Running your own business is hard. You have a lot of stuff going on: marketing, sales, budgeting, paperwork, and much more. But what if you need a technical solution? How can you find a software development vendor that will fully satisfy your business needs, carefully plan your project, and properly organize and manage a development team? The answer is by collaborating with a vendor that provides project management services.
A project manager makes sure your project meets deadlines and budget constraints, ensures a stable flow of deliverables, manages routine, and more. Name a development process and a project manager will surely be involved. A project manager can even integrate your in-house development team with a remote team and be responsible for them (that’s what we did for World Cleanup Day).
In this post, we’ll tell you why project managers are vital for app development and what they do at every stage of software development. But first, let’s have a quick look at the stages of app development at Yalantis to explain the main goals and principles of project management.
[A project manager at work]
What are the app development stages at Yalantis?
We’ve been in the app development game since 2008, so we’ve had time to work out our method of managing app development. We’ve combined our own experience with the most effective methodologies to create our software development lifecycle (SDLC) – a framework for defining and distributing app development tasks. Check out the stages of our SDLC:
Negotiation — This is the starting point for our collaboration. At this stage, we determine your most critical business goals, elicit your expectations and constraints (and tailor our SDLC accordingly), learn about your development team, and provide a rough estimate for the project.
Discovery — At this stage, we conduct business analysis, do architecture and UI/UX research, build a product roadmap, form the product development backlog, and perform initial setup of the communication and development processes. We also provide you with a detailed estimate for complete app development.
Development — This is when we implement the architecture and design plans we’ve previously prepared, properly testing every piece of code. During this stage, we deliver software iteratively, sticking to the plan and giving regular feedback on how development is going.
Release — This is the actual process of deploying software. During the release stage, we make backups of the stable version of the product and check that all servers are working correctly.
Post-release support — If needed, we can help you improve or stabilize your app after it goes live. This stage is the most popular with clients that already have a functioning app.
What is the value of a project manager at every stage of app development?
Now that you understand how app development goes at Yalantis, we’ll talk about the project management workflow, to show a project manager’s value at every stage.
You’re probably wondering if a project manager has to participate in this stage. In our experience, we say yes, because a project manager:
Weighs your business goals, budget, deadlines, and commitments. For example, if you have a marketing campaign to promote your new app in three months, the project manager will consider that when estimating the time required for development.
Is responsible for choosing the SDLC model to develop a technical solution for your business. Need a fixed budget? A project manager will select an appropriate SDLC to give your project predictability and visibility. Want to add top-notch functionality to your existing app? A project manager will suggest possible ideas along with the budget and timeline required for development.
Forms a team specifically for your project. For example, if you have time and the budget is your only limitation, a project manager will suggest only a basic team of developers. Pressed for time? Then a project manager can compose an extended team to do the work twice as fast.
During negotiations, a project manager helps you decide how to develop your project, what features to include, and what team you need without your having to dig into development details and tedious paperwork.
Once we shake hands and initiate the app development process at Yalantis, your project manager gets down to planning, decomposing tasks, and splitting development into iterations (sprints). All of that is done taking into account your budget and deadlines to create value for your business.
Here’s what an elaborated project plan includes:
Quality Management Plan
Communication Management Plan
Project WBS (Scope Baseline) & Earned Value Management
Budget and Milestone List (Budget Baseline)
Project Performance Chart
Schedule (Schedule Baseline)
Aside from creating a project plan, a project manager sets up work processes, chooses the best communication tools, and prepares everything for successful product delivery. As a result, you receive a detailed budget breakdown and a release roadmap (to know when the next payment milestone is), along with information about risks. In addition, a project manager ensures that the development plan is transparent and flexible.
To sum up, during this stage a project manager makes sure that all planning is done properly and provides detailed information on possible risks (along with a plan to avoid them) and changes you may want to implement.
At this stage, a project manager coaches the team, fully involved in the guiding process. They initiate team meetings, visualize the scope, address changes, control deliverables, and resolve issues or misunderstandings.
Project managers track documents and provide you with team evaluation reports, defect reports, and any other documentation both on-demand and at regular intervals, even if you haven’t requested any feedback. They’re also responsible for backlog updates and informing the team about change requests and testing results. In other words, project managers handle all routine project management work, carefully monitoring software development.
It’s up to the project manager to demonstrate the value delivered, make the development process transparent, be responsive, establish close collaboration with you and between team members, and eliminate any obstacles to project development.
During the development stage, our project managers do their best to help clients understand how certain changes or issues can influence the project’s scope and budget. If there are issues related to technology, investors’ demands, and so on, your project manager will inform you if the project still fits within time and budget constraints.
As you can see, throughout the development stage, project managers help the team resolve issues and develop the product with minimum risks and maximum quality. The project manager makes sure that the project’s concept is maintained and that time frames aren’t exceeded. Basically, the project manager becomes an all-in-one delivery manager and problem solver.
The project manager carefully monitors each deployment stage to make sure the product works consistently. You can be sure that you’ll get stable product backups, a final project report, environment specifications, and a list of implemented features. Additionally, a project manager will prepare a set of recommendations for app support and ideas for improving the app in future versions.
Once the product has been released successfully and on time, the development team – under the project manager’s command – ensures that the software functions correctly. In addition, if a client comes to us with a ready app, a project manager can initiate a technical audit and perform app and industry analysis to suggest improvements. What’s more, a project manager can introduce different growth hacking techniques to boost the client’s business performance.
At this stage, a project manager becomes more of a business partner, controlling support operations and ensuring that the app is stable and successful.
As you can see, a project manager is a vital gear in the complex app development machine: take it away, and you’ll have to spend weeks putting the mechanism together again. If you need a project manager for your app development projects or would like to learn more about how to manage app development, we'd be happy to help!