Delays are one of the biggest issues with large software development projects. Any number of issues can slow a project down. These delays lead to more money being spent by clients and developers having to dedicate more resources than expected to the work.
While there are some delays that are impossible to avoid, there are several things developers and their clients can do to minimise delays.
Planning is essential to the success of any software development project. Going in with half an idea of what you need will just result in the project getting held up due to it not going the way that the client expected.
Planning should incorporate several conversations with clients to nail down the project’s full requirements. Developers need to plan around these requirements adequately, using either the Waterfall or Agile development methodologies.
For their parts, clients must understand that changing these plans part way through a software development project will naturally lead to delays. That makes it all the more essential that the project starts off with solid communication so everybody understands the intended deliverable.
Large projects naturally require big teams to work on them. That means a certain degree of autonomy within the team. Each individual should understand his or her role and be capable of fulfilling it.
This is where accountability comes into play. Project leads should build accountability into their projects so everybody knows what needs to be delivered and when. Think of it as an extension of planning. Setting milestones keeps the development team focused.
A lack of focus leads to wasted time. This time builds up as the project progresses, sometimes to the point where individual deliverables don’t get completed due to a lack of focus.
Large software development projects tend to involve a lot of information. How developers and their clients handle all this data will have a bearing on the success of the development process.
Mechanisms should be in place to handle and sift through all of the information relevant to the project. This is where the project’s lead developers need to get a handle on things. It is their jobs to parse through the reams of information they receive to determine what the team needs to know and what information actually serves the end goals of the project.
A key aspect of this is shielding developers from information they don’t need to know. Too much information results in a loss of focus that almost inevitably causes delays.
Planning Other Work
Rare are the occasions when a software development team can dedicate its entire working day to a single project.