To ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible, things need to be prepared well in advance and, of course, closely monitored during the development process.
If you use an external service provider, preparation and monitoring are all the more important because extra people are involved.
Here are a few points to watch out for before, during and after the development of your digital solution.
Before developing your project
Having a clear idea of your project
This is the most important element! You need to be certain of your idea.
If you are not sure about your idea, your project may not meet your expectations because developers will lack information.
If, for example, you are 70% sure of your idea, do not start development yet; think more about your project. To do this, you can engage a service provider who will guide you in this analysis phase
At Deuse, we often advise clients through an audit and analysis to clarify the project before starting it.
Sometimes, a brainstorming session with your team is sufficient.
If your project is not well-defined in your mind, and you constantly change your mind during development, it will impact your budget and delivery timelines for your solution.
However, you should not go into too much detail because this could constrain your service provider too much.
You need to find the right balance, understanding the broad outlines of your project and your objectives while maintaining some flexibility.
Although there will always be adjustments along the way, your idea should still be clear before development.
In general, clients often know more about what they do not want than what they truly want. Try to focus on what you desire.
Guiding your project leader:
If you want to save time for your project leader, you can prepare the development of your project by:
- Listing websites and applications you like to provide references so that your project leader better understands your preferences.
- Identifying essential features to develop and less important ones, the "nice-to-have" features.
- Putting your ideas on paper: at Deuse, we create wireframes (diagrams of your solution), but when our clients provide sketches, we are pleased because it genuinely helps us.
You do not need drawings for everything, of course, but a few can provide a more precise idea of what you want.
Be careful not to go into too much detail, just like with the idea of your project, as it could overly constrain your project leader.
This pre-work helps set the right direction for your project.
Providing all necessary documents:
Before the start of development, it is important to provide your logo and branding (if you have one), your images and icons, as well as your content to your project leader to avoid slowing down the project and to meet the deadlines.
If, at each stage of development, your project leader has to consistently wait for you to provide the necessary content, you risk exceeding the deadlines.
You do not need to have all the texts ready, but it is essential that you have an idea of the type of content and its importance to plan the necessary space on the different screens or pages of your digital solution.
Choosing the project manager:
The project manager or Key User is the person in your company who will be in contact with the service provider developing your solution.
For a smooth collaboration, the Key User should ideally:
Remain the same throughout the project; this is a permanent role. If you frequently change contacts, you will waste time because certain project aspects will need to be explained each time. Limiting the number of contacts will also prevent potential information loss and errors.
Have significant decision-making authority in project execution. If, for every small decision, the Key User has to seek the opinions of others, it will impact the total project duration as you will always need to wait for team feedback. Therefore, it is important that this person can make decisions.
Understand the entire project, the importance, and impact of each functionality.
Be open to changes and new ideas. A positive attitude and flexibility will facilitate the smooth progress of the project.
Communication between you and your service provider should be as clear and transparent as possible.
Defining your budget:
Before engaging a project manager, it is important to establish certain criteria such as your budget.
You need to set a maximum budget limit not to be exceeded. You should plan expenses for development, but also for maintenance.
It is important to reserve a portion of your budget for maintenance (both corrective and evolutionary) and not spend everything on the initial version of your solution. Once you have launched it, you can determine, based on user feedback, whether you need to make changes to your product.
You should also account for a budget for unforeseen expenses that may arise during the project.
In addition to development costs, for B2C projects, you need to allocate a marketing budget to launch your product; otherwise, you may have very few users.
During the development of your project
For a successful collaboration with your project manager, you need to make yourself available throughout the development of your project.
If your project manager has questions or needs a document, try to respond as quickly as possible to avoid delaying your project.
In many IT development companies, the days when developers work on your project are scheduled in advance in a timeline. Therefore, they need to have all the information to make progress. If essential information is missing, your project may be postponed to a later date, which can have consequences for your project's delivery deadlines.
Also, pay attention to your project manager's requests.
For example, if they show you user stories (explanations of a feature from the user's perspective) or wireframes (diagrams of your solution), take the time to read them carefully to ensure that your project manager is heading in the right direction.
Checking your product:
In software development, the Agile methodology, specifically Scrum, is frequently used for project management. We also use it at Deuse. This method recommends dividing development into several stages, called sprints.
After each sprint, the client receives a deliverable (a demo video, screenshots, or a test site/application) of what the service provider has developed. The goal is to provide feedback and note everything that needs to be changed.
This feedback allows for corrections and modifications to your project during development.
Take the time to thoroughly check your product after each stage so that developers can adapt your project to perfectly meet your needs.
To avoid hindering the progress of your project, it is crucial to provide your feedback at this stage and not in the middle of a sprint.
Not forgetting your objectives:
Once the development of your digital solution has started, it's essential to keep your initial idea (not in every detail) and your objectives in mind to avoid straying too far from them, which can lead to additional costs and delays.
Of course, there can be changes during the process, and they should be taken into account. It is essential always to know what needs to be done to stay on the right track.
Sometimes, a client may no longer consider the originally requested solution and deviate too much through new requests. The risk is to become scattered and not develop the ideal product.
Even though the project management method, SCRUM, often used in IT development, allows for easier changes during the project, it's still important to be aware that some adaptations are more challenging than others.
For instance, if you've approved the design of your solution, and your service provider has integrated it, it's difficult to change it later.
It's crucial to stay consistent in your requests.
After your project has been developed
Use beta testers:
Once you have validated the development of your project, ask people who are not familiar with it to test your solution.
People using your solution for the first time may not behave as you expect.
The project team and the development team may have a biased view of the project.
So you need a neutral opinion to identify any weaknesses or areas for further improvement. Some clients even ask for an extra sprint for adjustments.
Don't be afraid to disclose your project:
Some clients are afraid to come out with their project because they want everything to be perfect before unveiling it.
Remember that adjustments can be made after development and publication.
Note that you will know precisely thanks to user feedback whether your Product has achieved Market Fit: whether your product appeals to consumers and has found its place in the market, which is what all project developers are looking for.
Maybe a few changes need to be made to get to that point, but without having your product tested, you will never know if the predefined goals were achieved.
If you follow these tips, your project should go well.