With the time and willingness on our hands, it quickly becomes difficult to sit back and twiddle our thumbs. Naturally, therefore, when beginning new software projects, our customers are often filled with an eager desire to help.
Of course, in these particular cases, most of the work will still be left to the software engineers; yet here at Software Planet, there is always room for expediting development.
In fact, by following the steps outlined in this article, not only will companies profit from noticeably faster deliveries, but developers too should likely benefit from a clearer understanding of the project at hand.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the main things that you can start doing today to help speed up development — and concurrently, as a byproduct, effectively lower development costs!
Write a Clear Project Description
All too frequently when describing functionality, customers assume that developers understand what they mean. Yet without the appropriate context, this is simply an impossibility.
Thankfully, however, overcoming this issue is a surprisingly straightforward task, as it may easily be amended through a clear project description. When writing your own, by the way, try not to tell us about your project from a purely functional perspective — instead, take the time to consider your goals and what you’d like your project to actually achieve.
In this way, not only will developers gain a better comprehension of your success criteria, but they’ll also be able to more accurately gauge the potential magnitude of the workload ahead.
Come Up with User Stories
Next, it is time to focus on your project’s actual requirements.
At SPG, these take the form of so-called user stories, which are nothing but short narratives designed to express our customer’s requirements in both a concise and understandable way. Incidentally, as you may have guessed, putting together user stories is also incredibly easy.
Essentially, all you have to do is put yourself in the mind of your future users. In this way, a suitable user story could be something as simple as “as a prospect, I would like to be able to register for a free trial.”
Once you’ve followed the “as a <type of user>, I can/want <some goal/action> so that <some reason, benefit>” format for every feature you have planned, if you’re no stranger to Agile, it is time to move on to the following step:
Optional Acceptance Criteria
Alternatively known as the definition of done, acceptance criteria aim to provide developers with the necessary conditions that must first be met in order for a story to be regarded as complete. This is useful to all parties involved, as it helps to develop a common understanding of how each feature will be verified and accepted.
As explained in a previous article, for instance, possible acceptance criteria could be any or all of the following:
- Rate from 1 to 5 starts
- Unable to rate twice
- See my previous ratings
- Cannot rate my own recipes
- See animation for every possible rating
Design UI Sketches
For customers with an eye for detail, it is also helpful to provide developers with a visual representation of what you’re hoping to achieve. Though this may seem like a tall order at first glance, by using an uncomplicated tool like the excellent Balsamiq Wireframes (whose cloud and desktop versions are both available as a free trial), you can easily create UI sketches for mobile and web solutions.
Create an Interaction Diagram
And finally, customers determined to jump-start their projects may also resort to interaction diagrams. As seen in the example below, by drawing attention to the individual interactions between pages, these enable programmers to conveniently visualise any website — no matter how complex it may initially appear to be.
What are you waiting for?
While none of the above steps must in any way be taken by the customer, for those with extra time or a limited budget, there is no denying that they can certainly come in handy — so feel free to go ahead and get started as soon as you like.
In the meantime, of course, if you have any questions at all, our team at SPG will always be willing to help!