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Software Project Management Best Practices

 / September 08, 2020

When developing the software with your team, have you ever wondered what the project management best practices are? Or what an excellent manager needs to do to ensure that their software products are delivered on time as well as within scope and budget?

To give you the most proper and helpful answers, we have researched, read tons of materials, and even interviewed several experienced project managers before writing this article. Finally, we have picked out the best practices for software project management.

Let’s go through these sections below!

10 Project Management Best Practices Deserve Trying

1. Manage the relationship with the client and all stakeholders

There is no doubt that effective communication plays an essential role in your project management. To ensure the smooth operation of your software project development, a manager needs to maintain consistent communication with the client and all stakeholders through the whole project. 

From the first days, make sure that each person has an in-depth understanding of their responsibilities and roles, as well as of the project: the scope, the milestones, performance constraints, goals and benefits of the project, etc. You need to apply day-to-day project management best practices by getting their working status thoroughly and constantly until your project ends.

Similar to the clients – it is crucial for you to inform your clients of all key elements of the project at the beginning. Also, coordination with internal resources and third parties/vendors will help you deal with every issue if there are any new requests or changes.

2. Have a risk response team

risk of project management best practices

As an intangible product, a software project requires managers to be ready for predictable and even unpredictable risks and problems in the development and maintenance process. For example:

  • Technological/ environmental issues (hard drive crashes, service problems, etc.)
  • Changes in human resources
  • Over budget or time
  • New requirements 

Hence, the question is, how to manage risks throughout your project?

First of all, your team needs to identify any relevant risk in every field and phase. It will be an ideal option if all team members can have a discussion of potential problems before implementing the project. Then, it is time to establish a risk response team with experienced people who can analyze the probability of risk occurrence, make plans to avoid them, and deal with the worst scenarios.

Trust me, almost all of the projects might go wrong, and creating a risk response team is one of the project management best practices!

3. Defining and setting up the project scope

setting up the project scope

Every project, especially a software project, needs a detailed and correct scope. It shows the main constraints in terms of time, budget, and quality, meaning points out which activities or processes would be done and which would not. 

To get a proper project scope, a manager is responsible for clarifying several questions, such as:

  • What are the goals and benefits of the project?
  • How is the expected software the clients require?
  • How to allocate internal sources efficiently?
  • Which requirements to ensure the standard quality of the software?
  • What are the potential problems? 
  • Is the estimated time and cost feasible?

During software development, the project scope might change because of both internal and external factors. But don’t worry, it is time to adapt to changes and tackle them to achieve the final goals.

👉 You may read: 4 Best Platforms To Work From Home More Productively

4. Estimate the project correctly

estimate the project correctly

In terms of software development, project estimation is a must-have step to determine the further ones correctly and make certain that the final product is delivered on time and within the planned budget.

Some main factors that need to be estimated in a software project are:

  • Software size: To estimate the size of software, we highly recommend 2 project management techniques, KLOC (Kilo Line of Code) or function points.
  • Time: How long will your software be finished? How long will each phase be done? Time estimation needs to answer these questions and more. It is time to create a project management plan template that we will discuss deeper in the next part.
  • Cost: It is complicated to estimate a project’s cost because numerous factors have an impact on it. Some of them can be mentioned here are the size of software, software quality, training, hardware, human resources, additional software or tools, etc.

Besides these factors, it is also important to take other requirements into consideration when developing software, for example, human efforts, maintainability, feasibility, usability, performance, etc.

One of the service Designveloper offers is project estimation, all you need to do is provide us your information here and we’ll have your back!

5. Implement software life-cycle methodology and develop a detailed project plan to track progress

SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) is said to be one of the project management best practices. Used in the software development project, this process’s purpose is to provide the high-qualified software.

As you can see, SDLC has 6 main steps, including planning, defining requirements, designing the product architecture, building/developing the software, testing, and lastly, deployment. 

We will go deeper into the project management best practices for each step of SDLC.

If what you want is a flawless execution of your project, you need to create a detailed project management plan template for yourself. 

First of all, write all the key elements such as project scope, budget management, resource allocation, milestones, and so on down. And then based on this, you can develop a detailed project plan for your team to follow. It is the most effective way to track the progress of your project and measure the completion status of each task.

6. Perform software testing constantly

project management best practices

Software testing includes 2 main approaches, black-box testing (or functionality testing) and white-box testing (or implementation testing). Black-box testing aims to confirm whether input and output match without any concern about the structure of the code. Whereas, white-box testing analyzes how the functionality is implemented to get code better.

Testing is a must at every phase of a software project, in order to find out the hidden errors and avoid failure. 

It can be said that there are 3 software testing levels. Unit testing focuses on the operation and efficiency of each individual unit. Integration testing points out whether these units are matching smoothly. And system testing shows how the final software works as well as its accuracy, quality, or condition.

Thereby, it is the reason why performing software testing constantly is one of the project management best practices.

👉 See also: An Overview of Project Management Services

7. Adapt to changes

define a project

Regardless of project scope, project estimation, or the detailed plan, your software project might change due to internal and external factors.

When it comes to internal factors, your team members might not complete their work on time, the project budget runs over what you estimated, or your project encounters some unpredictable problems. If you are in these difficult situations, keep calm and adapt to them. 

An experienced manager will track the project regularly to find out and correct bugs as soon as possible. 

In terms of external factors, it might come from your clients. It is normal when they want to adjust the timeline or give new requests. Remember to inform all these changes to your team quickly and take corrective further steps.

8. Hold retrospective meetings regularly

No one can deny the impact and importance of project management. The software project management best practices is a powerful tool that you can make use of to reach your goals. Along with these tips we discussed above, we also cannot skip a crucial method – periodic meetings.

It is a good chance for you to go through the status reports and check-in whether everything is following your plan. You need to review what your team did within a given time period, take into consideration problems, and encourage your colleagues.

Keep an eye for one of the project management best practices, guys!

9. Ensure resource availability and allocation as well as technical feasibility

  • Do you have enough staff with experience and excellent skills?
  • Do you have enough software and tools to ensure the best project management techniques?
  • And do you have enough necessary documents and materials for your software development?

Before kicking off your project, answer these questions and prepare everything carefully. Proper allocation of resources requires skills. Be realistic. Don’t over-allocate. Don’t waste the available resources. Make plans in advance. Change if necessary.

In addition, carrying out technical feasibility is also a must-to-do practice. In case of meeting all the customer’s requirements, within the project scope, could this software be built? 

This analysis evaluates the software, hardware, operational characteristics, and other technical demands, and measures the probability of the idea’s success.

👉 You might also read: What is The Quality Assurance Process?

10. Conduct post-project evaluation

project evaluation

We believe that you would learn useful lessons after each software project. Practices make perfect. 

Therefore, after a project ends, you should spend time evaluating the success, the drawbacks, the improvements compared with the previous projects. It is also an ideal time to have a meeting with your team to send your thanks to everyone for their efforts.

We all are aware of the importance of project management, and there is a fact that becoming an excellent manager is not easy.

Our related articles:

We hope that the project management best practices above could help you to build and develop more high-quality software. If you have any doubts, feel free to let us know.

Don’t forget to connect with us at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Cheers!

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