Is your team or organization in the process of undertaking a large software development project and you’re finding that the preparation or execution of that project could be improved upon? With the accelerating speed of technological progress, organizations can quickly find themselves in this challenging position.

On one hand, implementing new technologies efficiently can help your company stay ahead of the competition. On the other hand, implementing new technologies too quickly can inadvertently result in unintended consequences. The push to move a project too quickly can introduce fatal flaws and cost an organization significantly. Applying strategic planning techniques can help minimize the risks associated with implementing too many integrated technologies too quickly. In this article, we will discuss some of the benefits of planning for a large project in a more effective way and some of the risks associated with improper planning.

How To Plan For A Large Project

When you’re taking on a new project, it’s important to implement a strategic plan of action. Early preparation and a systematic approach can allow your team to define what success looks like and in turn track the success of a new project. To move forward with a strategic plan of action, we emphasize the use of a proof of concept. A proof of concept acts as a stripped down, lean prototype of a larger project that can help test the hypothesis that the integration of a larger project is achievable. This proof of concept should closely represent the larger project or integration in question as well as prove that the integration is possible and that it performs the essential tasks. The success or failure of a proof of concept can reveal the strength or vulnerability of a larger project and pinpoint exactly what aspects of the endeavor could keep a project from being successful. Furthermore, this feedback can allow a team to move forward to effectively scale up a solution or add complexity to a project.

Best Practices For Proper Planning With A Proof Of Concept

If you’re going to use a proof of concept to plan more effectively for a big project, there are some best practices to follow. These best practices can increase your likelihood of success and expose vulnerabilities in the project in question.

Start with a realistic plan. The simple act of formalizing a realistic plan can save your team time and money. Without a plan, you may spend unnecessary time trying to prove a concept. So, before beginning any development, consult with all key players to ensure the goals of a proof of concept are doable within the given timeline.

Formalize the big goal into smaller deliverables. Breaking down a bigger goal into smaller executable goals can help for many reasons. First, it allows a team to see a larger project from a different perspective. Here, a team may be able to pinpoint certain deliverables that would derail a project or cost excess time or money. This also allows a team to define what success looks like in a given project. In this case, if all the given action items or deliverables of a given proof of concept are met, a team can be confident that the initial goal of the larger project is met.

Ensure the proof of concept mirrors the larger picture. If your proof of concept is acting as a stripped-down prototype of a larger project, make sure it represents all the qualities and characteristics of the larger project. What you want to avoid is configuring a proof of concept that does not represent the larger picture. Here, success in a proof of concept will not necessarily tell you anything about the success of the larger project. Gather extensive feedback from all key players involved to ensure your proof of concept does in fact act as an effective representation of the larger project.

Why It’s Important To Plan For A Large Project

Planning for larger projects can save you challenges in the future and give you much-needed big picture insight. The primary issue we see is when a team takes on too large of a project and does not have a realistic understanding of the associated time it takes to complete that project. This simple approach to strategically planning for larger projects can save your team time, money, and stressful missteps along the way.

Moving Forward

As you move forward to readdress your project planning, work to get all the key players of a given team or organization to buy into the plan. First and foremost, healthy collaboration among individual contributors is a must. Key individual contributors often possess a unique set of skills or expertise that can provide critical insight related to the project requirements. Supporting intersegment and cross-platform collaboration goes a long way in ensuring you plan large projects in a realistic and effective manner.