Software Project Plan for 2023
by Seven Peaks on Apr 22, 2022 10:51:00 AM
10 simple steps to successfully building and carrying out your software project plan
We asked Mark, our current Lead Scrum Master at Seven Peaks Software: In his opinion, what are the critical points for developing a successful software project plan based on his experience?
Please keep in mind that this is bound to be heavily biased because it is based on personal experience. Agile is concerned with delivering the greatest value to the end-user (not the customer) at any point in time.
For an Agilest, the ten steps would be as follow:
At all times, everyone (including the customer) must be aware of what everyone else is doing. This is typically concealed from the customer under Waterfall.
At the end of each Sprint, we examine how we completed the task and look for ways to improve the process. We define metrics in order to quantify efficiency.
Following each inspection, we team new processes (or variations of their use); if they work, we keep them; if they don’t, we scrap them and try something else the following sprint.
4) Agile Customer
Obviously, the customer must comprehend the Agile transition and, ideally, be agile themselves. If this is not the case, the project will either run for a short period of time and then fail, or it will be run from the start as a Waterfall project, and its competitors will almost certainly win the race.
In agile, we don’t aim for perfection (perfection is subjective), but rather for being good enough as quickly as possible.
5) Agile Company
Furthermore, the software company must understand and support Agile.
Initially, a company is likely to be too small to select its customers and will instead focus on Waterfall projects. Later in their lifecycle, they should adapt to become agile; that is, the commercial side should find ways to sell more agile projects while reserving Waterfall for mission-critical systems only.
We trust that everyone is professional and will perform the task for which they have been trained efficiently. When I request an estimate from a developer, both the customer and I place our trust in the value provided.
Under Waterfall, if a developer indicates that something will take two months, it is common for the PM to either pad (increase) or slash (cut) the time estimate, depending on the commercial environment.
We will never, ever compromise on quality for the sake of features. Because software by definition has the potential to be buggy, we do not want to take shortcuts.
8) Competent Product Owner
The product owner is the central figure in a Scrum project; this position is relatively new (about 20 years old), and there is a severe shortage of competent Product Owners.
Many companies simply design product owners’ responsibilities to PMs, which is incorrect – PMs make the worst product owner due to their initial training as Waterfall managers. They simply cannot break free of old habits. Good POs are unicorns, and it is common for good POs to earn more than doctors.
9) Scrum developers
Developers with Scrum experience are difficult to find – and once found, they are difficult to retain due to their high demand.
10) Continuous Integration / Continuous Development
In Scrum, we are anti-handoff and advocate for increased parallelization.
Organizations must work faster and deliver more value in 2023. Agile product development promises to aid in the acceleration of product delivery and the continuous improvement of customer satisfaction.
The Definitive Guide to Creating and Implementing an Effective Software Project Plan
Gathering Specific Requirements
Gathering requirements is the cornerstone of any software project. They are extensive listings and explanations of individual program actions.
Clearly-defined requirements are perhaps one of the most important things in writing your software project plan. Software that doesn’t satisfy the customer’s demands or match their business process flow is the outcome of poor requirements management.
Requirements are split into two broad categories, Functional and Non-Functional:
Functional are things like reporting, interactions with users, signs in, etc.
Non-functional are security, database schema, and storage requirements.
This should be done in full consultation with the consumer. That’s why the program addresses business flows. Every stage of the procedure should be specified and recorded.
Agile projects begin with pre-planning. An Agile project starts with a project vision and product roadmap which outlines very broad feature sets (for example; the user can sign in with Social Login, the user can pay with Visa, the user can take a photo, and the user can scan a QR. No more details are required.) As well as, a business case.
Plan releases and iterations. The organization can decide to release each iteration to the customer individually or as a group. Release planning can be done immediately after the product backlog is created or after the first iterations.
- This ensures that each iteration can be completed within the timeframe specified in the product backlog. Then they assign iterations (release backlog).
- Every release delivers a usable product.
- The dates for the release milestones and the final product can determine using this release plan (time).
