DEADLINES: HOW TO HANDLE THEM IN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

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Deadlines have always been scary for anyone and everyone. Think about deadlines and you start hearing words like ‘trouble’, ‘disaster’, and more. Deadlines have become quite a headache for people. But they are highly crucial if we want to complete our work on time and if you have realistic and flexible deadlines, they can really help you do some of your best work. They can help you work simultaneously on different projects. They can help you time your work. They can help you save a lot of effort and money that would have been wasted otherwise.

As far as software development is concerned, we all know that time is money. No matter how cliché the term has become it doesn’t make it any less true. Software development is an expensive process and if you don’t stick to your timeline, it will create a budget deficit for you that will annihilate all your future projects and dreams. That is why a good software development firm always has a firm grip on its schedules and deadlines.

Also, if you don’t launch your software in the given time, you are potentially losing a lot of money. The more time it takes, the more money you lose, the more clients you lose. Also, the launch of your software might be tied to a specific date of some importance. 

Factors Affecting Time Management

There are a lot of reasons why people don’t complete their projects on time. They try and try and still aren’t able to beat the clock. That is because there are some external factors that companies usually don’t take into account. Some of them are:

Inaccurate Time Estimate

If your work involves a brand new project or product, that hasn’t been tried before, you might not know how much time it will take. Also, software development is not a linear process. There are many things that you have to do revisit again and again. If you are not prepared for this, you might lose a lot of crucial time.

Third-party services

If you are working with third-party companies then that could take up a lot of your time. They can change their specifications or timelines anytime and you cannot do much about it. This will mean affording them additional time to complete the task. 

Human element

There’s always something that can happen without you knowing in advance. Someone can fall sick, have an accident, or more. You might have hired someone and then find out that they don’t have the necessary skills that you thought they had. Also, someone might take more time than you had predicted to get onboard the project.

Customer-related Changes

Let’s not forget one of the most important factors in the software development process: the customers. Sometimes they might increase the scope of your work by asking you for additional features in the software. You might be able to add it or you might have to rethink the entire plan. This can make you blow off quite a few deadlines depending on the changes that are required.

How to Meet a Deadline

Now we know how important deadlines are for us and what are the major factors that can impact them negatively. Let’s see what we can do about it and how we can ensure that we meet all the deadlines that we set for ourselves and complete all our projects on time.

Identify Risks Involved

As project managers, one of the tasks that we have to do is to find out all the risks involved with our software development process and create plans and contingencies for them. There are a lot of ways that they can accomplish this task. They can use the risk matrix and find out the probability of something happening, the consequences, and the outcomes of such an event. If they create plans for risk management, they will ensure that there is no panic and since they already predicted it, they know exactly what to do about it.

Reliable Teams and Estimates

If you know your team, you will have an easier time finding out what they can work through and what they have trouble with. Without knowing your team intimately, you will run the risk of creating unrealistic deadlines which, of course, will not be met. Since you don’t know who you are working with, you don’t know what to expect from them.

Also, take your projects and break them up into smaller tasks. This will allow you to create more accurate time estimates.

Be Flexible

We are all told to stick to our plans no matter what. But there are some times when you have to be flexible and change the timeline. For example, if your team-lead falls sick or if some disaster strikes, you will have no choice but to change the schedule. There’s a time to stick to your plan and there’s a time to change the decision. If you have contingencies prepared, you can even go for plan B.

Communicate

No matter how good you are at project management, or how good you think your team is; it is always a good idea to clearly and concisely communicate your expectations to the team. This way, everyone will know what they are supposed to do and when they are supposed to do it. Without effective communication, it could spell chaos.

Conclusion

The process of meeting deadlines is affected by various factors and only when you take them all into account, can you develop a strategy to handle them. If you do, you will be able to meet all your deadlines without the need to sacrifice creativity or productivity.

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