Successful app development projects require focus and a thought-out software development plan to help guide the development team through the process. While having a software development plan is an essential foundation for any development project, creating one that best meets your needs can be a difficult task.
Luckily, there are a few common software development plans that are often used by development teams in order to stay on track and deliver high-quality software. Before we look at the common project plan models popular in the software development sector, let’s go over some tips that can help you craft your own development plan.
Tips for Creating a Software Development Plan
Whether you are working on web development or a mobile app, creating a project plan is an important part of ensuring that goals, budget, and expectations are met. A well-crafted development plan will help keep your team members focused and on track with project goals. Here are some tips you can use to help you create a thorough project plan:
- Clearly define goals
- Determine needs
- Craft a rough timeline
- Assemble a development team
Clearly Define Goals
Before you can begin any software development project, you need to define what your goals are. Typically, this will include your endpoint, the scope of the project, specific design details, etc. If you can’t clearly define the goals of your development project, you’ll only waste time and money as you try to clarify your ideas during development.
If you can clearly define your project goals, you have a better chance to accomplish them. Clear goals also help focus the efforts of your development team.
Once you have a clear understanding of the goals of your software development project, you can figure out what you’ll need in order to achieve them. You will need equipment, various team members with specific skills, time, and money.
Your needs will vary greatly based on the size and scope of your development project. Unless you have a lot of experience, making accurate estimates of your needs can be very difficult. Many people hire a project manager to help them with project management tasks and planning. A skilled project manager can help you gauge the resources you will need for your software development project.
Most organizations don’t have unlimited financial resources. Therefore, budget is one of the most crucial components of any software development project. If you were able to clearly define your goals and determine your needs, creating an accurate budget will be a lot easier.
The key concern for most organizations is managing costs without sacrificing results. Getting a clear understanding of your needs and goals will help you prepare for the financial investment of software development. The more accurate you are while planning your needs, the more accurate your budget will be.
Craft a Rough Timeline
Using your goals, needs, and budget, you can create a rough timeline for your development project. We say rough timeline because it is best to overestimate your time slightly because there is a lot of uncertainty in software development when it comes to timelines. Unforeseen issues may arise that push your timeline back. You should plan for the unexpected.
Planning for extra time helps keep your development team on time and budget. Plus, if no issues arise, you could potentially finish development ahead of schedule.
Assemble a Development Team
If you want to finish your software development project on time and budget, it is important that you assemble the right team. Finding the right people with the appropriate skills for your team can be difficult. A skilled project manager can assist in this endeavor. Also, consider if staff augmentation services are a good fit for your project.
If you fail to bring the right people into the project, you run the risk of failing to accomplish your goals on time. Building a skilled team might be one of the most challenging aspects of software development.
Your software development plan does not stop when the project is complete. You need to be planning for quality testing and, depending on the project specifications, ongoing maintenance and updates. Without quality testing, you can’t be sure that your development project really met the goals that you set for yourself.
We know how challenging creating a software development plan can be. If you really take the time to focus on your goals, needs, and assemble a development team, you will be able to budget and create a timeline that fits your project. Remember, a project manager can carry the burden of creating this plan and ensure that your software development project stays on track.
Common Software Development Plan Models
The above tips will be a part of any comprehensive development plan, but the way you go about accomplishing your software development project can vary based on your needs, development team, and more. Here are the common software development models many teams follow:
This is one of the most common and basic project plan models in software development. In this model, each step of the software development plan is done in order, one by one. First, you would define your goals, and next, you would determine your needs, and so on and so forth.
This model is dubbed the “waterfall” because often, each step overlaps with the next one. The plan flows down through the steps much like a waterfall. In this model, every step is planned and has an order for completion. This is one of the most rigid development plan models, but it works great for development teams that need to follow strict documentation or structure.
Agile is one of the most popular software development plan models in HiTech and app development circles. Agile is a dynamic approach to software development. In the previous example, development teams complete each step one at a time and in order. Agile is all about moving fast. Agile development teams work in “sprints” that often consist of weeks or a month or two.
The philosophy behind agile development is to build and release usable software for customers to review. Adjustments and edits can be made on the fly based on customer needs and feedback. Agile development is great for startups and development teams that are making constant updates. This method might not be great if you have a tight deadline or a very strict budget.
The incremental software development plan is somewhere between agile and waterfall. Incremental development starts with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and with each successive increment, new features are added based on customer feedback.
This is a great model because it gives development teams a chance to get feedback on their core features quickly and determine if their business case is valid or not. This is a great model for teams with clear goals that want more flexibility than the waterfall model offers.
This software development plan model is very similar to the incremental model. However, instead of releasing features in increments, the complete suite of features is released at once, and then each successive iteration is improved upon based on feedback.
This approach gives your development team and users an early look at what your app could look like. This is a great method for receiving product design feedback from users early on. This can save a lot of time, money, and energy since you get a feel for what your users actually want.
The V-shaped software development model is the classic waterfall model with a twist. Instead of saving the testing for the final step of the waterfall, the V-shaped model adds a testing step after each step in the development waterfall so that everything is thoroughly tested before moving on to the next step in the process.
This is a great model for projects that aren’t very large and have very specific scopes and requirements. The benefit of this approach is that you find issues and bugs early instead of at the end of the development process.
This method of software development takes aspects of the V-shaped, incremental, iterative, and agile models. There is a premium on testing and risk assessment but also on incremental and iterative improvements to the project. The scope of these models starts tight and spirals outwards as more steps are completed.
This is great for teams who want to avoid risk but also remain flexible. However, most development teams don’t use this method because it is time-consuming and costly. Most software development projects don’t have the time and budget to implement a spiral plan.
There are many different ways you can approach your software development plan, but before you can begin, you need to know what your end goals are. Once you have a clear vision, choosing a software development plan model won’t be too hard.
If you’re having trouble getting started, speak with a software development partner. They can help you create a plan, manage a project, supplement your team with skilled developers, and offer you industry experience and expertise.