How to properly structure an IT project?

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For an IT project to be successful, the project manager – who is effectively the conducter of the mission – must master:

  • Delays
  • Costs
  • Resources
  • Goals
  • Needs

Added to this are constraints that arise from the information system into which the project will fit as a new piece of a single puzzle. This has to be achieved without forgetting the high expectations of users, particularly in terms of user experience and ergonomics in relation to the digital solution (s) deployed.

It is also essential to consider the potential scalability of the IT system being planned. The envisaged web, mobile or software application must be able to evolve over time and complement the growth of the business.

A project is a set of deliverables

Generally, an IT project is split into several stages or phases. At the end of each of phase, a first version or even a first batch is delivered to the customer. This can also take the form of a formalized document, according to the needs of the specific stage. A deliverable is an outcome that is measurable and tangible.

Each deliverable corresponds to a small part of the project that is completed.

Under the Agile method, also widely known as the Scrum method, each phase of the project corresponds to a sprint. At the end of each sprint the project team delivers a new and improved version of the software to the client and/or users.

The key stages of an IT development project

An IT project follows a set of essential steps
An IT project follows a set of essential steps

The essential stages in the life of an IT project are as follows:

1. Frame the project: what is it and how will it be used?

2. Set up the parameters and perform the analysis: this is where we write the functional and technical specifications.

3. Look for service providers: build the team that will be in charge of the project (what type of service provider will you use: Digital Service Provider (DSP), freelancers, etc.?)

4. Find tools: what technological tools will be needed for production?

5. Analyze the different offers and choose: after having questioned and received quotes from several DSPs, the moment will come when you need decide and choose the most suitable partner.

6. Drafting of the contract on a fixed price basis or on a cost/managed basis. If you do not know which type of contract to choose, consult our article (Fixed price, managed: definitions and differences) that can enlighten you on the subject.

7. Project launch.

8. Writing of detailed functional and technical specifications.

9. Development.

10. Recipes and user tests.

11. Start of production.

How to properly frame an IT development project?

We start by defining the project precisely

During the ideational stage of the project, several points need to be analyzed and dissected:

The origin of the project – it’s purpose

Start by focusing on the reasons behind the project. Why will this project see the light of day?

Example: It’s difficult to booking a dance class at the last minute in most Parisian dance studios.

The objectives

We then turn to the ultimate objectives that the project seeks to realize.

Example: Allowing people to gain last-minute access to the remaining places in the best dance studios in Paris.

Key indicators to monitor

Then it’s time to establish key indicators that will be monitored during the project. These indicators represent the key points to be watched and evaluated throughout the project’s lifespan. These indicators generally make it possible to provide a quick snapshot of the project whenever it’s needed, and to see whether it’s progressing well – or not.

Examples of indicators to monitor:

  • The development speed of the development team,
  • The quantity of features delivered per delivery,
  • The number of bugs per development cycle,
  • Quotes outside the initial budget (in the case of a fixed-price project),
  • The turnover of project team members,
  • Etc.

The project team (and its makeup)

This step is also crucial for the success of the project.

Alone we go faster but together we go further.

When setting up the project team, you must ensure that only the most suitable profiles join it.

They need to be relevant profiles both from a technical and a human point of view – human qualities are also very important for a team to be productive and efficient.

To ensure that your profiles are technical and functional experts, always entrust the creation of the project team to a specialized IT service provider, such as a DSP with a strong track record.

Project subdivision

Subdivision consists of dividing the project into tasks that are then grouped into lots
Subdivision consists of dividing the project into tasks that are then grouped into lots

The subdivision of the project is an ingenious and useful step that allows the project to be divided into smaller batches, which we will call lots. Dividing the projects into batches makes it possible to efficiently work through the batches successively while maintaining a global ‘big-picture’ vision of the project. Batches can be processed one after the other, though in some cases it may be necessary for them to overlap.

Project planning

This step will be used to define and prioritize the project tasks. An estimate of the time to be spent is also made for each task. For each task that’s defined, the team will assign the most suitable profile to perform it.

What is the difference between Project Owner and Project Manager?

The person or people who will see the tasks through to completion are called the project owner(s) (PO). The PO has significant authority in the project, and is also responsible for writing the functional test cases (which are part of the development acceptance book). The PO checks that the developments being realized by the project manager(s) (PM) are functional.

The PE is responsible for understanding the functional requirements communicated by the PO and providing a technical response. The technical response formulated by the PM are commonly termed technical specifications, configuration files or even technical studies.

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