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How to start a software development project?

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Starting a project requires the involvement of both – the development team and the client. However, very often, the initial stages of the software project are treated very carelessly. It’s a big mistake. They aim to clarify the goals, establish the rules of cooperation, and precisely define the conditions and tasks to be fulfilled by the final product. Preparation is the foundation of any software development project. Only an appropriate approach can ensure the expected final result – your new product.

 

Therefore, we present a shortlist of issues which, when considered before and at the beginning of the project, will ensure that in the future everything will go according to plan and exactly as you imagined it.

 

Define your goal

 

The first one may sound trivial, and many people see it as something insignificant. This approach leads to a lot of misunderstandings between the client and the team. It results in delays and functionality different from the expectations. This is why it’s essential to ask these questions as early as possible: 

  •  What do we want to achieve with our product? 
  •  What problems is it supposed to solve? 
  •  What is its context, and who is its target? 

 

The definition of needs, objectives, and expectations for a product often seems obvious. While in many cases it is not. Therefore, we offer our help in this area from the very beginning of cooperation with each of our customers. We start the initial work on the project with a brief document. It consists of many questions and examples of answers. Thanks to that our customers can provide us with the information we need to start working on a project properly. It usually happens that this document allows our clients to have a deep insight into the essence of their plan. It’s crucial because, in the long run, it enables us to complete the project with the expected success and on time.

 

What is more, at Applover we start each project with a series of workshops. Project managers and UX designers who, thanks to their experience, provide support in defining the purpose of the project take part in this procedure. From the very beginning, our team assists in identifying the foundations and critical issues. This part is necessary to start a project that will be successful in the future.

 

project management

 

Specify budget and schedule 

 

Once you know what the purpose of your project is and what its direct result should be, the next step is to set a deadline and budget for your product. These are fundamental issues not only for you but also for your project manager and all team members. Often the project’s deadline is a point at which the finished product will be used to apply for further business development funding. If this is the case for you, make sure to inform about it at the beginning. Establish whether it is likely to complete the project before this deadline, taking into consideration the risks which may arise during development.

 

Know the risks

 

It is worth getting to know them regardless of whether the implementation of the project makes receiving funding conditional on its further development or not. It is you who set the deadline for the project to be completed. The project manager, together with the whole team, must identify the risks that may arise on the way to receiving the final version of the project. The identification of risks, assumptions, problems, and dependencies will be possible if all team members know exactly what your goals and expectations are. Ask what aspects of project delivery may constitute real risks and how the team will deal with them.

 

At Applover, before starting the development, our team meets to brainstorm together. It aims to precisely identify all areas that may generate any risks and problems on the way to achieving the goal. This part is significant because the team that will work on your project consists of experienced specialists. They can identify risks and problems you would not even consider. Therefore, be open to what they say. If something is unclear, be sure to ask for clarification. That’s the only way to avoid misunderstandings and surprises when the final version of a given development phase is delivered later than you expected.

 

Meet your team members

 

From day one, make sure that you understand each of the team members’ roles and responsibilities. This knowledge will improve your communication in the long run. You will know who to contact to dispel doubts, make any comments, or simply receive the updates you need. Once it is clear to you which part of the team is coding your application or website and who is responsible for providing reports and information, you can be sure that both – you and the whole team will enjoy working together more effectively.

 

software development

 

Try to understand what scrum and agile software development mean

 

The development of your project will probably be divided into several phases according to agile or scrum methodology. Each phase will lead to a different result. Don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation. You should understand what each of the development phases means. Get to know what specific results you can expect from them, and which functionality will be implemented later. Knowing the goals for each of the development stages will save you and the team significant amounts of time and prevent misunderstandings.

WONDERING HOW TO START A SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT?

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Find out what the word “done” means

It is obvious that when you start a project, you want it to be complete and successful. But what does that mean? Imagine a situation in which the clients do not understand the development process. They are not aware of what they can expect after each of its stages. Such a situation can cause various frustrations. They’re caused by the lack of knowledge about what the developers are working on in a given phase and the implementation of what functionality you can expect at a given moment. It seems evident that the whole project won’t be ready right away. So it’s worth establishing and understanding what you can expect from the developers at a given moment.

 

Establish transparent communication

 

The next step is to determine how to communicate. Get to know the team members. Understand who you should contact to clarify doubts or find answers about the project. In the beginning, it’s essential to agree on organizational matters. Which apps to use while communicating with members of the team, with whom to arrange formalities. Who to contact once you see something’s going not exactly as you wanted. This will later result in more fluid communication, effective work of the developers, and a satisfying result. Project managers at Applover use proven methods and tools, which are successively adjusted individually to the needs of customers, the specificity of the project, and the technology. Access to tools that help in communication with developers is mostly free of charge, and they are intuitive to use. 

 

For communication between the team members and clients, we use Slack. It is quite similar to the Facebook messenger and pretty easy to use. It does a great job for daily communication, extending real-time text messaging with features such as file attachments and voice calls. Of course, we can’t forget about video conferences, emails, and traditional phone calls. We use all of them to improve communication and efficiently convey project summaries. Our customers have the opportunity to participate in video conferences along with the whole team working on the project. During such conversations, clients receive an update on what elements are ready and what are the next steps. It is also a great time to ask questions about the project or to inform about the willingness to make corrections changing the original arrangements.

 

software development project

 

On the other hand, for project management, we use Trello and Jira. Tools based on the Kanban method. They allow us and the clients to see what the project’s progress is, what developers are working on right now, and what to expect in the next phase. Nonetheless, if you find the functionality of any given tool to be unclear, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. Understanding your tools will have an impact on both the quality of the product and development time.

 

Think about the future of your software development project

 

Think of the future right from the beginning. The precise communication of your goals and expectations towards the project will affect the final result, your satisfaction, and your achievement. For cooperation, select an experienced team that will stand up to the challenge of implementing the project in your chosen technology. Alternatively, a team that has worked on similar projects in the past will be able to advise you what technology stack will work best for your project. 

 

If you have a software development project in your plans, you must know that in many cases, it is a huge undertaking. That’s why the preparation beforehand should be taken very seriously. The team working on your project will approach it much more thoroughly when they fully understand the idea of your product, deadlines, and goal. On the other hand, you will be grateful for taking the time to identify all relevant issues at the beginning. Your commitment will, in turn, result in timely completion of the project, built exactly as you envisioned it.

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