How to Plan a Software Development Project?

by Anna Khrupa on Mar 25, 2022

The software development process is very complex regardless of how big or small the program in question is. Budget and time limitations are usually tight, and clients, who are not usually experienced in IT development, do not understand why their products cannot be finished quickly. The software development process often requires more time and resources as many factors are difficult to predict. 

This is why creating a software development project plan is crucial. With a specific plan that describes every stage of the process in detail and offers realistic deadlines for every objective, as well as additional time in case of force majeure, it is possible to create a program or app efficiently and deliver it to the client.

What Is a Plan for Software Development Project?

A software development plan is a process of project management while creating certain software. This plan is needed to describe all resources and actions required to create the software ordered by the client. The entire timeline of the project is included in this plan. The development process usually consists of multiple stages specific to creating software. These stages include planning, analysis, development, design, deployment, launch, post-launch maintenance, and more.

The quality of the entire project and its end product heavily depends on the quality and time put into preparation, which is creating a software development plan. A thorough and methodical plan allows allocating resources efficiently and tackling all the objectives and potential difficulties without trouble. Being unprepared results in delays, insufficient resources, client dissatisfaction, low quality of the product, etc.

Advantages of Software Development Planning

Creating a detailed project plan for software development is highly important not only for software engineers but for clients and everyone involved as well. Project managers are the ones who should create software development plans together with other participants in the process. There are numerous benefits to creating a thorough plan. This way, you will be able to create software quicker and more efficiently while not compromising the quality. In addition, the process becomes significantly less stressful for both developers and clients. Here are some more advantages of creating a software development plan:

·        Saving time on development – having a straight to the point plan can help you save a lot of time. For example, with previous research, developers can write code using only the most efficient frameworks and APIs, which is a great time-saver. Planning also helps with predicting certain issues and either avoiding them in the process or knowing how to handle them quickly and effectively.

·        Writing clean and organized code – when planning a software project, developers can have a clear vision about the program or app they are creating. This allows breaking the code into smaller portions that correspond with different features and objectives. Working on small portions of the code provides the possibility to create a very understandable and structured code. This way, detecting and fixing bugs will be much easier. After writing all the necessary pieces of code, it should be easy to combine them into the full code of software without bugs.

·        Making the development process less complex – the entire process of creating a piece of software is very complex. Professionals in various fields need to work on it and complete numerous tasks. Such scope can be overwhelming, which is why this process should be divided into smaller tasks. However, only thorough planning allows splitting the entire process into smaller objectives and delegating these tasks to respective employees efficiently.

Overall, software development planning makes the process itself so much more accessible for developers, engineers, designers, etc. The quality of the finished program or application also increases, which is a great sign.

Fundamentals of a Software Development Plan

Optimization of development is the key advantage of planning for business owners and developers. The main objective of a software development plan is to deliver clear answers to the following questions:

  • Which functions should be included to solve the problem?
  • Which steps need to be taken to add the required functions to this software?
  • In what order the app functionality needs to be developed?
  • What professionals are involved in the development process?
  • What responsibilities does every team member have?
  • What metrics will be used to estimate the efficiency and quality of the finished software?

In case there are certain difficulties or conflicts among the developers and other employees involved in creating the product, they should be able to look through these questions and choose one of the issues to figure out to move forward. Software development planning is a crucial step for organizing efficient communication and organizing the working process.

Stages of Software Development Project

There is a specific software development life cycle that every software engineer or team lead should be familiar with. These steps are applicable to any software product regardless of its type. Organizing these stages properly is essential for ensuring top performance and great quality of the software. Here are the steps involved in the software development process.

Project Analysis

This is the initial step of the research stage when developing any software. It helps with understanding the viability of the project. Going through this stage will ensure that you are on the right track with the development. Project analysis helps with:

  • better understanding of the concept and purpose of the software you will be working on;
  • better understanding of the specific needs of the project;
  • getting to know the specifications of the project.

This stage usually goes together with planning and working on requirements simultaneously as all these stages are connected.

Documenting requirements

When planning your software, it is necessary to start documenting technical requirements for it during the initial stages. This is what should be decided on at this stage:

  • Choose the team that will be responsible for developing the software.
  • Specify the requirements of this project.
  • Select the markers that will identify the need to check the progress of your project at every stage.

At this stage, it is necessary to discuss the issues that this software needs to solve, its target audience, data required, security measures that should be implemented, etc.

Software Planning

It is critically important to plan a software project thoroughly. This plan will help everyone involved with understanding the project from the very beginning of the process to the deployment of the software. With a detailed plan, every employee can work in perfect synchronization.

At the planning stage, you can divide the entire process into smaller objectives and then subtasks and even smaller steps. This allows estimating the time and budget needed for development more precisely. There is special software that can visualize your plan, which makes it more accessible to understand.

Designing and Creating a Prototype

After creating a plan, it is time to develop a prototype of the program. It should include the necessary architecture and main functions of the software. The prototype created by software engineers can include:

·        the structure of the required software

·        overall functionality of the program

·        certain parts of hardware and software (optionally)

·        tools necessary for continuing the development

A simplistic wireframe should be designed at this stage to demonstrate the functions of the software. It also allows receiving feedback and working with it at the following stages.

Keeping Track of the Progress

It is necessary to set up special software to track your progress in development. This should be done at the initial stages to monitor workflow and ensure that everything goes smoothly. The quality of code should also be monitored closely to prevent any issues and bugs at later stages.

Software Development and Writing Code

All previous stages were preparations needed to back the most important stage of the process, which is the development itself. Based on the information gathered during the initial stages, all requirements, and prototypes, developers can start writing the code. Regardless of the size of your software, reliable planning should guarantee minimum potential risks and high stability of the software.

Software Testing

After building the program, it is still necessary to verify certain requirements before releasing the product. Here are the things to check in the software:

·        Meeting all the software requirements

·        Complying with the given budget

·        Meeting the set deadlines

·        Delivering a high quality of the code

This is why going through all requirements is necessary at the initial stages. This way, it is easy to verify that all requirements are met when the software is ready.

Releasing the Software

After verifying that all conditions are met, it is now time to deploy tested software in production. However, it is not necessary to do this right away. It can be tested and deployed afterward. When the release version of the product is ready, it can finally be delivered to the client.

Releasing software is not the final stage as it is necessary to provide maintenance and update the product afterward. It is possible that certain bugs will be discovered after the release, which is why they should be taken care of quickly. The process of maintenance should be included in the contract from the very beginning.



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