In an ideal world, the deadline is the thing that helps to organize the work efforts. But the software development is a complicated process demanding dedication and creativity. For many creative people, deadlines cause additional stress, and other people wonder if deadlines are really necessary.
Do We Need Deadlines?
In fact, we do. It is the nature of the human mind that any task would take as much time as you give it. Sometimes, we let the jobs stay in limbo for too long, and complete them in a flash when the deadline comes. It is a known psychological phenomenon, but it is definitely not the healthiest way of working. On the other hand, if we don’t set the exact period for any task, we’ll never complete it.
That’s why planning and following the schedule play a pivotal role in all involved processes.
Speaking of the software development process, we deal with a sequence of tasks. Each task has its target, its requirements, and its deadline. This scheme makes the process organized and helps the team to put the big fat period for the full-functional product release on-time.
There are more practical necessities for keeping deadlines:
- This work is costly. For most outsourcing teams, sticking to the work schedule is a question of budget. Customers want to offer products to their clients and earn money as soon as possible.
- You’d hardly find a unique application on the market – there will be lots of alternatives. Thus, if the team delays the product, competitors may launch their apps first.
- Providing the product by a particular date is a question of work dignity. Customers reach their marketing goals, and your team works for its brand name.
Under any circumstances, keeping deadlines is crucial. Unfortunately, it is not the easiest task.
We tend to plan an ideal performance. But there will always be obstacles. So, the project managers have to develop the worst scenarios and consider all the potential troubles.
Time Planning Risks Evaluation
Planning and management are critical factors for software development. No team can afford to fail them. And though each task is individual for the respectful developers’ group, there are standard delay reasons. We consider them in advance – it makes the working plans more realistic.
- The nature of the task. IT teams develop products from scratch or take the legacy product to support, upgrade, and enhance it. The latter case is more complicated, as is requires a thorough code audit. Outdated codes can make even the most experienced developers suffer.
- Usage of third-party services. The main problem is that you can’t control them. Any troubles in their performance cause delays in your work. They change API for their data retrieving, or encrypt those data, or do lots of other things to add grey hairs to your team members.
- Human factor. In the perfect story, you’ll have an outstanding team of specialists that will start the project and bring it to an end. In reality, people get ill, quit the companies, or join the project in the process and require more time for onboarding. Some performers might not possess the expertise on the highest level, or you’ll have to spend time on teaching juniors.
- Change of requirements – it causes the revisions of the existing plan so that you might have to shift the deadlines.
- Communication troubles – if you need the customer’s feedback before proceeding to the next task and you don’t get the information on time, it can be a severe blow ruining your work schedule.
Of course, the most efficient way is to predict all these possible obstacles and develop a scenario that includes them all. Having clairvoyant project managers would be excellent as well. But we are just human beings. So, we have to fight the deadline breaches in other ways.
Meeting Deadlines: Practical Rules of Work
To ensure that you won’t miss the deadline, you need two things: a strong team and a strong manager. The first condition is a guarantee of precise processes and excellent performance. The second factor ensures that the team will have the correct schedule, be in touch with the customer, and react immediately to any issue.
- Make realistic risks’ estimation. It is the standard and inevitable stage in software development. Experienced project managers like ours detect the potential troubles and include them into plans for each phase. If some failure takes place – the team will be ready and know what to do.
- Plan the complicated process as a consequence of smaller steps. We evaluate the time needed to deliver each feature and option. At this stage, the Project Manager works together with the CTO. This person evaluates the technical difficulty of each task and adds amendments to the plans.
- Develop the plan B – discuss the plans with the CTO and tech leads. Make sure to have the reserves of time and resources.
- Be ready to adapt to the changing conditions. There always will be unpredicted things and cases where you won’t be able to stick to the original plans. The job will be to show flexibility and find the way out. You might need to use a different method, or involve more specialist. And if it is required to change the deadline – be sincere and professional in negotiations with the customer.
- Implement a professional task management system. Fortunately, there is a choice of such tools – Jira, Trello, Redmine, Asana. They serve perfectly for managing the backlog tasks. With the help of these services, project owners and managers prioritize the tasks and track the work process. An essential thing is the “backlog grooming” – the people in charge have to continually check these tasks and match them to any change in plans.
- Communicate with the team and customers. Miscommunication is the most frequent cause of all problems during software development. The team must always have access to the freshest information. Any new circumstances must be discussed and resolved. Not everything depends on the team in this case, but all the things that do – must be clarified.
Keeping the deadline in the software development process is the first-priority task. In some cases, it can be challenging for the team. Fortunately, our group is well-prepared for any issues. We offer a dedicated team for any project, and we able to complete any project from scratch. The team plans the work together with the customer, and you can be sure that we’ll find the optimal way for us both.
Besides, our payment models are flexible. It won’t matter if you choose the “Time and Material” (pay as you go) approach, or the “Fixed Price” (pay for the entire project at once). We always respect the deadline!