9 Steps to Your Successful Software Project

If you’re in the software development business, you may wonder if there is any way to make your projects more successful. How do other companies do it?

by Lauren Schneidewind on November 13, 2016

LD Studios helps businesses grow and solve their problems by designing software products and web applications for clients of any size – from entrepreneurial startups and small businesses, to global Fortune 500 corporations.

If you’re a business owner or manager, you may wonder what’s involved in creating a new software product – a product you might need such as a new online store, automated delivery, or more efficient billing. How does the software company do it?

If you’re in the software development business, you may wonder if there is any way to make your projects more successful. How do other companies do it?

Here’s a summary of the 9-step process that LD Studios uses for a successful software project:

Step 1: Exploration Meeting

The client and the team meet face-to-face to discuss the future product: the problem, goals, payment, technology, and communication.

The Project Manager and the Senior Developer analyze the gathered information and produce a preliminary estimate.

As soon as agreement is reached on all important issues, the software company creates a contract. Both parties meet to sign the contract.

Step 2: Gather Your Best Team

For the client, this is the time to choose who will be the point person and who will attend weekly meetings.

For the software company, this is the time to choose the development team, based on the skills required to successfully complete the project.

At this time, look for any qualification or training gaps. If gaps exist, solve the problem by arranging trainings, or find outside contractors to join the project team. Client staff might need training too.

Be brave enough to create a smart mix of junior, intermediate, and senior level specialists. Experience shows that some great ideas come from unexpected places.

Step 3: Start Work

Make a project plan, and share it with the client. The project is broken down into a series of tasks, also called milestones. Progress on the project is tracked against the plan.

Organize work by using sprint planning, in other words, everything that needs to happen during a specific time frame.

For example, a two-week sprint might include daily 5-minute phone calls, a weekly Monday meeting, short-term deadlines, and budget checks.

Track the tasks that are part of each sprint on a board, where items such as coding progress, quality assurance checks, and client approvals are included.

Step 4: Keep the Ball Rolling

Create specification of the product. This is keeping track of all the data on the project.

Assign a designer to work on user interaction scenarios – examples of how staff members and customers will interact with the new product. Create sketches and find solutions to potential problems and limitations.

Produce models and a prototype - a working sample of the product. This gives a better understanding of how a user will experience the product. Include additional documentation.

Step 5: Focus on the Project Scope

Do your best to avoid a change of direction during the project. If that happens, the plan may be derailed, deadlines might be missed, and the budget will most probably be exceeded.

If a change is inevitable, make sure to determine new milestones, as well as document the new plan and project details. Decide on the best way to change the team’s focus and adjust all resources.

Inform the client and staff involved in the project about the requested change.

Step 6: Show Your Demo

Include a demonstration of the ongoing work in the project plan. The best time to show a demo is at the end of each sprint or milestone.

Give opportunities for your client to get a visual on the work process. Make sure that project goals are achieved and if necessary – make corrections.

After the demo comes the retrospective, which means going back to Step 1 and analyzing how to improve your work.

Step 7: Pre-Implementation and Implementation Stage

Mockups of the project begin by following the initially approved plan, which should include parameters for development and testing.

The last milestone before implementation is testing, to make sure the product works exactly right.

Product release and implementation. Involve the client in determining timing for when the new product will be activated for use, known as the release.

After the new product is released and the project is successful, leave the source code specifications and documentation with the client.

Step 8: Project Closure

The Project Manager will complete a final checklist to make sure that the project is closed according to process.

Some of the checklist items are:
- Final project status
- Financial reports
- Project review
- Staff performance evaluations
- Completion and storage of project file

Step 9: Post-Release Services

The collaboration between the software company and the client often continues after the end of the project. The client may need post-release service on the current project. Also, there might be future projects to be developed.

Post-release services include support and maintenance of the software product. Very often, the product is developed further, new versions are created, and user experience is regularly improved.

With LD Studios our client’s get highly qualified Project Managers, Developers, and Consultants, who have extensive experience in applying the 9-step approach. Delivering software projects, even very complex ones, on time and on budget is our specialty. Hire us!

We are LD Studios, an Atlanta based software consulting business. We would love to hear from you! Please contact us for your free consultation.

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