Agile/Scrum

software project Management

8 Tips for Software Development Project Management

Ideas are easy. Turning your idea into a productive application is much more difficult, even if you hire a software development team to do it for you. Project management can make or break your software development project. Whether it’s a new site idea or mobile app, here are some tips for a successful project management solution.

1. Write Functionality and Business Requirement Documentation

This step is one of the most commonly skipped components of a software development project, and it’s one of the most important. Functionality requirements tell the developers what you want in the application and how it should function. Business requirements give the business rules to developers, so they can understand how the application should work.

Most app creators don’t know how to write functionality and business requirements, so they should seek out a professional. The writer takes your business ideas and translates them into functional documentation that can be used by the developers. These documents remove any ambiguities that can affect a project’s success. Remember to have the writer sign an NDA, so your ideas aren’t used in a public portfolio before the application is released.

2. Hire a Project Manager or Lead Developer

If you aren’t an experienced project manager, you should hire a professional who can manage the project and development teams. A project manager and lead developer have distinct functions, but you can hire the one who manages your team the best.

A project manager is someone who handles all issues regarding project communication. They speak to the client (you) and then communicate your ideas, suggestions, changes, and concerns to the developers. They coordinate any deadlines and changes during the project workflow. Some project managers work with lead developers, and then the lead communicates with the team.

If you have a firm grasp on project management, you can choose to hire a lead developer instead. A lead developer has a higher level of technical skills, but the role also requires management of the team. Lead developers sometimes jump in where help is needed, but they don’t normally code the project. They help decide on design and technology, and put together the development team.

3. Hire Small Specialist Teams Instead of All-In-One Generalists

There are two basic types of coding: front end and back end. You can find someone who knows both, but these skills are distinct. Someone who is good in both front- and back-end coding doesn’t normally have the specialized skills needed for more advanced projects. There are always exceptions to the rule, but take a look at the big technology companies. They hire people specifically for design, user experience, database applications, and back-end processing.

Hiring someone who is an expert in one area of development is far more valuable than hiring a generalist who is mediocre in both. You pay less money for an all-in-one generalist, but you don’t get the quality that you can get from a specialist.

4. Determine Project Development Processes

How often do you want updates? How do you want to handle changes? Is your project workflow set up in phases? The development world offers several types of development processes. For instance, Agile is a common development process that incorporates changes into the software development life cycle. You can also choose the Waterfall method, which pushes full development initially, and then allows the application owner to make changes at the end of the process.

Both development processes have their advantages and disadvantages. Agile incorporates changes initially, so the owner is updated with changes frequently. It also makes it easier for developers to incorporate changes, since the entire application isn’t coded before updates are made. The downside to this workflow is that deadlines are often missed as changes can lead to scope creep.

Waterfall is easier on project flow, since changes aren’t made until the end of development. However, it can be catastrophic when the project is presented to the owner and developers miss the mark. Refactoring and changing code are tedious processes that can turn a Waterfall project into a much more expensive project than initially budgeted.

Your project manager or lead developer can help you determine which solution is best for your project.

5. Nail Down the Project Scope and Sign Off on it

Project scope can be determined when functional and business requirement documents are created. When a project is poorly managed, scope creep pushes deadlines, and destroys project goals.

Both the development team and the application owner should commit to a project scope. The scope defines what the application owner can expect, when he can expect it, and each component of the project. For instance, suppose you want an app and a website to work with the app. Both of these goals should be defined in the scope. The developers give you a spreadsheet or a short document that explains the work that will be completed. Any changes to the scope come at an additional cost.

A project scope also avoids any miscommunications or project failure due to disagreements on what work should be done for the specific cost.

6. Set Up Periodic Reviews

You can’t expect to have a full product after a few weeks, but you can ask the development team to keep you updated and present part of the product as the project continues. For instance, the developers could complete the order process and present it to you during a periodic review.

During reviews, you should expect a few bugs, but you can review the user experience and flow to identify if any sections of the application aren’t to specifications. This type of project workflow helps eliminate problems before they become too costly and time consuming to fix. You also get status on your application, and seeing your software in action is an exciting part of the development process.

During reviews, take notes and send them to the project manager or lead developer. They can communicate the changes to the developers.

7. Choose a Project Management Platform for Communications

Most developers have their own software for project management, but you can also be a part of the process. A few common project management applications are Basecamp, Trello, and Jira. Each tool comes with its pros and cons, but the overall goal should be to facilitate communication between project managers and leads, the application owner, and the developers.

