Software Product Development For Your Business: From Ideas To Ongoing Delivery
For every $1 billion invested in the United States, $122 million was wasted due to lacking project performance, as a 2016 survey by PMI showed. That's a huge percentage that covers the realm of software projects. This is the money that should rather be invested in additional features or extra promotion that would take the software product to the next level. This is what we do at MobiDev—as we build and deliver your product on a regular basis, we minimize cost overrun. What's more, as we make product deliveries—with products ranging from innovative IoT solutions to ERP system implementation—we continuously shorten your time to market.
Additionally, our software product development process presupposes your focus on core business matters. Your personal involvement does not have to cover daily project routine and coordination of every involved person. These time-consuming things are handled by a project manager. As one of our clients said, "We'd go to bed at night—and we knew MobiDev had their "marching orders"—and when we woke up in the morning, the product, the development we expected to see was there for our evaluation."
How can we do all that for you? Well, there are several secrets up the sleeve of our project management. PWC reported an astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success. We do agree—and we'd like to show how we create a software product for you.
Software product development process: the humble beginnings
From humble beginnings come great things, right? Your ideas needs to be shaped into a software product. You tell us about your business goals, as well as the problems your product aims to solve. Our technical experts can be involved from the very beginning to conduct a feasibility study and suggest possible ways of implementation, which is an essential in software development for startups. If required, we start working with your in-house team. From now on, we will be unraveling product requirements, from general to specific, however tangled they might be.
|Note for startups|
When a software product is built from scratch, we need to have a solid foundation. You can build it beforehand by filling out a Business Model Canvas. This principal document will become priceless for both you and the team. Here's our detailed and exemplified Startup Canvas guide that can help you fill it out in a matter of hours.
Responsibilities and roles of a project manager at early stages
The person who is involved to run the project on our side is an experienced project manager, who assumes the responsibilities of a business analyst at this stage. What are the roles of project manager as we understand them? Well, we take the following 7 steps to shape an implementation-ready software product:
# 1. The kickoff meeting is the very first call where you get acquainted with your team, which is finally assembled. They become an active part of the planning procedure. They can decompose, prioritize, and distribute tasks correctly from the technical point of view. This helps the entire project to keep up with your time and/or budget constraints, if any.
#2. If we create a product from scratch, we take the needs and problems, described in your Business Model Canvas—or another similar document—to form a solution and create a document called Project Vision. Basically, we receive maximum input and form a rough logic of the system, so that it can be divided into modules, which in turn can be prioritized, planned, implemented and delivered iteratively. With a good foundation, every subsequent step can be taken faster—which means your product will be delivered sooner.
#3. Simultaneously, we form a basic stack of technologies for your software product—or several options for you to choose from. We consider the fact that your product will evolve over time—and we give it space with modern, relevant technologies.
#4. If there are several stakeholders, decisionmakers, or other people involved in your project, we document responsibilities to avoid any misunderstandings in the future. We make our communication effective from the very beginning.
#5. As we develop project documentation, we can reveal hidden needs and problems. Addressing them can give your product an advantage over competitors without compromising the overall progress and deadlines of your project. The required minimum documentation includes a specification, user stories, non-functional requirements, and acceptance criteria. Your documentation comprehensively describes the required behavior of the system, development environment, and any constraints of the system (including security requirements or your corporate standards, if any). Further documentation is dictated by the specifics of your project.
#6. Here begins the overlap with UI/UX design. We create sketches and wireframes, and form a user flow to see how the system is going to work. Project Vision can be used by your designer. This stage is fully covered in our software design guide, so feel free to check it out.
What do we have at the end of the day? There's a full vision of the system, prioritization of its modules, a team to build it with a selected stack of tools. From now on, your involvement becomes less crucial. You can concentrate on your core activities, generation of ideas, marketing preparations, or whatever you please.
Software project processes during iterative implementation
When the design is ready, we have a scope to implement. You receive an estimate for development, which is based on design artifacts: wireframes/mockups. Now let's proceed straight to the 5 key points of this stage, where the role of software project manager is still crucial for effective work.
#1. We use Agile approaches to create and maintain a change-friendly environment for your product—thus make it continuously relevant for the dynamic market. All the discussed changes are reflected in call summaries, which are presented to you for approval, modification, or rejection. Approved changes are gathered together and introduced during the subsequent iteration to both the product and the related documentation. Otherwise, the change can be reported by our expert as undesirable – for example, if it contradicts the architecture.
To avoid any chaos in the procedure, we use Roadmap to track and evaluate changes—and you have full access to it.
|It should be noted, though, that a Fixed Price contract—where product requirements are known beforehand and fixed—requires the approach of the waterfall software development model, which treats changes differently. Feel free to read a detailed article here.|
#2. The scope is divided into short iterations (a.k.a. sprints). Duration of an iteration may vary, but the most widespread option is 2 weeks, a proven optimal balance between "too much time has passed since our last call" and "too few changes have been made to spend time on a new demo."
#3. You and your stakeholders want to see the valuable progress of your project. At the end of each iteration the PM provides you with intermediate results—sprint reports, builds, and demos—and receives your feedback. By the time a major milestone is passed, your PM always has your input and a plan for the next iteration.
#4. Over the entire project, the PM relieves you of the internal routine related to internal management and task distribution, coordination of efforts, and motivation. It's a time-consuming side of project management that can be handled internally, without spending your own valuable time—the rest depends on your personal wish and involvement. You are always free to concentrate on the growth of your business while we cover your software development needs.
#5. Feedback is essential, and we continuously receive it from you. As we go along, we need one more active player – an end user, a specialist in the subject matter who can share experience, suggestions, who helps change and improve your product. However, by this point these changes should not be radical enough. We need to ensure that the current delivery date will be met.
During the implementation phase, the software product development cycle proceeds even faster. It won't be long until we get to the pre-release iteration...
Release and ongoing delivery of your software product
The pre-release iteration comes when your product is already implemented. We perform regression testing to make sure that everything works strictly according to the relevant acceptance criteria. It's worth mentioning that on one of our bigger projects—a powerful ERP system for small and midsized businesses—our test management managed to reduce regression testing time from 1 week to 2-3 days.
At this point you receive a final build for the store, if we talk about mobile app development, or for your production server. At your convenience, we can perform deployment—which means you receive a turnkey product—the idea that has finally been brought into reality.
Additionally, you receive the code in the repository, full project documentation, designs, product ownership, and whatever else has been mentioned in the contract.
After that, we can proceed with ongoing delivery of your product—Version 1.1—and further on. The update will be based on your ideas and feedback of early adopters, and it should not keep them waiting—it's all about market expectations. You can keep a dedicated team for the project in order to shorten your time to market further on.
Whatever your particular ideas might be, MobiDev is always here to facilitate your efforts. We are here to build your software product and gradually take it to new levels. You have a vision—we have everything to get you there.
February 15, 2017
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