- The total project cost is determined by the number of iterations and the labor cost of the Agile team. Expenses for overhead and materials must be added.
Agile project planning prioritizes the next iteration.
After each iteration, the project team meets to plan the next iteration’s content (iteration backlog). The team confirms the product backlog and the priority of the listed features at the start of the meeting.
Reprioritization occurs when the team is unsure of the current order of features in the product backlog. The development team selects features from the product backlog they believe can be completed within the next iteration.
The team then determines initial task sequencing, assigns task owners, and estimates tasks (time). The team may discover that the effort to complete the chosen features exceeds the iteration time. As a result, features may be removed or added. Restoring functionality to the product backlog may require reprioritization.
A software project plan must include effective communication, which is particularly critical at the start of a project.
Clients should clearly communicate their product requirements and vision. Your input ensures the development team builds exactly what you want. Clearly define your work scope so everyone is on the same page. Clear communication increases the likelihood of a successful software project.
A clear and consistent agreement helps avoid confusion, delays, and mistakes in software projects.
Communication is essential at every stage of the project. There should be a dedicated communication channel for understanding concerns, successes, and project updates. Some examples of channels to use with the team are Slack, Skype, Email, etc.
A crucial factor in a team’s productivity, hence it should be considered initially. The team size will be determined by the project complexity, budget, resources, and deadlines.
Roles and Duties
Clearly defining individual and group roles and responsibilities allow for effective growth and increases team transparency. Before you do anything, know who to call in certain scenarios. Know who is accountable for what if the customer has many contacts. However, the makeup of your team will be heavily influenced by the goal of your software development process.
Hiring the right people
In the end, the quality of the software development team you construct will decide the project’s success. Selecting the proper team members increases your chances of finding the ideal partners to help you in bringing your vision to reality.
To construct a collaborative team of talented developers, a clear and well-structured recruiting strategy is essential. When interviewing applicants, pay attention to their personality attributes as well as their ability to fit into your company’s culture. Some of the following includes:
Great minds, great attitude – There’s nothing better than working with individuals who are constantly excited to collaborate and produce outstanding work with an outstanding level of innovation and initiative. A good attitude at work increases productivity, as well as eases interpersonal relationships, and reduces unneeded disputes.
Teamwork – The effectiveness of software development is strongly determined by excellent communication and connection between team members. To share experiences and listen to colleagues’ comments, you will need good communication skills as well as strong technological abilities.
Adaptability and learning zeal– Well-rounded developers are continually on the lookout for new technologies and opportunities to extend their expertise. It is also vital to swiftly adapt to the corporate culture and working environment.
Design & Prototyping
The product requirements that a team has at the start of the design process can change during product development. Use cost-effective methods to get design ideas in front of customers early in the design process. Repeat fast design-and-test cycles to discover user needs, prioritize user priorities, and let users test your innovative ideas. Having shorter timeframes before a release also helps keep teams focused during the Agile process.
Here are 7 fundamental principles to successfully adopting Agile product design methodology:
Executives are available to help UX designers
A few things executives who value their UX design will do are:
Including UX designers in early project planning and listen to design practitioners.
There are fewer unexpected requests. The lack of a planned backlog affects sprint planning and ultimately team performance. With Agile management tends not to disrupt planned activities (to the best of their ability).
They allow time for user research and testing.
Executives believe that good user research leads to a better product with time and resources.
The team must be multifunctional
Designers work alongside other team members (developers, marketers, etc). This fosters teamwork and ownership of the project.
A well-managed product backlog and project planning are essential
A product backlog lists features a team hopes to include in a final product. Agile product designers must carefully prioritize their backlog. All tasks should be valued by their users. Individual tasks can benefit from using tools like user personas and empathy maps. When product designers clearly define the target audience’s needs and desires, it becomes much easier to identify features that add value to them.
There are precise estimates of when the next release will occur
It is critical to estimate both the time required to design features (the design team’s efforts) and the time required to code those features (the efforts of the development team).
