- Questions to ask before starting a software project.
Are you planning a software project? If yes, this blog will definitely benefit you with your project. Before getting started with the software project, it’s universal to ask and answer certain questions. This is because by answering those questions, you can accomplish whatever you want.
Planning a Software Project
Basically, there are three major phases of a software project. These are:
The success rate at every stage ensures an overall success. Hence, asking and answering questions in these stages is utterly beneficial. So, if you are about to start a software project with your team, this blog is for you. The following questions are what I feel vital to ask and answer. For a better understanding, I have classified the questions under 4 classes. Those classes are product discovery, user discovery, business discovery, and project discovery. So, without further ado, let’s start.
Below are the questions related to product discovery:
1. What are the problems you are trying to solve and why?
Creating basic software is not cheap. It consumes equal time and effort from the developer. Hence, it is better to know why the user is ready to dive into it in the first place? Also, it is important to leave an equal space for all the project stakeholders to respond.
2. Are there any similar products in the market? If yes, how would you ensure that your product overpowers them?
If there’s a similar product in the market, then you need to work extra in the research, design, and planning phase. Know how you can make your product different from the ones already existing in the market? What values should you add that the others are lacking?
Below are the questions related to business discovery:
1. What values the product is providing to the business?
It is important to know what values your product gives to your company. Is it enhancing sales/revenue? Will it provide engaging data?
2. How will you measure success?
While working with a team, it becomes vital to understand expectations. Brainstorm with your team to know how success looks like and how you would measure it.
3. What businesses risk usually?
Is there a crucial integration that you would need to work with IT on? But IT is busy out for 6 months? Is there any stakeholder who possesses a real vision of the product? But, for some time, they’ll be on leave during the development of the project.
4. Who are your key stakeholders? How would you access them?
Identify your potential stakeholders. Identify how engaging you want them to be during your project. How would you ensure that your product never stalls due to a lack of stakeholders support?
Below are the questions related to user discovery:
1. Who are your users?
Of course, you are building a project for the users. Hence it’s important to know who are those users? What are their desires and frustrations?
2. What values does the product provide to them?
This is the most important question to ask yourself and find an answer to. Why will the users be tempted to go with your product and not of others? Hence, understanding how you are providing value to users helps you determine which features to include and which don’t.
3. What threats prevail if a poor-intentioned user has access to the product?
There are two types of users, well-intentioned ones and poor-intentioned ones. You can’t presume that your product is being used by only the former ones. So, you better identify the risk(s) that prevail if a poor-intentioned user has access to your product. Doing so will help you cure those risks at the earliest.
4. Will we have access to users for research and testing?
Accessing your users is a vital step in researching and testing. Hence, undertake the process of locating and scheduling time with your product’s users.
Below are the questions related to project discovery:
1. What are the key dates associated with the product?
Is there any specific date associated with the product’s demo/launch? If yes, what is it? It is important to know if there are any date-sensitive deliverables. This will ensure the on-time delivery of the product.
2. What are the expected deliverables?
At the start of the development process, be sure to determine all the expected deliverables. Like, is it a mobile app? Or an API? Does your project include training once the product is ready to deliver?
3. Who is the sole decision-maker?
Yes, there needs to be a single and final decision-maker. This prevents the collision of different mindsets and thus, different decisions.
4. How can we all best work together?
How the team members would communicate? Will they be sitting remotely or side-by-side? How often and when the stakeholders will be involved? Set the rhythm for the project. What I prefer is setting up continuous calendar events.
You can’t know everything upfront. As you can not get answers to all these questions in one go. There is a need to communicate with the users and stakeholders to shape out the product. However, for successful product development and deployment, these questions should get the ball rolling.