Chaos in your IT project? Here’s how to sort things out.

Small businesses are often run by entrepreneurs who like to do things themselves. So even when planning an IT project, entrepreneurs often think they can handle it in-house with a small software team. But we tend to see a slight discrepancy with what was expected and what is realised. How can this be prevented? You can find out in this blog.

Software developers are not product designers

Many entrepreneurs who start an IT project begin with hiring a developer. Because, as the thinking goes, a developer can build software and software is what is needed. However, there is a problem with this thinking: developers are not product designers. Nor are they project managers.

Developers within small companies have these roles pinned on to them just because they are one of the few, if not the only one, on the software team. This is also due to the fact that entrepreneurs often have little experience in leading an IT project. As a result, they fail to see what and who it takes to achieve the ultimate goal.

The result is often a system that fails to meet requirements. Buttons are in awkward places or the flow is wrong. Sometimes basic functions don’t even work properly yet while new functions are already being added.

Figuring out the process is the first step

So suppose as a company you find out that the IT project is not running smoothly. What is the first thing you should do to fix it? Before thinking of the solution, it’s important to think about the process. What exactly do you want to have as a result, and what steps are needed to achieve the desired outcome? Think step by step about what all the tasks are. Then you can keep track of which tasks are still open, i.e. what still needs to be done.

One technique that we like to use for realising an IT project is the Scrum method. With this methodology, the development process is broken down into smaller chunks called sprints. Each sprint consists of a certain number of tasks that you want to complete in a set amount of time. This way, you tackle the process step by step.

Jira is a tool that fits well with the Scrum methodology. With Jira, you can create tickets for all individual tasks. This gives you a backlog of everything you still need to do. From there, you can think of what you are going to tackle in the coming weeks then dividing those tasks into sprints.

Short sprints allow you to make adjustments in time

To keep the process running smoothly, it is important for you to properly specify what the programmer needs from you in order to complete his task. Do this for each ticket before you start a sprint.  For example, does he need input on the design? Does he know where each button should be? You can also specify those things in collaboration with the programmer because, chances are, he will have an idea about that too.

At the conclusion of every sprint, there is something that absolutely must not be missed: the feedback phase. If you have built something in a sprint, test whether it works.

One of the problems of large IT projects is often that feedback is given far too late, resulting in a lot of time lost building things that are ultimately not wanted. You can avoid this by providing feedback after every sprint. The advantage of this is that you can make adjustments in time.

What entrepreneurs should realise above all when starting an IT project is that a programmer is not a magic lamp that you just tell your wants and wait for them to fulfil all your wishes with a stroke of a keyboard. So if you hire just a programmer, you are not there yet.


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