results. This often leads to tons of rework and rescheduling.
What Does Project Planning Help You Achieve?
Every software project involves certain risks – whether at a micro or a macro level. And even a farsighted project manager cannot predict when a minor risk can blow up in the execution stage. However, with proper Project Planning, you can:
1. Minimize Probable Risks: The planning stage ensures that as a firm, you calculate and measure up all your steps – be it risks or plans of action. Once you weigh the risks against the achievable milestones, you can add up to larger of the project, thereby reducing risks.
2. Reduce Failure Rates: Planning is the stage where assumptions are straightened out, and expectations are set in terms of timelines, costs, deliverables, etc. Once you have a blueprint of your project with every minute detail chalked out, there can be really a few reasons that your project will tank.
Software Project Management
Whether you are developing a software solution for a client or building a solution to expedite your own business process, all you have at scratch is a concept – a concept that may or may not be valid to work upon. Tweaking concepts is an essential part of the software development process, which is why software projects often tend to be multi-faceted and complex.
Money and time budget are two constraints that a developer firm/project manager has to keep in mind, and only efficient planning can help with proper monitoring and organization of tasks. A software project may go haywire due to several reasons, but to even try and achieve a satisfactory result, a project manager has to set certain specific parameters. All software projects that pass through the project management process go through a software development lifecycle which is nothing but a development guide from start to finish.
What Is The Need For Software Project Management?
To answer this question, we must first dissect the critical nature of software projects.
A software project:
- May not be a routine activity
- Comes with a pre-defined timeline
- Has a specific goal
- Needs the development firm to spend on resources like manpower, finance, time, knowledge, and skills
- Is a temporary part of a software development firm
It’s not difficult to say that software development is a volatile job and software is an intangible product. Every day, a new framework or a new technology trend is coming into the fore scene and altering the development-scape! Most firms looking forward to employing software solutions in their business prefer getting tailored solutions for their business-critical issues. And with that seeps in the scope for unaccounted for errors in the development process, which makes Software Project Management the most crucial task in the development environment.
The core idea behind project management is building a product that will highlight the capabilities of the development firm in a good light. However, without proper software project management, the dev team begins the project without guidance or a constructive vision – which is evidently a recipe for failure.
Software Project Management also brings all the stakeholders on the same page; it makes everyone aware of the project goals, the planned steps that will lead them to meet the goals, and the constraints that come with it. The scope of a software project depends on three crucial factors – cost, quality, and time. The aim of any development unit is to deliver a product of unfailing quality with the stipulated timeline and cost budget that the client has agreed to. These three factors are interlinked, and hence failing in one severely impacts the other two.
17% of IT projects can go so bad that they can threaten the very existence of the company Click To Tweet
Software Management Techniques You Need To Adopt
Software Project Management begins right after you hear out the development concept. A development firm should never overlook the starting phase of the project while focusing on the final product.
Here are a few Software Management Methodologies that can ensure success for your project:
1) Gather Project Requirements Diligently: A developer should always have a clear picture of what the end product will look like/ what the client expects it to look like. It’s not very wise to jump-start with a vague idea because, by all probabilities, not having a clear idea of what the stakeholders want to achieve with the software solutions will land you with the wrong product. The goal here is to add value to the firm that needs to plug-in software solutions.
At Radixweb, we value the initial stage of software development at very high stakes. Right from documenting the client’s needs and functional specifications – we start building the project blueprint at this stage.
2) Define A User Acceptance Criteria: It is essential that a development firm defines the scope of the project before beginning to work on it. Apart from knowing the stakeholder’s requirements, it is essential that some measurable metrics are set for the project on which the clients can later judge the viability of their software solution.
3) Assign Appropriate Resources: Resource matching is another crucial task for the development firm. Not every engineer in the team has the same level of skills and expertise that a software project demands. Hence, it becomes extremely essential to first chart out the capabilities required for the project completion and then choose the right people for each category.
A firm may not always have the essential skills in-team or at times lack any specific capability for the project development. In such cases, outsourcing that part is the best bet to speed up the development timeline. Some firms also look at training their in-house teams as per the deemed requirements. The development team can be a one-man army or one with several seniority levels of resources – it all depends on the scale of the software solution being developed.
4) Create Iterative Goals: Most legacy development businesses get caught in the whirlwind because they fail to break down the project into iterative parts. Right from the start, the finish line does look like one single objective, but only when the development process starts can one actually get a whiff of what detail planning the development requires. Thus, it is always advisable to break down the project into several sprints and milestones. This allows the firm to review the development on a smaller scale and troubleshoot if required, thus saving time in the longer run.
5) Transfer Ownership of Milestones: While a project manager is accountable for the entire development process, transfer of ownership is a must when working in sprints. The development team needs to feel accountable for whatever task they are assigned. Transferring each member with defined responsibilities eases the work of the project manager and empowers them to leverage their individual skillsets correctly.
6) Maintain Project Transparency With Stakeholders: It is extremely important to maintain a transparent line of communication with the clients and stakeholders about every sprint of the software project. Building a software solution is a work of approximation, and often firms exceed cost or time budgets that baffle the clients. Although this is natural, but development teams go wrong by not being clear about every concern they are experiencing.
If the client is informed of some deviation beforehand and the development team has their approval, it helps maintain a healthy client relationship for the future.
Importance Of a Project Manager
With time, more and more work scope is gradually turning project-based. Thus, all leading software development companies are hiring Project Managers with proven capacities. At Radixweb, we have built stupendous client relationships through able project managers who have belled many notorious cats!
The work of a project manager is majorly maintaining coordination between multiple departments, teams, and stakeholders to make sure that everyone is on the same page. It is not always possible even for experienced developers to foresee what roadblocks might arise in the development process. However, a project manager ensures that in spite of detours, the development gets back on track.
These days there are several professional qualifications like PMP or PRINCE2 that can make one eligible for the Project Manager’s job. But the most essential qualification remains a core understanding of technology and people management skills. At the core, the true goal of a project manager is to turn the project plan into action and ensure everyone in the team is on the same journey.
The funniest part about the software project management process is that it can seem invisible! Also, there is no defined way to determine the value of project management. However, if you are developing at pace and meeting your deadlines, if your workflow is smooth with minimum deviation, if your team is exhibiting the best of their efficiency and your software solution is gradually passing the testing phases and is taking a definitive shape – you know you have aced the project management game!
Also, not every success can be measured by monetary terms. So, if your dev team is happy with their learning and growth scope and moving beyond their set KPIs, you should know that you have unlocked a new benchmark for quantifying benefits.
Successful project planning and delivery can save your time & money, increase revenue, and help organizations achieve their goals effectively. So, if you are looking for a top notch custom software development company to implement this project planning, we have very talented Project Managers with years of experience delivering software projects successfully.