There’s lots to consider when planning a project, and the amount of time and effort needed on these will depend on the size or complexity of your project. We can help you through, but the following may help you start to understand the different elements that need consideration and planning.
Work out exactly what you need and want.
Seems obvious, but is easier said than done. You might have the core of a fabulous idea, but every detail will need to be thought through. Working through what users will need to be able to do (we call them ‘Use Cases’), will help understand all the different functions the software needs to provide.
Understand the users.
Who are they? What will make the most difference to them? If the software doesn’t help them or make their lives better, persuading them to adopt it could be time consuming and difficult. If you’re replacing an existing system, you might be surprised to find what matters to them most when you talk to the current users. If you’re developing a product for a new market you might need to do some market research or it might be best to launch small and add features over time based on their feedback.
Should you consider an off the shelf product?
Clearly we don’t want to put you off a bespoke project, but if your budget is only very small its likely to be the case that working with an existing product will be more effective for you. Equally, the research can help you understand what’s important to you and inspire ideas of how your bespoke system can beat the competition.
What are your project constraints?
Time, budget, technologies, your availability (an often overlooked factor), other systems that it needs to work with (we could go on), could all be constraining factors when we come to plan your project. Logically, the less constraints there are the more flexibility there is to deliver your project exactly as you wish, but we understand that some things are fixed and we can work them into our planning.
What are your Priorities?
What’s most important? Could the project be split up into phases in order to get the most important benefits delivered sooner or to keep within the constraints? Maybe an early prototype phase, would help confirm future direction. Again, knowing what’s most or least important will help steer us to the best plan for the project.
Integrations with other systems.
Does it need to tie in with other systems, if so, do you know if this is feasible, or do we need to help you research this? We’ve used endless different techniques and can help identify what’s possible and what’s not.
Software systems are excellent at capturing all manner of data, both directly from user input and also from user behaviour. Reporting on all the captured data can provide invaluable insights that can benefit your business. Its worth considering what information you’d like to report on, so we make sure the necessary data is captured.
Where will the software reside and how will it be distributed?
Where is your software going to be hosted? If its an app, that means choosing a distribution mechanism, such as an appstore or your company registering for an enterprise program. If its server based that means using a server or cloud services. Servers need specialist configuration and management to ensure they remain secure and stable. You need to consider whether you have the resources to handle this internally or whether you need help with this.
The most important part! There are different approaches for going live depending on your scenario. You may wish to do a soft launch with targeted users, or you may have no choice but to do everything at once. Either way we’ll need to consider together any data migration or setup, customer communication and user training as a minimum.
Post Go Live
Once your new software is live, you need to consider how you best support your users and respond to their feedback and suggestions. A software maintenance agreement is essential to ensure the software keeps running smoothly and software service days provide a cost effective means to plan for ongoing developments to your project.