Software Development Project Planning – All you Need to Know

Software Development Project Planning

You may often overlook the software development plan, but it’s a vital part of the Software Development Life Cycle. It is very tempting to rush into development without proper planning and it can lead to miscommunication, delays, unexpected costs, and unsatisfactory results.

Whether large-scale enterprise software development or simple mobile app development, once you start working on a project, it’s important to establish the following:

  • Scope 
  • Requirements 
  • Budget 
  • Timeline 

Project Planning Process

The project planning process has the following phases:

Scope 

It is one of the most critical points as every project manager must accept the idea of a project that you build. All the key points are highlighted and discussed in this stage: project description, compliance criteria, assumptions, goals and results, and limitations. 

The software development project planning starts with the scope. It is very important to have a clear idea about what you are to develop or else you will end up wasting a lot of time and money. 

Requirements

You need to clearly list all the functions, main tasks, architecture description, business logic, and designs to communicate how it’s supposed to work to the development team. If you have trouble accomplishing it, it’s a good idea to engage a project manager to help you accomplish your task.

At this juncture, you need to make some sketches about why someone will use the product. You can take it a step further and display how it will be used through storyboards.

By doing so, you can turn these abstract situations into something more tangible. The sketches will also give you an opportunity to share your idea and get feedback from those who might potentially use the product.

Budget 

In order to create an accurate estimate, you need to divide the project into individual components and then estimate both the appropriate cost and timeline of those elements. Also, keep in mind that there are a number of variables that are subjective.

The list of requirements enables the software development team to come up with a rough estimate (based on experience). It may be too early to come up with a precise number, but this information can help you get an idea about the time and money required to complete the project. 

You can learn about – What is SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)?

Timeline 

The list of requirements also helps the software development team to make an educated guess about how long it will take to turn your idea into a functional product. But, your timeline must be based on milestones or scrums.

To manage this process effectively, the project manager or owner needs to have direct communication with the team to keep track of the progress. There are lots of project management tools (like TeamGant, Jira, Zoho projects, Asana, Wrike) available today, for the same approach to be effective in a remote setting too.

The time it would take to develop a mobile app or enterprise software is significantly relative to the project’s needs and the available resources. Like, for a simple mobile app, it can take anywhere from two to three months to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with two developers on board.

If you stop at this stage, you will leave the testing to the real users. Taking this path also adds a lot of pressure to quickly fix the errors. As a result, it makes a significant impact on your budget.

There is high-level of uncertainty in software development projects, but it’s crucial to have some sort of a plan. It may be impossible to have a highly elaborate plan with detailed requirements before you start developing it, but the effort you put into building the plan is invaluable.

The project plan may evolve during the Software Development Life Cycle, but writing it down at the beginning is the first step to ensure that both you and the development team are on the same page. It also works as a guideline to what you are trying to achieve.

Conclusion 

In the end, it’s imperative that you don’t try to force-fit all projects into a traditional plan. Instead, adapting it to each project and its requirements would be a better approach. 

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