Great software doesn’t happen by accident. It doesn’t spontaneously appear when you combine developers with time. It’s the result of a software development plan, and if you don’t have a well-thought-out, robust strategy already in place, your project is in danger of going off the rails. Not sure what’s involved with creating a software development plan in today’s world? Below, we’ll discuss what you need to know about building one in 2022.
Why Does Having a Software Development Plan Matter in the App Development Process?
Why is it so crucial that you have a full-fledged software development plan? Simply put, the absence of such a plan is the primary reason for software projects to fail. Without a plan, you lack a timeline for creation, progress checkpoints to ensure alignment, and any way to ensure that your project stays on course.
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Of course, missing a software development plan is only one of the reasons that your project might crash and burn. Some of the other common reasons for failure include the following:
- No or poor communication
- No accountability
- A lack of leadership
- No or poorly defined goals
- The app doesn’t solve a problem
- Lack of testing
- Lack of user feedback
The good news is that a software development plan, when properly developed, can eliminate those possibilities, too.
Exploring Software Development Plan Options: The Center of the App Development Process
The key to a successful project, whether we’re talking about a consumer-facing app, a business web app, or something else, is a clearly defined software development plan (SDP). Your plan should be much more than just a list of milestones. It should include all the details required for the entire app development process. Some of the things that you should list in your SDP include the following:
- Planning and ideation
The goal here is simple. A robust plan gathers all necessary information into a single place to maximize control over the project and ensure alignment between the initial vision and the outcome.
Choose the Right Model
You’ll find a wide range of different software development models in use today, and they are not all the same. Some of the most frequently used include the following:
- Big Bang
For most development projects, the Agile method might be the best suited. Iterative and waterfall methodologies can also be beneficial. However, you’ll need to make an informed decision regarding the framework, as it will affect every aspect of your app development process.
Tools You Will Need
In addition to the information laid out in your software development plan and the development model you choose, you’ll also need the right tools. Some of those include the following:
- Gantt Charts
- Mind Maps
- PERT Charts
- Status Tables
Before You Begin
Before laying out your software development plan, you must consider several factors.
Your Audience: One thing that cannot be encapsulated in a Gantt chart or status table is your audience. The entire app development process must be geared toward creating something specific for your target audience. You must understand their needs and create an app that solves their problems. Anything less will fail.
Manage Your Communications: There are a few things as critical to the app development process as communication. You need clear, direct, ongoing communication between individuals, across and between teams, and to/from stakeholders and decision-makers.
User Interface: If your app looks like it’s from the 2000s, it doesn’t matter how well it operates. You must ensure that the user interface offers a positive experience, is designed for real people, and functions smoothly and predictably.
Know Your Risks: All app development processes face some risks. Know those that pertain to your specific project. Do you need to be concerned about HIPAA? What about other rules and regulations? How concerned should you be about potential fraud?
Creating Your Software Development Plan
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to create your software development plan. We’ll get a 30,000-foot view of the situation below.
1. Your Introduction
The introduction is generally where you identify the purpose of the project, as well as other elements of the app development process. What is your objective? What is the scope? What references will be used?
Next is the overview of the project. Here, you’ll create a summary of the app development process, including your UX requirements, software requirements specifications, the project’s purposes, constraints, and the deliverables (the finished app/software).
How will your project be organized? What’s the structure? How will communication flow? What is your overall workflow like? What are the roles involved, and what are each role’s responsibilities?
Now it’s time to get into the hierarchy of everything. Who answers to whom? Who is responsible for what? How are issues communicated, and who must be involved in important discussions? How involved are your stakeholders? The C suite? External stakeholders?
5. Processes and Documentation
Finally, you need to list the tools, methodologies, and software that will be used on the project. You’ll also need to list out any project documentation necessary, as well. This section should also include your project resolution, quality assurance, and documentation infrastructure plan.
The app development process can be lengthy and filled with potential pitfalls. A detailed, accurate software development plan will help you avoid those challenges while aligning expectations with the finished product. Use the tips and tricks we discussed above to ensure that your development project stays on the rails and that you can avoid communication, documentation, and other issues that often plague app development.