It’s good to know what you want. It’s even better to understand how you can get it. So it’s no wonder that traditionally, the first step in any project is to make a detailed plan, divide it into phases, and set the goal, budget, and deadline for each stage.
Still, given today’s focus on ultra-fast development and gymnastically agile teams, is so much attention and effort really worth it?
At WebileApps, our answer is a resounding “yes.” That’s why we put planning and processes first and have used them to drive the success of more than 150 apps and nearly 100 software products.
Needless to say, we have some experience to share. In this article, we’ll highlight what project planning and phase-wise development bring to your project and run you through our development process.
Six reasons for project planning and phase-wise development
Even though in-depth planning takes additional time and investment, it quickly pays off. Here are six big benefits you get when your tech team takes the time to plan:
- Reduced risks
Making a world-class product is obviously much easier if you’ve researched the pitfalls. But planning doesn’t just help you see your unknowns: it means you can tackle them in priority order, based on the risk level. The Pareto principle applies here: 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes. Deal with your biggest unknowns in the first 20% of the project, and 80% of your risks will be taken care of.
Experienced project managers are your best asset for risk aversion. They analyze every phase separately to identify, assess, and avoid possible problems.
At WebileApps, we work with Scrum-certified PMs who take care of your product from the day you plan it to its release. They’re deeply familiar with methodologies and tools such as Agile, Waterfall, Jira, and Mural and use them efficiently in our signature GAP (General Acceleration Program) and EP (Engineering program) processes.
- Realistic milestones
How do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite. How many bites will it take to finish it? How long would it take?
It’s hard to answer on the spot, right? Instead, first, you calculate the metaphorical elephant’s weight. Then you divide it by the volume of your bites. Finally, set your daily goal, and voilà, you have the answer.
Sounds silly? It’s not. It’s actually what lies behind the concept of phase-wise development: tackling a large and complex problem one step at a time and setting goals for each step. The defined goals clarify the process for everybody: you (as the client), your stakeholders, and the tech team. They also create an excellent foundation for progress tracking and save a lot of frayed nerves.
- Money savings
Insufficient planning loses you time and money. Why? The answer lies in incorrect resource use.
Phase-wise planning reduces the chances of delays, glitches, or extra spending on unexpected team growth and scope creep. Each phase’s requirements, deadlines, and budget are clearly calculated and unlikely to change significantly. As a result, you don’t waste your money on unnecessary features.
- Proper human resource use
Thorough planning is synonymous with clarity. Clear goals help you understand the number of specialists needed, their tasks, and time limits. When team members know their scope of work, they don’t miss crucial details and focus only on what matters, in order of priority.
So how many teams should work on a project? At WebileApps, we find a maximum of two teams is the best number for the following reasons:
- The development process speeds up
- Each team is aware of its workstream
- The bus factor increases
- Accountability and flexibility improve
- Communication between the teams increases knowledge sharing
We use separate team units, each fully capable of end-to-end development. Such teams scale easily and are flexible, so you get just the right number of specialists and don’t overpay for somebody whose work may never come in handy. The cherry on top? It allows you to control the workstream better.
- Clearer progress tracking
Phase-wise development simplifies performance tracking. If you know what has to be done by a specific date, you can check and understand if the expectations meet reality. And here’s the secret: tracking progress after each small step is easier than after a giant leap.
Good progress tracking is particularly important for projects with multiple stakeholders. It facilitates the reporting process and lets you see how your development company is using its resources.
- Better results
Step-by-step development ensures that critical resources are used efficiently. When planning is focused and precise, you make the most of everything — specialists, finances, and time — and get a better product at the end.
So here’s the bottom line: planning and phase-wise development mean defining goals and improving resource use and performance. When combined, these things reduce risks, protect your budget, and get you a product that matches your expectations.
From planning to release: How we work at WebileApps
As you can see, we’re big on strategy development. So are there any special techniques and tricks we use when embarking on a new project? Certainly, and in this section, we’ll take you through the whole process of project development, from ideation to delivery.
Analyzing and improving your idea
After you share your idea with us, we get started on bringing it to life. Our Growth Acceleration Program (GAP) is the first step. Its main goals are analysis, design, and discovery. In GAP, you get a project design document, agile project plan, and prototype design in Figma. Here’s what’s included:
- Empathy mapping
- Mind mapping
- Information architecture
- Adaptive prototyping
- Support for the latest modes of interaction
- HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) review
Case in point: MFCentral is a platform that digitally transforms and simplifies mutual funds services in India. We used GAP and phase-wise development to ensure that we heard the voices of a large number of project stakeholders and created a product the client was proud of. Today, millions of users make financial transactions via the platform. See the full case study.
GAP has helped us deliver excellent results in a huge number of projects. You can also sign up for GAP and try it yourself!
GAP gives input to our Engineering Program (EP). This is an independent service focusing on customization and development, including:
- Pre-development: setting up a Jira dashboard, kickoff meeting, cloud infrastructure setup, and designing high-fidelity mockups
- Development: sprint grooming, identifying test cases in the current sprint, review and plan for feedback from previous sprint, delivery of sprint tasks and sprint summary.
- Pre-release: user acceptance testing, sign-off, and launch
Case in point: FoodHosts is a food ordering platform that focuses on user experience and simplicity. Its EP and development parts included OTP-based login, scheduling, and tracking deliveries. It had an architecture plan, sprints, reviews, QA, and third-party integrations. See the full case study.
Based on customer feedback and your project plan, you decide on new features. These are added to our engineering tasks, and development continues. In short and easily measurable time frames, you get an updated and continuously supported product.
Planning pitfalls to avoid
Even though thorough planning sounds like a guarantee of project success, you should be aware of some things. These might seem attractive but will end up damaging your project.
Wanting everything at once
We’d all love to have a brilliant product created in a short time on a limited budget. Unfortunately, as the iron triangle model shows, you can only realistically get two things at once.
Scope, time, and price are the three parts of quality projects, and you need to set priorities to build a world-class product. For example, a limited budget and a complex idea will mean more development time, while a large project and a strict time frame will cost you more.
Changing the rules midway
As a client, you become a stakeholder in getting your product out on time after agreeing to the project phases. Changing your mind means wasting time and money, and chances are, your impulsive request won’t bring you the improvement you want. The lesson? Stick to your agreement and leave improvement requests to the next agreement phase.
Adding too much of a good thing
If your product gets bloated, you may never see the end of the tunnel. Be bold and confident in your idea and dare to say no to the features you don’t need.
Good planning makes for great projects, which is why process-oriented development is one of our key working practices at WebileApps. We put planning front and center in all of our services, including enterprise application development, mobile and web development, UI/UX design, AR, VR, chatbots, blockchain, DevOps, CI, CD, and QA.
We have qualified team units headed by professional project managers, each capable of building world-class products. If you’d like to learn more, reach out, and let’s start discussing your idea!