Budgeting for Roadblocks, and More Details To Help Your Development Project
If you’re planning a new development project, the best-case scenario is where most people start. Hoping for the best, and excitedly planning how you’ll use your updated functionality to grow your business is thrilling, and can be extremely motivating. However, the reality is that there are often roadblocks on the road to roll-out, and the best way to deal with them is with careful advance preparation. Today, we’re going to talk about what happens when there are roadblocks during your development project, and how you can budget and plan for them so that they aren’t as stressful.
May 2019 - 4 minutes read
Define the Scope
A key first step in any development project is defining its scope. Most of the time, businesses or entrepreneurs do this alone, then re-evaluate once they’ve got a developer in place. If you don’t know much about the technical requirements of your project, it’s a good idea to write down your wish list in as much detail as possible, then refer to it during initial screening interviews with potential development companies. They should be able to ask you questions about it, and use it as a guide to build an initial quote.
When the time comes to finalize a contract with your development company, the scope of your project should be set down in writing. This is often called a brief. Having a clear brief, or scope of work makes it easier for both client and development company, and can help ward against some of the potential issues that can come up during development.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that a long-term project should begin with the groundwork- you shouldn’t expect to add all of your dream features immediately. The first step lays the foundation, and the process of building out a robust new website or server should be done in incremental steps. Breaking down a large development project into smaller steps allows you to build up your budget, and keeps the project work-load manageable. It also makes estimates more accurate, and allows you to provide a functional product earlier than you would have if you waited until it was 100% complete to roll it out.
Budgeting for Every Contingency
During the budgeting process for your new website, server, or other development project, it’s tempting to think only about what you can afford right now. This approach may make you think you’re saving money, but if it means you’re comfortable hiring a less-reputable company or skimping on the features you really need, a long-term fix will eventually cost you more money. During the initial budgeting process, focus on the steps that build the foundation of your project- you can always add more features or functionality later.
Your website is your storefront in the online marketplace, and having a website that’s well-designed, user-friendly, and responsive is an absolute necessity. When a mobile website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 53% of users will abandon the attempt. Recently, Google announced that they would be incorporating load times into search rankings, which means that a slow loading site can have a huge negative impact on your business.
What Are Some Common Contingencies I Should Plan For?
If you want to ensure the success of your web development project, you’ll need to budget accordingly. Ballpark a rough budget based on the proposed size of the project, then add in money for potential contingencies. Your development partners will be able to help, as long as they’re clear on your goals. Here are some of the most common contingencies that could derail your development project, if you don’t plan accordingly.
- Requirements Changes
The requirements of a project changing is what developers often refer to as ‘scope creep’. While it’s true that completely unexpected circumstances could force a change in the requirements of a project, the best way to avoid this is by planning ahead and delineating every feature or function that you think you’ll need. Once your developers know your needs, they’ll be able to quote an appropriate price, and give you a reasonable deadline for completion. Adding in new features or functionality midway through the project could potentially push back your launch date, or add unexpected and unwelcome costs. Overall, managing re-work can be frustrating, and extremely cost-ineffective.
Another common issue that can come up during a development project is when your technical needs change, and you realize that your initial scope has the potential to limit the long-term functionality of your project. A good way to prevent this from happening is to have the discussion of upgradability early on in the process. The launch of a website is an exciting time, but if you’re thinking of it as the end of your project instead of the beginning, you’re going to be disappointed. Keep upgradability in mind throughout development, so your website can grow alongside your business.
- Key Personnel Changes
You may not think that internal personnel changes will affect your ongoing development project, but it has the potential to have a much larger impact than you anticipate. If communication stalls because someone new has taken over the project, you’ll delay your timeline and force your developers and designers to spend more time explaining everything to a new person.
- Feedback Issues
Ideally, communication on a development project should be timely, and both client and developers should rely on each other’s individual expertise. When you’re hiring a web development company, you should be able to trust that the advice they’re giving you is in the best interest of the project. If they’re unable to reach you for feedback, or if you are unable to take their feedback into consideration, it will likely cause issues that could derail your project. One way that we’ve found to help smooth out the feedback process is by appointing a project coordinator, who serves as the point of contact for clients. Having one person per team dedicated to client communication has been a key part of our ongoing success.
The Best Way to Deal with Roadblocks
With large website rollout, server update, or ecommerce site build, there are bound to be aspects of the process that don’t go as smoothly as you hoped. The key to dealing with these roadblocks is having an open mind, and keeping the channels of communication open between the different members of your team. Clear expectations, and effective project management can help streamline this process, and keep people on the same page even when their points of view are different. Only through your business knowledge, and your developers’ technical experience can you hope to have success with this project.