Software development is exceptionally complex, whether you build software for various clients or develop your software products. When you collaborate with a client who is not a technical expert, you can find it challenging to explain why certain things don’t go as planned or why you need more resources. On the other hand, a client may need help understanding why you aren’t able to deliver a product within a set timeline despite your developers’ considerable efforts.
Planned software development is essential because the quality of the entire product depends on it. It allows you to allocate resources where they are most needed. Planned software development reduces delays, additional costs, low team morale, and customer dissatisfaction. It means developing a more reliable, time and cost-efficient product for both the client and the development team. This blog will walk you through why planned software development is important and what its further benefits are.
Planned software development is crucial in outsourcing, where an outsourcing software development partner should work in the client’s best interest and provide dedicated support and consultants. A client should keep its software development partner in the loop to ensure the success and continuous development of the product.
What is planned software development?
Planned software development helps better predict software deployment. It encompasses all the activities and resources needed to establish a timeline for a development project. Planned software development needs to have a clear structure and document everything from the concept, requirements, and project monitoring to the delivery of tasks, potential revisions, and risk management.
Why is planned software development important?
The main goal of software development planning should be to prevent issues and miscommunication and to ensure that both client and user requirements are met. Planned software development allows you to have a clear overview over:
- The functional purpose of the software product
- The priorities in features development
- The list of tasks and subtasks for the completion of requirements
- Clear roles and responsibilities for everyone on the team
- Resources and estimates
- The metrics that measure efficiency and quality of work
Planning software development will help you get a more accurate picture of the goals and specifications. Planned software development encompasses a complete project and product roadmap. Adhering to quality development standards will ensure delivering high-quality products to end users. A well-thought-out development plan will allow flexibility to accommodate changes and iterations without affecting the timeline.
Why will software development without a plan fail?
Without planning software development according to a software development cycle, you are likely to come across the following issues:
- People on the same team are not on the same page, especially regarding the “done” status for each step.
- Objectives are not accurately specified, and there is no clear understanding of what the software should do.
- A lack of in-depth understanding of the functions required by the product end users makes it impossible to plan for all variables.
- No agreement on how to handle work post-production in terms of bug fixing, new features, and updates.
- Lacking project management methodology that coordinates all the aspects of software development and ultimately ensures the project’s success.
- Overcoming costly and time-consuming hurdles every time you update individual software functionalities.
Why analysis and planning are the most critical stage of software development?
Analysis and planning are the first stage in software development that sets the foundation for the entire project. After gathering overall requirements from a client, the software development team will ensure the project’s feasibility. To do so, they need to:
- Define the goals – Defining the goals and the vision will help clarify the project’s outcome. Whether the software should automate tasks, optimize processes or increase productivity should be clear from the start.
- Create the team – Choosing the right people who bring their specific skills to the table will significantly contribute to the project’s success, especially when outsourcing specific tasks.
- Decide on the technical requirements – To successfully deliver the software product, you need to know what issue the software solves, who the end user is, what sort of data and integrations are needed and how the security is tackled.
- Decide on the milestones – It’s important to assign checkpoints for testing and feedback rounds to track how the project is going.
- Do the risk assessment – Developers, clients, and all parties included should try to identify problems that could slow down the process, and they should also take unforeseen circumstances into account.
- Budget estimation and timeline creation – It’s easier to provide a more precise estimate of the time and budget by breaking down work into tasks and subtasks and organizing sprint meetings.
Business and development goals should be aligned, but in software development, nothing is set in stone since it is such a complex process where adaptability is the key. That being said, detailed planning will help follow the schedule and prevent too many issues from arising.
What are some key planning principles in software development?
Following principles are often overlooked, but applying them could make everyone’s life easier when it comes to planned software development.
#1 Project managers should consult developers when setting the deadlines
Suppose a project manager doesn’t take into account the experience and capabilities of the development team when setting the project deadline. In that case, the discrepancies between the planned and actual product delivery dates tend to be huge. A project manager shouldn’t set deadlines based solely on clients’ ideas, desires, and requests but needs to properly understand the scope and specifics of the tasks.
#2 Break the project into smaller stages
Every stage should have a clear goal, and there should be a mandatory discussion of the results. Only that way will you use the working potential of the team to the maximum and avoid working hard just before the deadline. This approach ensures a high level of motivation and efficiency among developers throughout the entire software creation, and it increases the probability of achieving the set goals.
#3 Team members should interact closely
Regular communication between members of the team ensures coordinated work and team spirit. It stimulates mutual assistance and increases the sense of the significance of the performed work. Good communication between team members will also improve the team’s understanding of what to do and what needs to be achieved in the end.
#4 Take the variability of external conditions into account
You cannot foresee and plan for all the situations that might arise throughout the software development process. However, it would help if you allocated some time for new customer requirements, holidays, testing, the time needed to debug the software, etc. Only that way the development team won’t have to rush and consequently make mistakes.
#5 Prioritize tasks and don’t rush software development time
Implement the most important functionalities first, and remember that you might need to sacrifice some features in the development process. Reduction of software development time and a sharp acceleration of work operations can sabotage the work process and lead to professional burnout. Trying to pull any deadline can increase the number of errors in the code and create the need for even more time for debugging. When you plan carefully, you save the time needed for that at the beginning.
Planning software development takes time, but planning is just as important as executing and, at times, even more so. Planning keeps software development aligned with the budget, resources, and deadlines. It helps to achieve the set goals and ensures clear and effective communication.
If you outsource software development to a reliable partner, your partner is in charge of the planning and the entire software development cycle. Sipod is an outsourcing partner that will keep you in the loop about regular progress checks, achieved milestones, and targets. Your product development will be in the right hands as we will ensure that the resources are used optimally and within the agreed time frame and budget.