The platform you use doesn’t matter as long as it facilitates communication and status reports. Communication is key in software development to ensure a project’s success.

8. Don’t Skimp on Testing

Application owners often don’t know the importance of testing, and that it’s paramount for project success. Testing the application avoids poor ratings and reviews from users in the app stores. Once the application gets several poor ratings from angry customers, you’ll have a difficult time trying to recover. Always hire a testing team and test the application on several devices before you deploy it.

The developers will test the application, but you should always have a separate testing and quality assurance team. This team ensures that bugs are found before you deploy the application.

 

Software development projects can be complex or simple, but the right management team and documentation helps avoid any issues that waste the application owner’s money and time. Follow these guidelines and take care when hiring your team. With the right initial goals, a software development project can run smoothly.

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5 benefits of agile ѕоftwаrе development

Agіlе ѕоftwаrе dеvеlорmеnt dеѕсrіbеѕ a unique аррrоасh tо соmрutеr рrоgrаmmіng. Thе popularity of thе соnсерt rеаllу tооk off mоrе thаn a dесаdе аgо in 2001 whеn a grоuр оf еxреrіеnсеd ѕоftwаrе developers gоt tоgеthеr to dосumеnt thе bеѕt way tо develop ѕоftwаrе. This еffоrt сulmіnаtеd in thе Mаnіfеѕtо for Agіlе Software Development, a рublісаtіоn dеtаіlіng thе 12 соrе рrіnсірlеѕ оf this unіԛuе аррrоасh tо creating ѕоftwаrе.
Ovеr the уеаrѕ, the popularity оf thе agile аррrоасh іѕ increasing аѕ individuals, project teams, аnd еntіrе соmраnіеѕ rесоgnіzе a vаrіеtу оf bеnеfіtѕ.

A рrіmаrу fеаturе оf аgіlе software рrоgrаmmіng іnvоlvеѕ breaking рrоjесtѕ іntо a ѕеrіеѕ оf rеgulаr, predictable iterations, оr dеvеlорmеnt tіmе periods (also referred to аѕ “sprints”). Whіlе thе lеngth оf thеѕе iterations mау vary project tо рrоjесt and tеаm to team, thеу typically last bеtwееn 7 days аnd оnе month.

Agіlе ѕоftwаrе dеvеlорmеnt іѕ оftеn contrasted wіth the wаtеrfаll аррrоасh to programming. One оf the mаjоr dіffеrеnсеѕ bеtwееn thе twо аррrоасhеѕ іnvоlvеѕ thе іѕѕuе оf ѕоftwаrе tеѕtіng. In thе wаtеrfаll approach, ѕоftwаrе іѕ сrеаtеd аnd then tеѕtеd just before implementation. Wіth agile, software testing іѕ dоnе оn аn оngоіng basis, rереаtеdlу throughout thе соdіng рrосеѕѕ.

Thе ѕсrum frаmеwоrk іѕ аnоthеr popular methodology uѕеd by mаnу teams еngаgеd іn thе аgіlе аррrоасh tоwаrdѕ custom ѕоftwаrе dеvеlорmеnt. Thіѕ is аn organized, соllаbоrаtіvе аррrоасh thаt encourages сrоѕѕ-funсtіоnаl tеаmwоrk, regular соmmunісаtіоn, аnd a сlеаr fосuѕ tоwаrdѕ wеll-ѕресіfіеd соmmоn gоаlѕ. The рорulаrіtу of аgіlе software programming has grоwn еxроnеntіаllу over thе раѕt decade fоr a numbеr оf different rеаѕоnѕ, and there аrе now many сhаmріоnѕ of thіѕ аррrоасh. Fоllоw аlоng to lеаrn five bеnеfіtѕ оf the аgіlе аррrоасh to ѕоftwаrе dеvеlорmеnt:

