How to Start a Successful Development Project?

How to Start a Successful Development Project?

Matej D

Matej D.

8 minutes

Dec 24, 2021

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How to Start a Successful Development Project?

„Don't rush things that need time to grow“ – this saying can be applied in many areas of life, but we find it especially true in project development.

Our experience taught us that clients are often inclined to rush when it comes to a project they've been planning – in some instances because of deadlines, but more often out of impatience or even lack of understanding.

Fast is not always the best

As a development company, we've encountered quite a few situations in which clients wanted to patch together a team and start developing their project as fast as possible – which resulted in missed deadlines, substandard products and a very frustrated development team because requirements were not set clearly enough.

That's why, in Devōt, we want to continuously educate our clients about the importance of preparation in every single project. When it comes to a complex project, the more time and resources you put in preparation and „construction“, the more likely you will succeed.

Our biggest goal is not to wrap up the project as quickly as possible, but to deliver a successful project and make our client happy. Our job is to offer a full service in project development, which includes supporting them with professional guidance every step of the way.

How to avoid missed deadlines and substandard products?

We prefer to do things a bit differently – by strongly focusing on preparation and constant follow-up during the execution.

Our main tool in the preparation process is the implementation of the Project Discovery phase – this is a crucial step that helps us carry out a successful project, assemble the right team for the job, ensure the greater performance of the said team, as well as deliver the project on time and within the defined budget.

Paths

Every great project needs a great start

In our experience, clients are often overwhelmed with excitement about their new project idea – which is not a bad thing. Still, it can definitely interfere with proper definition and planning, if the client starts to rush the process.

That's why the Project Discovery phase or a workshop is required to kick start the project successfully.

„We know what we want to build, just give us five developers“ – we've heard this sentence one too many times, and the scenario always ends up being similar: the development team waits around for weeks, or even worse – they start developing the project, but requirements keep on changing, which forces them to repeat steps of development and literally waste time. This is why we implemented the Project Discovery phase – to determine the direction of the project more precisely and save valuable resources in the long run.

How „million dollars ideas“ come to life?

Every now and then, we all have the „million-dollar idea“, a plan with huge potential; but we often lack the courage to follow through. We keep getting discouraged because the Failure-to-success ratio is too high – but it should not keep you from bringing your idea to life.

There are no guarantees that your idea will succeed, but, there are a couple of things you can do to change the odds in your favour.

We recommend following these key steps in the project preparation process – and starting on the right track with every project.

Ideas

Product Discovery

The most important thing about every project is the correct specification – that's why the Product Discovery process is key for successful delivery. During this process, we work together with the client in order to define the main focus of the project, as well as the sub-goals we strive to achieve. That information is documented in the Project charter – a document we can keep referring to as the project progresses.

One of the most common issues is that people are often unaware of the full project scope. Because of that, there is no room for statements like „we will define it later“ – every part of the project specification needs to be clearly explained in order to achieve mutual understanding between the client and the development team.

During the Product Discovery phase, professional support is incredibly valuable – a highly experienced team can help you guide your project in a more doable direction, as well as simplify it or change the approach if necessary.

Check out our Project Discovery page at Devōt.

Creating detailed project documentation and specification during the Discovery phase doesn't mean we are swerving from Agile development - it just means we understand and emphasize the importance of adequate preparation. Our goal is always to plan a couple of months in advance, and repeat the Discovery process every few months – this is what makes the project agile and enables us to implement changes quickly, all while keeping the project, scope and budget under control.

Project plan

Once we've defined the project's scope, the next step is Project planning. To start, you need to divide project goals into tasks, set a timeline, and determine what characteristics your team members should have to deliver the project successfully.

If the team members' roles are not clear, it is probably because goals and tasks are not defined correctly during Project planning.

It is crucial to stay level-headed and realistic during this phase – if you want to have effective teams during the later development phase, you need to be smart about resource management. That will ensure the project is compleated on time and within the budget. We recommend defining your project's goals and tasks with a tool like JIRA, and calculating the utilization of human resources in the project – all while setting important milestones and dates.

Since we work in an agile environment, it is important that the client agrees with our specific approach – we prefer to deliver smaller partials of the project at the time. This way, the client can see the result much faster, and it gives them the chance to follow the progress and suggest some adjustments on time.

If you need our support during the Project planning phase, check out our Product discovery consultation.

Building a team

Choosing the right tool for the job is important – but selecting the right people for the job is even more important.

Blind-picking developers for a certain project will absolutely never work – that project is set up for failure before it even starts. Of course, the structure and size of the team can vary depending on the project scope, complexity, delivery timeline and other factors – but one thing is for sure; a well-composed team will complete the project much faster, much more efficient and on everyone's delight.

Assembling the right team for a project is not always an easy task – and having a defined project scope and tasks will be of great help in the search for a new team. The key factor is always collaboration so that everyone can stay up-to- date with status updates and understand the current project lifecycle. During this phase, communication is usually led by project managers, and they are the ones that define the tone and frequency of communication with team members.

We can support you with our development and Project planning teams.

Execute

We like to call this the „Let's go!“ phase – because every piece of the puzzle is finally in place, and the show can begin!

After defining the project scope, planning the roadmap and assembling a team, we are ready to start developing your project. We will keep you constantly updated with the most current status and plans for future steps – so you can check if the project is progressing in the desired direction and react before it's too late (or too expensive) to make significant changes.

Project Discovery

Recalculating

Even the most though-out project sometimes requires a change in direction – which is especially applicable in agile development. Some of the changes pertain to the project's scope, while others simply require a different path in terms of the project goals.
Just like your car's GPS recalculates your route, your project management team can do the same if you decide to change the path or take a different course. If the client decides to change the route mid-project, we can organize another Project discovery to get back on track without wandering around.

Finalize

The project is finally done, and your goals have been fulfilled? Then, it's time to do the recap. Start with verifying the final result and going through the entire process for future reference.

Every successfully finished project is an opportunity to learn something and gather valuable experience for the future; that's why we highly recommend taking notes about all of the positive and negative aspects of the finished project.

Transforming projects from idea to successful implementation is not an easy job, even for an experienced team. We always try to take it as a huge opportunity to learn and create something new and valuable.

Don't forget – preparation is a key element in every project development, but communication is just as important. With those two, your project will be finished on time and within the budget – and the result will be mutual fulfilment.

New phase of life cycle

At this point, the project begins a whole new journey – the market launch. So, even though the development stage is finished, the product is entering a new phase in its life cycle – and, don't forget – we are here to support our clients in the later stages with any needed changes, upgrades and updates.