from our blog
Tips for Software Development projects
Embarking on a software development project?
Here are 5 mission-critical traps to avoid.
1. Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth
There will be a ‘perfect’ number of people who should work on your software development project.
In software development, adding extra people to the task to speed up development can actually slow down the project down and even cause errors and quality issues. It is the nature of software development that many tasks simply can’t be split up amongst several software developers or done by multiple teams.
We’ve heard software developers call this the ‘pregnant woman mistake’, and we think it’s a pretty perfect analogy. That is, just because one woman can have a baby in 9 months doesn’t mean that 9 women can have a baby in one month!
When you embark on a software development project, keep this in mind – some tasks simply have to be done ‘one foot in front of the other’, so patience and good planning is key.
2. The Software Development Triangle
In any software development project, there are three constraints – Time, Cost and Scope. When one changes, the others must also change.
As a client, you should decide at the very outset of your software development project which of the pillars is most important to you. Is it the timeframe - how quickly this new piece of software can be completed and usable in your business? Is it the cost – how low you can keep the price for this new software? Or is it the scope - the extent of the software, all the features it should include, etc.?
For example, if you want your project delivered on a tighter schedule, you know you may be prepared to sacrifice some measure of quality (perhaps lose a couple of less-important features) or to ‘buy’ more resources to speed up the work.
A good software development company will plan your project like an international yacht race. Every team member has their parts to play, and the timing of these parts is crucial. Dependencies and deadline dates are mapped out in detail, so that your project can coast along like a well-oiled machine. If any aspect does not go to plan, there will most certainly be knock-on effects for the entire plan.
And while your Project Manager will mitigate these effects, as a client embarking on a software development project you must understand that if you miss your deadlines in the project, or add new features that were not in the original scope, there will be some kind of consequence. It is likely that the deadline date will have to be moved out, or perhaps in order to still deliver on time, a feature will have to be removed.
3. Keep it Granular
Your software development team should never show you broad estimates, or if they do, they should also have very granular estimates prepared for you to see if you request them.
If the software developers are not breaking tasks down into small enough pieces and then estimating each of those, they might as well be guessing. Always ask to see the full workings of any estimate you’re given.
4. The Communication Porridge
It is vital to establish a strong flow of communication on any software development project, making sure everyone is on the same page. As the client, you should feel like you know exactly what is going on and where the project is at, at all times.
The less you feel like you’re in the loop, the less confident you feel and it becomes very easy and tempting to start trying to micromanage the project...
Which brings us to our next point – over-communication. There is a point at which too much communication with the software developers is, well, too much! There is a certain amount of trust that needs to shared in any website or software project, and the software developers need uninterrupted time to get on with the job.
A good software development company will appoint a Project Manager whose responsibility it is to bridge that gap between software developers and client, regularly updating everyone on the team with targeted information. For a successful software development project, there must be someone to ensure that the communication is optimal - not too hot, not too cold - from go to whoa.
5. Process as a Leash
A certain amount of process is vital in any software development project, and as a client you should be concerned if your software development company doesn't have set processes!
A good Project Manager will ensure you understand the process and that everyone in the team is following it. But they'll also know when to loosen the leash, too.
We saw a project recently where even the very simplest of changes required that a formal change request form be filled out in triplicate and distributed to several parties, discussed and then agreed upon by all…and then scheduled!
Too much process kills passion for the project, and dampens creative and critical thinking. If someone has a great solution for an aspect of the software, they should be free to discuss and explore it at the very least, unencumbered by red tape! And remember, the more time that is spent on process, the less time spent on actual work.
At Totali, we’re software developers, but we’re people first – and business people at that. We know how important it is to understand your business goals and challenges, and we also take the time to help you understand how we work. The result is a software development process that you will feel confident in from Day One to Deadline. Click here to contact our software development team.
This post covers a number of ways you can increase sales through your ecommerce website. It introduces the ecommerce revenue calculator, and then talks about different ways to improve the different metrics used the calculator. It provides you with a very clear understanding of how to manage your ecommerce website to drive more traffic.
One of the hottest topics in business right now is the relentless rise of ecommerce and the corresponding impact it is having on bricks and mortar retail businesses. Consequently, many business people who own retail and wholesale businesses are starting to look at how to join them, rather than try and beat them. This post provides an overview of the things you need to think about when setting up an ecommerce store. You can use this article as a...
Many businesses are completely wasting their money because they don’t understand how online advertising works, how to measure its effectiveness or how to improve its success rate.