• Mоrе Productivity – Durіng agile ѕоftwаrе dеvеlорmеnt, the wоrklоаd is brоkеn uр іntо ѕmаllеr chunks аnd the   deliverables are completed in shorter іtеrаtіоnѕ. This decreases thе сhаnсе that programmers gеt tоо far оff track оn   a рrоjесt, and whеn problems do hарреn, thеу аrе mоrе еаѕіlу іdеntіfіеd and соrrесtеd mоrе quickly.
Inсrеаѕеd Mоrаlе of Prоgrаmmеrѕ – Many computer рrоgrаmmеrѕ рrеfеr tо dо thеіr work in ѕmаllеr   асhіеvаblе ріесеѕ, rаthеr thаn bіg overwhelming tasks thаt mау lасk сlаrіfісаtіоn. Thіѕ helps реорlе recognize   ассоmрlіѕhmеntѕ аnd bеttеr mеаѕurе рrоgrеѕѕ whісh tends to increase оvеrаll mоrаlе bоth іndіvіduаllу and оn a   tеаm.
Clеаrеr Cоmmunісаtіоn – Bоth agile and scrum encourage сlеаrеr and more frequent соmmunісаtіоn between all оf thе buѕіnеѕѕ partners іnvоlvеd іn a software рrоjесt. Thе ѕсrum frаmеwоrk еѕtаblіѕhеѕ аn оrgаnіzеd process fоr dаіlу соmmunісаtіоn аnd responsibility, сrеаtіng tighter tеаm bоndѕ and grеаtеr рrоjесt clarity.
Hіghеr Quаlіtу – Agile аnd ѕсrum оftеn lead tо a bеttеr еnd product because thе рrоjесt wоrk іѕ divided іntо smaller units whісh аrе easier to tеѕt аnd vаlіdаtе аlоng thе wау. In thе еnd, thіѕ tурісаllу lеаdѕ tо fеwеr еrrоrѕ аnd higher overall ԛuаlіtу.
Prеdісtаblе Costs – Bесаuѕе соѕt еѕtіmаtеѕ аrе tурісаllу required аt thе bеgіnnіng of еасh iteration in thе аgіlе ѕоftwаrе dеvеlорmеnt wоrk cycle, еѕtіmаtіng costs tends tо be еаѕіеr аnd mоrе trаnѕраrеnt. Prеdісtаblе costs аlѕо improve dесіѕіоn mаkіng аbоut рrіоrіtу features аnd project changes.
Whіlе аgіlе рrоgrаmmіng іѕ dynamic and іnсludеѕ a rаngе оf аррrоасhеѕ аnd рrеfеrеnсеѕ, the fundamental ѕtruсturе tо аgіlе ѕоftwаrе development уіеldѕ ѕоmе сlеаr benefits for buѕіnеѕѕ leaders, ѕоftwаrе dеvеlореrѕ, рrоjесt mаnаgеrѕ аnd others.

An іnсrеаѕіng numbеr оf соmраnіеѕ аrе ѕееkіng tаlеntеd реорlе trаіnеd іn thе agile аnd ѕсrum аррrоасh аnd mоrе ѕоftwаrе соnѕultіng аnd IT ѕtаffіng fіrmѕ аrе fеаturіng career орроrtunіtіеѕ for іndіvіduаlѕ wіth thеѕе ѕkіllѕеtѕ. Gіvеn thе many bеnеfіtѕ оf thіѕ unіԛuе аррrоасh to рrоgrаmmіng and project mаnаgеmеnt, іt іѕ lіkеlу thаt thе popularity оf аgіlе for dеvеlоріng ѕоftwаrе wіll оnlу соntіnuе tо іnсrеаѕе.

scrum

Defining Your Software Development Methodology When Outsourcing

A company’s software development methodology covers every fundamental ground rule defining the process used to create your software. This includes control over the source code, testing, the criteria for release, and of course where the responsibility for this procedure lies.

Individual programmers’ productivity has increased dramatically thanks to interactive development environments (IDEs), and with efficient new methodologies such as agile software development, the efficiency of programming teams has also been greatly improved. While of course different companies will have vastly different needs – what works for you works for you, regardless of the name it is given or the definition it falls under. We recommend agile software development.

Agile software development

In our experience, self-organised teams coordinating and collaborating to organically evolve a product-specific methodology is an ideal solution for most software development needs.

It is essential, of course, for your outsourced team to know what you want, but this will be par for the course if your chosen outsourced agile team is up to scratch, and the main benefit of that team will be their focus on continual improvements to your software, allowing you to track the development and keep the project on the course you want it to be on through repeating builds and releases. What you must ensure is that communication channels remain open at all times. Discussion, collaboration and cross-functionality will ensure you are all on the same page.

