A successful software development project relies on a lot of things going right. There are always a lot of plates spinning, and it can be hard to manage all of them simultaneously.
Some of the biggest challenges faced in software development are miscommunication, poorly defined goals, and lackluster planning. Any of these things can sink a project before it’s even finished, and often all three are happening to some degree.
Below, we’re going to talk about some of the fundamental principles that can help overcome the many challenges faced throughout the lifecycle of a software development project.
Assemble Your Team Wisely
Before anything else, it’s important to assemble a team that has the right skills for the job. Make sure your specialists are experienced in the relevant areas for your project.
Hire developers that are fluent in the relevant programming languages and a project manager with experience in agile management and software development projects.
Building your team with people who aren’t the right fit for your specific project could lead to a lot of costs and delays down the road.
Define the Meaning of “Finished”
It’s vital to plan out the end result of your project as thoroughly as possible. What will it look like? How will it function? What does it provide to the user? The more completely you can answer these questions before development begins, the better your chances of having a complete project.
Often times, a development project is “finished,” but there is missing functionality, copy, graphics, or a lack of responsive design. This is because, while everybody may have finished their assigned tasks on the project, the tasks weren’t designed properly to meet the desired finished product.
Another pitfall of not having a clearly defined end result is longer development times or feature creep, where things continue to be added on at the last minute. This is a surefire way to miss your deliverable dates.
Establish Lanes of Communication
In software development, it’s far too easy for teams to become siloed and isolated from each other. This can lead to a lot of disparate components that don’t fit together well at the end, creating a sort of Frankenstein’s monster.
It’s important to establish channels for communication at the beginning of the project. Schedule regular check-in meetings with everybody involved, as well as 1-on-1s with team leads.
Everybody should have open access to everybody else for questions and clarification as often as the need arises.
Use a Version Control System
Version control systems are vital to any software development project. They track every change to the software and make it easy to find what happened when.
At the beginning of your project, make sure the entire project team is on board with your chosen version control system and educated in how to use it. Staying on top of changes is a must to avoid an inevitable tangled mess if people aren’t tracking their work.
It’s often easy to overlook the importance of documentation, and in often cases developers will overlook it until the end stages of the project.
Maintaining documentation as the project progresses keeps it easy and accurate, whether it’s user documentation, troubleshooting instructions, or project specifications.
Also, it’s usually a good idea to have a technical writer on staff to create and maintain the documentation. While the engineers and programmers may be the subject matter experts, that doesn’t mean they’re capable writers and having them maintain the documents can take away from their focus on their primary tasks.
BestWeb is a company built around maintaining the fundamental keys to success in software development projects. We have the expertise, the experience, and the skills to tackle any project with the utmost confidence in our ability to deliver successfully. If you’re looking for custom software development or if your business needs to hire a web application developer, please contact us today for a free consultation.