Have you ever created an early project plan, or a simple wireframe — maybe to get approval for the project — only to find it to be unworkable when you started tracking progress? With the right start, you can ensure that the plan you create at the beginning of your project is an effective management tool throughout the project.
The first step is to understand all the requirements. At this stage, you’ll need to gather everyone involved in the process to conceptualize what’s going to be done, and write that down. You can draw a simple wireframe and sketches of the final project too.
Business Analysts and Project Managers are vital for this, and also Key Users, to understand what they need and want from the final product. We recommend a team of 5 people maximum, to avoid empty discussion and eternal meetings.
They’ll get together and write the first list of requirements needed, as much detailed as it can be. The Requirements list will be a briefing of the project, for developers, designers and coders.
Understanding the audience
The users of the projects must be studied. The usage, too. How people will use it is very important and can determine the success or fail of any development project. It is essential that your project is useful and severs a purpose for your selected audience.
People are not the same, and not everyone use software or websites in the same way. It’s important to step into the users’ shoes and understand their thinking, needs and values. After all, they are the ones who will use your product.
This is why we recommend to have key users profiles involved in the planning phase, to help understand potential users.
Creating killer content
It is very important to think about what really interests people and how will they react to what you are offering them. You normally only get once chance to capture the user’s attention: if they’re not interested the first time, it’s probable that you won’t get a second shot. So, think about your users and amuse them.
Designing for human beings – help people
Some people just cannot focus enough on design, on thinking how form and function interact and how people interact with them. There are several unconscious and sub-conscious elements that can change users’ perceptions about a website or a program, and simply helping them find the specific button, or understanding how the program works, or even simpler: having the application have a pretty look. The design can improve a lot with the use of wireframes. Nowadays, there’s no excuse for having a poor looking app.
Technology – it cannot be possibly done
We all know the story of the beetle that cannot fly, according to aerodynamic laws. However, sometimes project fail because someone thinks that creating something is possible, or can be easily done, but actually takes too many work hours or too many people involved or some technology that’s not currently available to all. So, it’s very important to plan everything and discuss with technicians and experts to understand what’s going to be done.
Project Management – following the plan
Even when we get a map, sometimes we get lost. Why? Because somewhere during the travel, we forgot to keep track of where we were. This is to show how important it is to control the evolution, the iteration cycles, the steps and accomplishments. They’ll avoid the feeling of being completely lost, of not knowing where you are and how you got there in the first place.