The design process is supported by research and testing
Which means that the team should spend as little time as possible on user research and testing while still getting a lot out of it. User interviews and field research are very helpful here.
Design and development are iterative processes
Incremental processes. In other words, large product releases (referred to as milestones) should be divided into smaller, more manageable chunks. Iteratively validated products are designed to meet the needs of users and businesses.
Constant communication is key
Development & Coding
The preceding phase’s design acts as the system’s blueprint, supplying much of the information required by the software developer. The software engineer will translate the design into code.
Debugging is the process of finding and fixing code bugs. Most programming languages today support compiling a “debug” version. For software engineers, the “debug” version allows them to walk through the code, create breakpoints, inspect variable values, and get debug information about the code.
Although the software engineer is the designer, it is critical to have a precise design since tiny mistakes can lead to large errors. During the coding phase, don’t be afraid to meet with the customers if clarification or refinement of a requirement is required. After the code is stable, it is compiled and utilized for system testing.
Measuring Success and Tracking Progress
Essentially, metrics should be viewed as a tool for testing hypotheses that both support a specific goal and provide answers that aid in driving improvements. Remember, it is not worth measuring if you can’t do anything with the data.
Project analytics, also known as development analytics, are critical tools for identifying and removing potential or existing roadblocks during the software development life cycle. You cannot manage the project effectively without these measurements to collect and provide valuable data.
You must define software metrics in order to measure and monitor performance. These metrics should be established at the start of the project’s development to ensure a smooth and consistent workflow.
Success can be measured in a variety of ways: alignment with project objectives, developer compliance with initial requirements, and the value created by the end product for your company and its customers.
The challenge is that “value” or “quality” can be measured in a variety of ways, including usability, dependability, structural integrity, and so on.
Measuring progress in an IT project is critical for both the client and the software development team. For obvious reasons, the client wants to know how things are going, but it also helps developers focus and prioritizes. This increases team involvement and responsibility for the end result.
Testing and Quality Control
Quality assurance is a method of monitoring the software engineering processes in the software development process. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as with ISO 9000 or a model like Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). In some cases, the software is used to fix errors.
Deployment to Production
A deployment plan anticipates post-delivery actions.
This deployment plan helps him better understand how the itinerary will unfold in real-time and how to both anticipate and manage potential conflicts. Consider a few things before you start your deployment plan. These will help you plan and execute your project more efficiently.
Starting with the end-user – When deploying software, consider your customers’ ease of use. You should do so before releasing it to the public. Getting feedback from people who aren’t involved in the software development process helps find bugs before they cause unhappy customers. Communicating with end-users means communicating before launch. Remind them that this is a new product that may need fixing. Encourage them to be patient as the new service is launched and invite their valuable feedback.
Keeping track of your version – You’ll probably go through several versions of your product as you prepare for launch. Version control in project cycle management accounts for this. Both external documents (like updating your software guide) and internal documents (like a log of coding changes for your next software release) can be included here.
Are changes worth it?– “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” Creating new products or changing existing ones can be a big task with unintended consequences like new bugs for your customers. Software deployment planning should consider whether an update is worth the trouble or not.
Maintenance and Support
Don’t forget to list this last crucial step in your software project plan, as when you launched your product, the operations and maintenance routine begins.
Bug fixes, user assistance, and feature requests are examples of support services, while patches and data updates are examples of maintenance. Determine the client’s maintenance and support needs. Many types of maintenance and support are available depending on the software product and the customer’s needs.
Preventing maintenance and support issues is critical to keeping customers happy and retaining future funding.
The key distinction is that a waterfall project is a fixed, linear plan. Everything is pre-planned, and customers only interact at the project’s start and end.
With the Agile method, however, new priorities and requirements are added to the project after sprints and customer feedback sessions.
We are here to assist you from creating a software project plan to accomplishing your software development project, whether you are new to the Agile process or have prior experience with Agile and Scrum. At Seven Peaks Software, we design, build, and manage Agile projects using Design-Thinking-informed methodologies that contribute to the creation of products that customers will love.
Discover additional information about our software development services.