Define your management structure

The key to success in this field is effective control of your in-house engineering team. They should be in charge of management, not coding. Decide who in your management hierarchy is accountable for the daily operations of the outsourced team. That person needs to be granted the authority to freely manage your in-house engineers as well as the offshore ones. They can then keep the outsourced coders on a defined path. It will be your experienced employees’ knowledge and perspective that will make your software development a success. Remember, outsourcing is a hugely successful way of improving efficiency, not of buying vision.

If you are interested in learning more about how to successfully implement agile methodologies when outsourcing, please contact us.

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Key Problems of Distributed Agile Development and How You Can Solve Them

It’s no secret that Agile software is fast becoming the dominant force in the software development community, with more companies adopting the Agile philosophy every day. If, however, you are a company that outsources development duties to programmers overseas, Agile’s core tenets (face-to-face communication, understanding, trust) can be tricky to enforce. As a result, many companies who rely on outsourcing may believe Agile software development is something that they can’t take advantage of.

Approached with a little forethought and careful planning, however, Agile software development can transcend different time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences, and bring your teams together.

Below we’ve outlined some of the difficulties you may face, as well as advice on how to overcome them.

Differences in Distance and Time Can Sabotage Your Communications

One of the key benefits of Agile is the flexibility it grants developers, giving them the resources to complete their work faster and with more efficiency. Normal development is often hampered by bureaucracy; messaging becomes confused, and costly mistakes are made. Agile software, on the other hand, skips all that red-tape and places a focus on face-to-face interactions. Regular meetings are important, especially to ensure all team members are working from the same page, and are aware of any changes or updates. This also gives team members a chance to air their concerns, seek clarification or find the answers to important questions.

Keeping all your teams working in harmony can be difficult. This is especially true if you have multiple offices working from different locations around the globe. In most cases, communication is handled exclusively via email or chat, with little to no face-to-face interaction; something that can quickly cause problems. This is particularly true if you have offices in different parts of the globe, as the teams’ working hours will rarely sync with one another.

How Can You Solve This Problem?

To solve this issue, ensure each of your teams is outfitted with a suite of video conferencing tools, as well as the capabilities to share Sprint plans and other information over the internet. Email and chat may be useful in a pinch, but they lack that personal touch a video conference, or face-to-face meeting confers. What is more, video meetings feel easier, more natural, and help foster a sense of trust. They also help avoid costly misunderstandings.

Cultural Differences May Stall Discussion

One of the key benefits of internet communications is that they give businesses the power to interact with people and companies from all over the globe. Sometimes, however, this can lead to misunderstandings. Organisations in the Far East, for example, conduct their business in a very formal, structured fashion, and don’t appreciate criticism or feedback during a discussion, unlike their Western counterparts who are encouraged to be vociferous and give voice to their concerns. Agile development thrives on the free exchange of opinions, though, so cultural obstacles are something you have to overcome.

How Can You Solve This Problem?

Actively encourage their participation, ask them for ideas and feedback, explaining to your various coding teams how important their suggestions are. Take the time and effort to address their concerns, carefully responding to each question and criticism.

Lack of Trust Between Teams In-House and Offshore

If you have teams on opposite ends of the globe who have never met, getting them to place their trust in one another is going to be difficult. This can be a stumbling block for Agile development, which thrives on trust between teams. As a result of this lack of communication, teams often feel isolated and left out of the bigger picture.

How Can You Solve This Problem?

In order to build trust and a sense of camaraderie between far flung teams, concentrate on bringing them together. Institute an exchange program, so that team members can spend time in their colleague’s shoes, getting to know their remote partners and discovering how their offices operate. Foster a sense of belonging and community by encouraging them to socialise, explore each others’ interests and cultural differences outside of normal hours.

Do you need help in Agile Development or Scrum, Contact Us.

agile

How to implement scrum in 5 easy steps

Let the Scrum team revolutionize your development management.

Scrum is an agile software solution that provides a flexible, holistic framework that leverages teamwork in order to reach common development goals, whilst offering the ability to make changes and respond to customer needs at any point in the process. But how do you implement Scrum into your work flow? Here are five easy steps to show you how:

1. Backlogs

This is perhaps the most important step in the process, so read carefully!

Before any project begins, you need to create a product backlog. This is essentially a list of the goals that need to be achieved in order to create a finished or near-finished product. List them in order of priority.

The Scrum Master (the person in charge of implementing Scrum and creating the Scrum team – you!) should nominate one person to be the head of the product, also known as the product owner, who will oversee the product backlog as their first action.

