Importance of Planning a software project
“Automate chaos and you get turbo chaos”
Do you know how much time is spent planning for a Software project? And the effort we have to exert for it? With a study made, there is a consistent result for the relationship between planning and success. It is said that 33% correlates to efficiency and 34% for project success. Showing significant outcome to the reported 20% to 30% spent on planning.
Software Project planning has a vital role in guiding partners, supporters, teams, and the project manager on each of the project phases. This is where we identify goals, how to lessen risks, deadlines, and more. Research says an average of $97 million for every billion spent is wasted due to poor project execution.
This process needs trimming down a big project into tasks, having a team, and determining each task’s deadlines. This is when you build achievable goals to a large project making sure it is attainable within the agreed time.
Many software project operations plans fail because employees feel that they are not part of it. It is said that fewer than 10% of modification and change plans lead to increased business growth because most companies miss to work on the gap between strategic change and the operating guide.
What is a Software Implementation Blueprint?
Building software is extremely complex, which is an essential part of the software development process. Just like when you are building a house, it should be planned and it is projected in a blueprint, that is why it is very important for the engineers. It is the combination of a set of integrated steps to develop robust software products. Partner engagement is vital for every step of the process to understand customer’s needs and planning expected results. This is also to reduce risk to our customers by implementing this service before signing for the project.
Project Charter | Software project Planning
It is a formal, short document that outlines your project in its totality. One critical part of any project statement is to set the authorization designated to the project manager. Other inclusions of the document are:
- Reasons for the Project. This is for everyone to be clear about why they are doing what they are doing.
- Objectives and limitations of the project. This is the goal of why you’re doing the project. If you don’t have a clear purpose, your project is going to miss the point.
- Directions for the solution to any limitations. Have an outline of ways to deal with project limitations.
- Main stakeholders. It is essential to note the stakeholders in any project as they are whom you will be reporting to and manage their expectations.
- In-scope and out-of-scope items. Scope is the limits of your project, like its start and end date. In-scope items are those parts of the project process, and tasks or actions lay outside the project’s outlined process.
- Risks. Know all risks that may occur in the project to not be surprised. Then follow it up with a risk register and management plan in your project plan, where you describe how you will solve them and who on the team is accountable for discovering and working on them.
- Benefits. An excellent way to get a yes on a project is to show interesting and useful information to sponsors and stakeholders. List all the benefits on this part.
- Overview of the Budget. Aside from the project budget detail you will create, you may want to get an approximation on what you expect the project to be and who will have spending authority.
What are the uses of this document? | Software Planning
- To authorize your project. This sells the project to your stakeholders and outlines in general what they will get on it (ROI – Return on Investment.
- Primary sales document. Introducing this to the stakeholders, will give them a summary to present when asked about different projects, in that way they can focus their resources where they’re needed.
- Stays with you throughout the life cycle of the project. You will use this throughout the project’s lifecycle. The charter is like a roadmap without all the specifics to distract you in other project materials.
Foundation of data | Software project planning
Master Data – represents the business objects that contain the most reliable, agreed information shared to the organization. It gives meaning to business software projects and transactions, answers the questions of who, what, when, and how, and expands the ability to make sense of these activities through categorizations, groupings, and hierarchies.
Reference Data – data used to group or categorize other data. Typically, they are inactive or slowly changing over time. These sets are sometimes introduced as a “controlled vocabulary” or “lookup” data. It is separated from Master Data. Both show connections for business transactions, Reference Data is concerned with organization and categorization, while master data is concerned with business substances. A further distinction between reference data and master data is that a change to the reference data values requires incorporating modification in the business process to support the move. In contrast, a change in master data will always be managed as part of existing business processes.
Importance of EDI
Many companies have obtained visible benefits from automating their operations, such as order processing, purchasing, scheduling, and accounting. A report says that there are between $2 and $10 or more indirect cost savings for every document transmitted electronically to their trading partners. Despite the magnitude of direct cost savings achieved through EDI, advocates note that EDI’s actual benefits come from using it as a tool to simplify and improve business procedures. Consequently, they are reporting $3 to $5 in indirect cost savings for every $1 indirect cost savings from various business improvements made possible by EDI, such as reduced inventories, improved competitive pricing strategies, enhanced auditing procedures, and streamlined operations.
The phases below show the relationship of planning for the development of business plans and the business personnel.
Every project is restricted in different forms by its:
Scope goals – What job needs to work on?
Time goals – How long will it take to complete?
Cost goals – What will be the cost?
|Measure||1994 Data||2002 Data||Result|
|Money wasted on challenged and failed projects||$140 B out of $250 B||$55 B out of $255 B||More than halved|
*The Standish Group, “Latest Standish Group CHAOS Report Shows Project Success Rates Have Improved by 50%” (March 25, 2003).
