Development teams from around the globe indicate that, at least once in their career, they struggled to deliver project results that are in line with their managers’/stakeholders’ expectations. The reasons behind their difficulties can be numerous: from unclear objectives, internal disagreements, unreasonable deadlines and requirements, insufficient funds, and more.
However, in the majority of cases, all complications can be traced back to the 6 greatest factors which influence the development team’s productivity and, in the end, software performance.
Factor No 1: Client Communication
A client is expected to outline all of their wishes and requirements prior to the beginning of the project so that the software development team would be able to clearly define the goals and purpose of the final product. If the client and the developer are not on the same page from the start, confusion, mistakes, delays, and an increase in costs can cause detrimental setbacks and dissatisfaction (on both sides). A stable channel of communication should be established where all the concerns and achievements are documented, and the number of misunderstandings is brought down to a minimum.
Factor No 2: Target market
While working on a project, a software developer has to keep its target user in mind at all times. It is crucial to define who the product is intended for, which problems it solves for them, and in which way. With a value-driven statement in place, the developer stays on track through the project. But to be one hundred percent sure that users’ needs are understood, the development process needs to be accompanied by regular user testing. This provides essential feedback that helps to make the most appropriate changes and ultimately deliver an exceptional solution.
Factor No 3: Developers
It goes without saying that the success of the project largely depends on the people who need to carry it out. The right software development team has to include senior developers who have relevant previous experience, meaning that they have already worked on and completed the same project. They are likely to predict potential issues and setbacks, having gone through them once already. They are able to offer alternative approaches upfront and help arrive at the final stage faster and with better results.
We know what you might be thinking: senior developers come at a higher price, but look at it this way: the more they know, the less they make mistakes; and the more efficiently they work, the quicker the testing and development will take, thus saving your money and resources.
Factor No 4: UX Designers
Quite often, web designers and developers have diametrically different ideas of what the final product should be. While designers insist on making it visually appealing, developers tend to focus only on the functional aspect. If the two parties don’t define clear objectives, somewhere down the line, the software is unlikely to satisfy either of them (or the client, for that matter). For this reason, a wireframe has to be drawn in the earliest stages, where the top UX designers will come up with an aesthetic solution they know will appeal the most to target software users.
Factor No 5: Project Managers
We know: from a software developer’s perspective, a project manager is sometimes nothing more than a nuisance. But to really be sure that the entire team is focused and on schedule, you need to appoint a responsible figure who will keep track of all the milestones and ensure they are completed as per the agreed deadline. A project manager will be proactive in terms of organizing daily/weekly/monthly meetings where the development team members would discuss the details of their work and agree on future steps. A manager’s job is also to equally and fairly delegate the work that needs to be done in order for the developers to approach their tasks unburdened and focused.
Factor No 6: Team Size
The old “too many people - too many opinions” can be applied in software development, as well. And no, there is no one ideal number of team members, as it all depends on the size and complexity of the project. But keep in mind that overcrowding the project can have as much of a negative impact as not hiring enough people for the job. The balance should be achieved, where each person is entrusted with a task they are qualified for, but not overstretched to the point where they are unable to focus and work stress-free.
Overall, it is safe to say that, although the machine seems to be the center of attention, a human factor has the greatest influence on software development. Who is involved in the project, their expertise, and even their feelings largely affect the outcome.