How to assess whether you are ready for a software project development?

Elīna Golde
Elīna Golde
29 November, 2022 | 5 mins

The level of technical knowledge required to read the article: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (human) - the article is easy to read for any audience

Everything starts with an idea. Every product, system, software, app and platform developed by Mitigate, every achievement of ours was once an idea born either within the company itself, or with which a client approached us.
Ideas turn into projects, and in order to understand whether we already have a wholesome project in our hands that is ready for development, its author, most often it will be the client or the Customer, must be able to answer some questions. It is normal if the answers are not immediately clear to everyone, Mitigate is happy to help you get to them, but it is important to do it together so as not to rush the start of development and waste such precious time and money resources.

The process in which the Idea proudly steps into the shoes of a Project is called Defining the Project, and the questions to which the Customer must be able to answer are as follows:

  1. Is the purpose of the project clear? What problems will be solved by the implementation of the project and how?
  2. Is it clear who will use the product created as a result of the project? Are the actual needs of these end users known?
  3. Are there any other related business processes that will need to change as a result of this project or for its correct implementation?
  4. Is it clear what milestones must be reached before the project is completed?
  5. Is it clear what the project’s Minimum Viable Product or MVP is?
  6. Is this all described in a specific requirements format? (This is a specific point where we can help. Read about the Feasibility Study)
  7. Is it clear how much the project will cost to develop and is the necessary budget available? Are there additional funds available as well in case the budget is not the ceiling of project development costs?

By productively answering these questions, the defining of the project results in a signed contract for the development of the project. This is the moment when the Customer and the Developer join hands, become one team and head for the results together.

When agreeing on the agreement, the start time of the project is agreed upon, which means that we, the Developer side, will be ready for that time. Simply speaking, we will have reserved the time of all the specialists who have the necessary competences for the execution of the project, for the entire development period, and everyone involved will know exactly at that moment what is going to be developed and who will do what.

But how do you know when the Customer is ready for the Project development process?

  1. Is the necessary team ready on the Customer side - specific people with sufficient time resources? (Read more about the project team and responsibilities here.)
    • Is there a specific person on the Customer side who will manage the project, with sufficient time resources and skills necessary for this particular project?
    • Will the decision makers be available during the project development?
    • Will there be human and time resources for testing?
    • If the Customer's team needs training before starting the project in order to acquire certain competencies for project implementation, when will it be carried out?
    • Is there an understanding of the development process, who will do what, in what order, who is responsible for what?
  2. Has the Customer defined what primary and secondary product usage scenarios are planned in the project? Are there clear product visual requirements or brand guidelines? (Read more about the UX/UI topic here.)
  3. Is third party involvement required? (Payment operator, some state institution, courier service, suppliers...)
    • What is the purpose of engaging third parties and how do its solutions fit into the overall process flow and solution architecture?
    • Which third parties exactly? Selection of specific partners.
    • Are all contacts, specifications, contracts, necessary permits in place?
    • If not yet, it’s ok, but one has to agree upon when they will be (project time plan and responsibilities)
  4. Is the Customer aware of the risks existing in the project and the consequences of their occurrence? Are there clear preventive measures that each party can take to prevent them from occurring? (Read more about risk management here.)
  5. Does the Customer have an understanding of the costs of implementing changes - while the end users of the product will be trained, will get used to it, will understand that the new solution suits them better, etc. This should be taken into account, and possible temporary drops in productivity during the early phase of product use should also be anticipated.
  6. Is there an understanding of the operating costs and conditions of a ready-made product? (Read more about the Maintenance phase of the project here.)
  7. Is the Customer open to new information that may come to light during the development of the project? Are they ready for recommendations and opinions of the experts?

Productive answers should also be found to these questions before starting the development of the project. The answer can also be a point in the schedule, where it is agreed that, for example, we will start solving issue X in 4 weeks after the start of the project, while a specific decision will be made within eight weeks. It should be borne in mind that deviations in the execution of the project schedule will directly refer to the deadline and/or budget of the entire project.

Each project is like an individual living organism, and it is rarely possible to predict and plan everything; however, there are issues that are similar in all projects, and the ability to identify them and prepare for them in time is the golden key to success and satisfaction.