How we Plan
Phase 1 – Initiation and Entry
Goal is to meet with the designated project manager and understand the project charter. Assist with preliminary ROI (Return on Investment) calculations as an initial feasibility analysis and cost-benefit analysis.
1. On-site meeting to collect information
2. Create needs analysis Document
3. Gain Formal Client Approval on Needs Analysis Document
Phase 2 – Requirements Definition & Planning
Goal at this phase is to understand the problems to be solved. “Peel the layer off the onion” by interviewing various key players and gaining insight into the causes and nature of the problem. This is the phase where all issues are discussed and brought to light. There are three valuable documents used for this phase.
1. Create Requirements (Scope) Document
2. Update Requirements Document based on feedback
3. Risk Analysis Plan – Both positive and negative risks are identified, and mitigation and probability of each occurrence is planned.
4. Gain Formal Client Approval on Requirement Document (Scope)
5. Create Project Proposal
6. Gain Formal Client Approval on Proposal
Phase 3 -Feedback and Project Kick Off
The completion of Phase 3 allows the client to make a decision.
1. Activity Plan – List of steps that need to occur, the sequence in which they need to happen, and the estimated duration of each. This is the project schedule.
2. Quality Plan – Level of quality required.
3. Communication Plan – This is the people plan, regarding who will be in the communication loop.
4. Project Planning
5. Define Project’s Deliverables
6. Create Implementation Plan
7. Set project’s milestones
8. Internal Project Kick-Off Meeting
9. Presentation of Project Scope to Project Team
10. Business Analyst hand-off of requirements to project team
11. Presentation of project plan including milestones and schedule
12. Review of project plan
13. Project Plan Revisions
14. Kick-Off Meeting with Client
15. Introduction of Stakeholders
16. Review Engagement Letter
17. Presentation of Project Scope
18. Presentation of Project Plan
19. Review Issue Reporting and Escalation Process
20. Set Client Expectations
Phase 4 – Custom Software Modification Development
2. Programmer Testing
3. Project Illustration Review (with Customer)
4. Quality Assurance on Software Modifications
5. Programmers resolve reported issues
6. Quality Assurance Retests resolved issues
7. Quality Assurance approves final project
8. User Documentation created for custom modifications
Phase 5 -Engagement and Implementation
Here the implementation, development, prototyping, and testing is done and forms the heart of the action plan. All changes are documented using the following:
1. Issues list
2. Change Requests
4. Completion sign-offs
5. Conference call to introduce Implementer to Client PM & Stakeholders
6. PM to send out Implementation Documentation
7. Client reviews and completes Implementation Documentation
8. Client sends Implementation Documentation back to implementer
9. Discusses training expectations
Phase 6 – On-site Installation
1. Install base software
2. Install Modification
4. Setup/Restore Converted Data
5. Training on Server Manager and System
6. High Level Application Training
7. Update Client Documents if necessary
Phase 7 – On-site Go-Live Support/IT Training
1. Go live with system
2. Modification Maintenance as Needed
3. Additional Training as Needed
4. Trouble-Shooting as Needed
5. Meeting with partners to review any outstanding issues
6. Next Phase Planning with partner
7. Complete Go live report
Phase 8 – Project Completion
1. Transition meeting to Customer Service (Technical Support)
2. Project Completion documentation filled out and formally approved
3. Review future opportunities
Phase 9 – Follow up
1. Meeting to discuss client’s additional needs
2. Success story documentation review and completion
Phase 10 – Extension, Recycle or Termination
Based on requirements, the Agreement may be terminated as the project is completed. Changes and additional improvement can be extended as it is identified.
1. System Commencement Survey
2. After Action Review
-Unreliable project expectations. Many executives have faced situations where they were seat with unreliable expectations. Completing the project time frame is a pressure as it may cause them to skip or fasten through the planning stage.
This takes part in why executives avoid the planning phase and go straight to execution. And skipping the planning process, which is a critical stage, will likely result in disappointment and revision, at the very least.
-A lack of understanding. Not understanding how planning influences the successful execution of projects is one of the biggest reasons it is neglected.
About the Author:
Shella Ross Mapendan – writer, together with Amjad “AJ” Khan Mohammed (owner) of aimINSIGHT Solutions have been helping small to medium size companies in their Digital processing transformations.
They have developed an innovative process that combines technology with a library of best practices, resulting in a solution that is affordable, easy to implement, and will significantly extend your current business software capability.
“Camibot from aimINSIGHT is a series of bespoke applications designed to reduce the burden of repetitive tasks for employee teams and assist with EDI process automation.”