Managing App Development Risks in Agile Environments

Managing App Development Risks in Agile Environments

In any given project, app development projects included, the project manager must be prepared to confront various risks along the way, their magnitude varying from one risk to the other. Without well-thought solutions, these risks can mutate into unmanageable problems that can potentially lead to the project’s failure. That said, it’s imperative that you as an app developer understand the most imminent risks and formulate workable solutions beforehand. This article seeks to help you with this by providing you with the four risk hotspots that you must focus on immediately and the most viable solutions to each one of them. Be our guest.

Managing App Development Risks

Staff Changes during the Project

One harsh reality in the app development industry is that your competitors will constantly try to poach the best talents from your company. This explains why most app development team members move on to new companies within their first three years in a given company. The danger of losing team members to competitors is that they leave knowledge gaps within your company’s ranks that new personnel often struggle to fill. That’s without mentioning how expensive it can be to hire and train new people after every three years, particularly if your project is scheduled to take more than six years.

I asked Outsource2EU, How do you sail around this obstacle? And they responded

Well, to begin with, you need as big a development team as your budget can allow. Secondly, you will need to employ the “squad-based” development model; where you divide your team into groups of tens and then assign each group a given task to accomplish. That means, at any given time, you will have about ten people with an intimate knowledge of a particular mini-project within your project. If one of those people move on to another company, the remaining nine will carry on without a hitch and even if you will need to hire new staff, the incomers will easily slide into the team.

If you are working with a shoestring budget, then you can try working with development partners from whom you can borrow expertise if the need arises.

Budgets Being Prone To Changes

It is hard to budget for a project whose path is unchartered right from the start to the end because you don’t know what to expect along the way. App development is one such project. You may, for example, the budget for your entire project and then just when you are convinced that things are well under control, some key team members quit thus necessitating their replacement. What’s more, your target market may change and force some objectives within your project to change, rendering your long-term budget obsolete. Such small hitches will eat a huge chunk of your budget and throw your entire project off balance.

How do you take care of this risk? By adopting the rolling wave planning strategy. In this strategy, you divide your project into several short-term phases (six months long maybe) and then plan for each phase independently. Because you can easily predict how the project will roll out within its first six months, for example, budgeting for phase one will be easy. Going into phase two and into subsequent phases, you will have a clearer picture of what to expect and therefore your chances of making errors in your budgeting will be minimal. A well-calculated budget is a change maker when getting different funds for your app.

Dwindling Team Productivity

With most app development projects running for years, the risk of team members losing focus of the bigger picture is imminent. Some members may reason that because the deadline is a year or two away, they can afford to relax now and only work hard when the deadline draws nearer. By the time they get back to their senses, their productivity is depleted to zero levels and thus you are forced to add more personnel in order to complete the job in time.

What’s the remedy for this? Just like phasing helped you to effectively manage your budget, it will come in handy here as well. You can manage to keep your team members on their toes by dividing one phase into several tasks and then instructing the team to complete them within a short duration, say a week or two. This form of development is known as the sprint-based development model; its main purpose is to eradicate laxity among staff members working on a long-term project.

Time Constraints

Time constraints while planning app development projects mainly arise from start time delays due to unmet logistics, unrealistic formal or informal project expectations, and/or poor management of time. Mitigating this risk requires discipline, dedication, and consistency on your part because most of the time-management techniques heavily depend on you as the manager.

First, you must always stick to the schedule even if it means foregoing your other commitments. Secondly, you must work by the book in order to avoid delays that result from noncompliance and other industry set standards. Lastly, you must manage funds prudently so as to avoid any future budget constraints which would potentially stagnate the project.

When planning app development projects, you need to have it in mind that the industry is very agile and one simple miscalculation can deal your project a huge blow. The four risks that we have discussed herein are the most common among a pool of many other risks that you are likely to confront along the way. With the given solutions, however, you stand a good chance of coming out on top of things for every challenge the project throws your way.

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