Include anything and everything: bug fixes, patches, risks. Just make sure they are focused on the finished product.

2. Plan your Sprint

The Sprint is the time period in which tasks have to be completed and all goals achieved, and is the essence of Scrum. Select some or all of your important product backlog goals and discuss them with the entire team; everyone in the Scrum team should know the overall goals of the project and what you hope to achieve.

Duration is important; 2 week is recommended, but you will need to tailor the Sprint to suit each individual product. This will also affect your budget, so it needs to be considered early on in the process.

When first implementing a Sprint, it’s best to overestimate how much time you will need; you can’t run before you can walk!

3. Delegate tasks

So, you’ve decided what you want to achieve and in what time frame you want to achieve it; how do you split up the tasks?

The beauty of agile software like Scrum is that the linear approach to development is no longer necessary, and changes in one area of development need not affect all the others.

It will take some time to organise the Sprint, so schedule a few workshops so that the whole Scrum team can contribute to the discussion. An open-plan, collaborative work space will aid the process; bring in some big whiteboards and hold regular meetings to lay the foundation for a smooth running Sprint.

Now it’s time to break down the product backlog. How far you break each component down is really up to you, but smaller tasks increase the efficiency of the Sprint by keeping individual tasks manageable. Then, once you’re ready…

4. SPRINT!

The duration of your Sprint is fixed – changing it will compromise the project. The essence of Sprint relies in the control and autonomy of individual groups, intervening will compromise the project. Individual groups still need to be able to collaborate, so ensure they can do this.

Hold daily meetings to make sure everyone is informed of the latest developments. If all the planning ahead of this stage has been done correctly, the Sprint shouldn’t actually be that taxing for the Scrum Master. The only time for heavy-handedness is when making sure the Sprint duration is honored!

5. Review

At the end of the Sprint, hold a Sprint review. Again, everyone should be involved. This gives the Scrum Master the chance to present the product as a finished or near-finished article. It will allow for feedback and the planning of any changes that need to be made.

As important is a review of the Scrum team and Sprint itself; make sure to point out positives, but also ensure that you take on board any feedback or comments that could help improve your Sprint.

The implementation of Scrum provides fantastic results; look into optimizing your development now! Contact Us!

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Why agile software development with Scrum methodology is great for developers

Today’s application market is fast-paced, and is becoming increasingly more rapid. The traditional project management methodologies such as PRINCE2 in the UK and Waterfall are no longer suitable to meet the demands of the modern programming market.

Whereas traditional methodologies rely on the completion of steps before work can progress, Agile Scrum methodology is an iterative process that delivers functionality in the product along the entire project lifecycle.

Each stage of the project is done in sprints, with aspects of the product completed in order of their priority. This can allow for a product to be rolled out before it is completed to full specification as its core functionality is ready to use before additional features are added.

It also allows the customer to be involved more in the development process as they can see each stage of the product’s development and provide feedback along the way.

Probably the greatest benefit of Agile Scrum is that it is a more flexible process, which is essential in a programming project. Other methodologies require settling on the description and specification of the final product before work commences. Whilst this may be crucial in other industries (such as engineering and architecture), it leaves little room for modification in a programming environment, where a product tends to need a little tweaking here and there when it’s being prototyped, or to respond to the changes in the market trends.

If developers are working on an application and complete it to its full specification, only to find that the client requires major modifications, it can add large delays to the deployment of the application and increase the cost of the project.

With Agile Scrum, the application is reviewed along each step of the process, meaning that changes can be made during the product’s development with comparatively greater ease. It benefits both the developer team and the customer as it reduces the development time cost.

For Agile developer teams, the benefits extend beyond customer satisfaction and development time. Using the Agile Scrum methodology is a more collaborative process, which brings each area of the team closer together to work as one unit.

The key aspect of the Agile Scrum is having a daily meeting where everyone discusses what they’ve been working on and what’s next. It allows the teams to share problems and brainstorm together to devise solutions together, which can lead to a better working environment for the developers.

Ultimately, who benefits the most from Agile Software Development with Scrum ? The end user.

Due to the iterative nature of the product development, the application has undergone a great deal of review, tweaking and testing along its development process, so the finished product has already dealt with the majority of issues or bugs and is at its most optimum level by the time it reaches the consumer.

Contact Us, At FusionHit we provide expert development in web and mobile applications for businesses in USA and beyond. Find out now how we can help you!