According a report from The Standish Group Chaos Report, only 29% of IT projects are successfully implemented. While the success rate of such projects seems daunting, embarking on a custom software project does not have to be scary and stressful. Having a mature creation process in place is an effective way to minimize the risk of failure. Furthermore, properly communicating this process to all parties involved in the project will put you at a great advantage. The right software vendor will be able to guide you and your team through the steps and expectations of the project cycle.
Here are a few steps we go through with our clients in many projects. By following this process, 98% of our projects are completed on time and within the budget.
1 We want to know your business
The beautiful aspect of custom software is that there is no need for your business to adapt to an existing application. Rather, the application tailor completely to your business needs. In order for us to make this happen, we seek to understand your business. What are the current processes? What are your areas of need? What works well? What is structure of your business? Understanding your business, especially the critical goals, will ensure you receive the best solution for your business.
2 Define the project scope
When software application designers understand your business inside-out, they will be able to work with you to design your desired application, making sure each function addresses any need or any weakness previously discussed. During this step, designers will seek to understand how you envision this application working. Not having of a concrete idea is not unusual. With the knowledge learned from step one, designers will be able to provide recommendations and options when defining the project work scope.
3 Provide mock ups and prototypes
A picture is often worth a thousand words. After a software application designer has defined all functions and has had the scope fleshed out, they will draw a mock up and prototypes. These allow you to get a good idea of the look and feel of the application. The prototypes even simulate the application functions to ensure the software development team have correctly captured the proper work flow. SunNet use this as a precaution before development in order to ensure our understanding is aligned with your business needs. In addition, clients can use this step to see improvements from their initial design.
4 Let’s start cooking
Once all the ingredients of the recipe have been defined, it is time to begin the application’s implementation. Depending on the project size, your software vendor may split the project into several milestones. SunNet strongly recommends this practice. Since 2008, when SunNet began to adopt and enhance the Agile development process, releasing projects to clients in several small deliverables. This allows clients the opportunity to not only review the progress, but also ensure the development is headed in the right direction and business needs are being met. Miscommunication can happen and it is better to catch them at an early stage as opposed to the end when a project is finalized.
5 Take it for a spin
Upon completion, the finalized project is released to clients for what we call the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) phase. During this phase, you as client will have the opportunity to review the application before signing off. If all looks good, the application will be set to go live.
Mistakes and miscommunication happen. That’s why it is always important to always have a process in place not only to prevent them from happening, but to minimize the harms in the event it does happen. The right project process leads to the best outcome, but is prepared for the worst.
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