One of the easiest methods to increase the productivity of your business is to automate processes through the use of computer software. It will boost the productivity of your business and will create a consistent system and methodology of doing things within the firm. Consistency is important because it offers a higher probability of getting the same results every time. The key to efficient software development lies in the timeliness of delivery, the method of development, as well as the applicability of the software produced.
However, software development is a very complex process, especially when it comes to meeting deadlines and project requirements. This is the reason it becomes necessary to work with a qualified professional who will guide you through the process. These professionals may be in the form of your business' in-house IT team, or an outsourced agency. The main challenge lies in which entity should you trust.
How to Avoid a Failed Software Development Project
While your in-house team may not have the capacity to handle such large projects, settling for an external agency has its own drawbacks. Every now and then, you will hear of a firm that outsourced their software development projects, only to lose their investment when it came to the delivery of the product. The contracted developer may disappear for months on end, and return with a product that does not meet your requirements or solve the problem in question.
The primary objective of developing software is to address a specific challenge. So, what do you do in order to avoid this? To ensure your company's software development project meets the set standards, follow the steps below.
1. Comprehensively plan the entire process
The basic principle for the success of any project, especially one involving the creation of software, is careful planning and preparation. This involves the prioritization of objectives, choosing an effective method for the software development, as well as choosing the best agency to work with.
Lay out smaller tasks that work together, completing a bigger function, to make the code efficient. Focusing on abstract concepts will enable you to create patterns that make the overall development process productive. It will also help you come up with quick solutions to the problem at hand.
2. Get in touch with your developer's references
Do not shy away from this step. You are not the first, and will not be the last, prospective client to ask for a reference. This is simply a way to look at your developer's operational portfolio. It is a good way to find out how the agency of your choice relates with its customers and how their clients feel about working with them.
It also gives you insight on how the developer handles the entire process, from proposal to delivery. However, it is important not to ask for developer references until you have settled on a specific agency. Developers do not want to waste their existing clients' time by requesting them to be ready as a reference if you are not serious as a potential customer. This shows how much the agency will value your time once you decide to work together.
3. Meet the development team
The next step after meeting with your developer's sales representative is to meet the actual development team. This will put you in a position to assess the dynamic of the team, and how well they work with each other. By gauging the team dynamic, you will get a preview of how the development project will go.
Sitting down with the delivery team will enable you to comprehensively outline the project objectives, how to achieve these goals and ensure that everyone understands expectations. It will also put you in a good position to explain the business side of the project.
If possible, meet the development team in your developer's workspace so you can observe how the team works as a unit.
4. Emphasize early and constant collaboration
This is collaboration between your developer, the internal stakeholders, and anyone else involved in the project. Fluid collaborative efforts are the key to the prosperity of any team. If you want to ensure the success of your project, it is necessary to insist on cohesion and collaboration from the beginning. It may come in the form of deciding on which problem to solve, and agreeing on the features of the software.
Continuous collaboration is made possible when you involve all parties from the beginning of the project, through every correspondence, meeting and project update.
5. Carry out progress checks on a weekly basis
It is important to carry out a short-run review and analysis of the project by meeting with your entire team on a weekly basis. This review will be even more beneficial if it involves the demonstration of working program code, as well as the discussion and implementation of new designs. It shows you trust in your team and helps the members build confidence with one another.
Conducting regular reviews will allow you to actualize agile software development. This is a system of software development where solutions are generated in an incremental manner through intense collaborative efforts.
Setting aside the time to discuss project insights and features will give you the ability to modify and correct any requirements, if needed. It will also show you what aspects of the project you have completed, and highlight anything posing a challenge and how to deal with it.
6. Involve your in-house tech team regularly
Although your in-house software developers may not have the capacity to handle the project, it is imperative to keep them in the loop throughout the entire process. The knowledge they possess is invaluable, and they can provide assistance with complex integrations that may pose a threat to the timely completion of the project. Your in-house developers also have more knowledge regarding the development of the software. They will know the right questions to ask the developer to ensure the system is functioning properly.
Continuously involving your in-house team will ensure the transition is smooth, because they already have information on the inner workings and maintenance requirements of the project.
7. Create a conducive work environment
A conducive work environment is one that is clean, neat and free of distractions. These distractions may be in the form of physical or digital clutter in the workspace, or time spent on the internet. Keeping the office neat and tidy will significantly contribute to the overall impact of your software, and your company by extension.
Maintaining reasonable working hours also contributes to a conducive work environment. If you overwork your team, you risk ending up with software that is full of errors. It will lead to you having to recheck the project several times, which increases the likelihood of failing to meet your deadline. By giving your team incentives and reasonable working hours, you will boost their efficiency and general productivity. They will be more focused and it will increase their ability to deliver products in a timely manner.
It is important for you to place as much emphasis on the human side of software development as you do on the technical side. A happy team will lead to increased productivity and the development of high-quality materials. Having a flexible and focused team will ensure your company will develop the latest, cutting-edge software technology.
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