Software project management, like any other project management, is not everyone’s cup of tea. What it means is that not everyone likes to engage in a process where they have to constantly stay vigilant, collaborate, collect feedbacks, and keep correcting the measures.
Even the people who are really good at project management, cannot do it without defining the milestones for the project.
According to Project Management Institute (PMI), “44% of projects fail due to a lack of alignment between business and project objective.”
This simply means that the person who is responsible for making major business decisions should actively participate in project management.
Defining the milestones before the start of the project is critical to the project’s successful completion. We have broken down these milestones into 8 different parts for you.
However, there are minor differences between general software development projects and custom software development projects. Our focus in this article will be on the firms that provide custom software development services.
General Software Development versus Custom Software Development Services
The main difference between the two is that a custom software development company has to be in direct coordination with the end client. While the scope of general software development is far bigger than that of custom software.
The main reason for this is that a custom software, as the name suggests, is developed for a particular user and has to perform only the specified tasks. It also has to be highly flexible for future enhancements depending upon the user’s growth and other requirements.
Now coming to the point. Read on to find out the 8 essential milestones for every software project.
Every Software Project needs to have these Milestones
When it comes to defining the right milestones, their order and prioritization are of the utmost value. Let’s check out all these milestones broken down into correct order.
1. Project Scope
Obviously, the first and foremost milestone is to define the scope of the project. It has been observed that this is one of the steps that can either take months or can be done within a week, depending upon the software type and end-goals. In any case, it is essential to have all the requirements from the software in a well-organized manner. Whether it is in a simple word document or received by the customer in a voice note.
The important thing is to extract only the most important details from the client’s requirements in this step and move forward to step 2.
2. Quantify the Project Scope/ Requirements
In general, to quantify means to calculate or measure something in numbers. But when we talk about project scope, it is abstract and no numbers can quantify it. However, quantifying a project scope here means verifying and validating the project requirements. Or to find out if the required software isn’t too generic to be misinterpreted.
You need to have specific details for the end goal of the custom software development. For example, a client asks you to develop custom software for financial modeling. Now, financial modeling is way too generic to be put into a scope unless the following elements are defined:
- The user of the financial model,
- Elements that need to be calculated,
- Design and structure details, etc.
Once the project scope is quantified and passed through several refining filters, it is then ready to shift to the third milestone.
3. Set the Development Deliverables
Any custom software development company needs to set the software development deliverables right after their project scope is quantified. This also means that the final requirements and tentative deadlines may also be decided here.
Without having the software development deliverables ready, you will not be able to move any further in the project management.
4. Start the Development
Without any further ado, the software development should start at this stage. This is also, by the way, the middle of the milestones. All the planned requirements, quantified ideas, set deliverables and end-goals need to be considered continuously during this phase.
This phase also requires constant monitoring and feedback to ensure that the development progress is well aligned with the project scope.
5. More Feedbacks and Quality Assurance
Once the development process reaches towards the end, more and more feedbacks will be needed. This is also the phase where the quality assurance team will also be interfering. Although quality assurance is not to be done only at the last stages, it usually works the best after the collection of substantial feedback for the developers and other collaborators.
6. Test the User Acceptance
This is the phase where the project manager will ensure if the developed custom software is viable and user-acceptable. User acceptance testing involves several aspects such as running the software and testing it for the tasks it has to perform.
In simple words, the custom software needs to be thoroughly checked for its performance from the customer’s point of view.
7. Project Delivery
You might wonder if we are talking about delivering the project at the second to last milestone, what the last one could be.
There is always room for improvement in any kind of project development. And in the case of custom software development, this room can be quite large. That’s the reason, it is important to include the revisions phase into these essential milestones.
Additional revisions will not bother you and your development team!
As already discussed above, this is the phase where you don’t need to be overwhelmed by the number of revisions required by the client.
All you need to do is take every aspect one at a time.
The best way to deal with the client’s requested changes is to make one change and then get it verified. Thinking about making all the changes together and then delivering it all at the same time can cause further problems. It can consume more time before the final delivery of the project.
Although we have focused on the custom software development in these milestones, we have tried our best to keep these milestones as generic as possible. This means you can consider these milestones functional for any type of project development. Of course, every project is unique in its nature and final goals. And that’s the reason you need to amend these milestones as per your unique requirements.