Running a business is not a piece of cake. Many projects fail or are discontinued while creating process. On the Internet, we can read about many different examples of unsuccessful stories.
Failure of mobile application Vine is one of them. Even though at the beginning, Vine generated more memes and cultural moments than most apps with twice as many users, in 2013 did not handle the significant competitive challenge. The mobile application didn't provide changes fast enough, and as a result, more dynamic competitors Instagram and Snapchat took over the users. That is why it is so important to evaluate project success regularly. In the end, every investor wants reimbursement for the project costs, and project evaluation process will help to achieve it!
What are the proven and effective methods for evaluating project performance? There is a wide range of ways that may help you to measure your project's success correctly. The method you choose should depend on the type of project you are running and the project management methodology you are using. To evaluate a project, you must first set its goals. Project objectives are (or at least should be) specified before the work starts, and there is no reason for skipping that part.
Table of Contents:
1. What is the “goals defining process” and why is it so important?
2. So, how to evaluate a project right?
3. 5 questions you need to answer to evaluate your project success.
3.1. What progress has been made?
3.2. Were the desired project objectives achieved?
3.3. Do the project results justify the project inputs?
3.4. Is every team member satisfied with the result?
3.5. What could have been done better?
What is the “goals defining process” and why is it so important?
For defining project goals, it's great to keep it S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-related) or even S.M.A.R.T.E.R. (Evaluated, Reviewed). This methodology will allow you to stay focus on aims and work more confidently. You and your business environment need to know why you want to accomplish this project, what objectives are the most important in its case, and which tools will be used to make it happen. Remember, it is worth to prepare correctly before the IT project starts. We're sharing more useful tips in this article.
So, how to evaluate a project right?
The project evaluation process consists of collecting, recording, and organizing information about project results and lessons learned. It's beneficial for future projects you will be holding. Thanks to tracking project steps on every stage, you are informed about occurring problems, obstacles in the project, and it's much easier to solve issues, adapt changes and finally minimize the risk of project failure. The project process and progress are under control and the decision you make should benefit the organization at all times. Interested in other factors that have an influence on the client & software development team fruitful cooperation process? Check this piece about do's and don'ts of managing an outsourced Ruby on Rails team written from our Project Manager perspective.
The definition of success regarding projects is achieving a single project's primary goal. Of course, it's also important to deliver a project within the estimated time and budget. Just remember, your team and project managers should be flexible enough to adapt all changes the project needs so that the quality could be continuously improved. There is no good and bad project quality management methodology - each methodology has its pros and cons.
If you don't feel ready to conduct the Discovery Phase of your project on your own, we recommend getting help from our specialists. We have years of experience and the right tools to give your business the room to grow. All you need to do is answer a few questions in our Estimate Form and we will take care of the rest.
5 questions you need to answer to evaluate your project success
There are a few essential questions that are worth to answer during measuring your project success. For a greater understanding of the topic, we will use here the examples connected with the type of projects that we have the greatest knowledge about. And that’s web & mobile app development.
1. What progress has been made?
Look back at the improvement and direction of your project. Compare the reality with the assumed project plan. Make sure that you are at the place with your project that you wanted to be at the given time. And if you're not - what are the reasons for that?
Sometimes, some app functionalities take more time because of the things that are not dependent on the software house. For example - when we were doing Shawarmer, the biggest challenge for us was to integrate it with the NCR POS system. We could not plan it, but we communicated to our client right away, that it might take us some extra time. Clients will forgive you for some changes in the project timeline if you explain them correctly - but they won’t forgive you for keeping them in the dark.
2. Were the desired project objectives achieved?
Return to the defined project goals. Check if every aim was accomplished. If not, objectively evaluate the degree of the implementation. Make sure that you and the development team understand what means to achieve the goal in the same way.
For example: for you, the phrase “the app is working” means you have it published in the App Store, and you can send it to your friends to check it out. But for the software house, it might mean that they have working code on their servers. In both cases - the app IS working, right? ;) A mutual understanding is very important here.
3. Do the project results justify the project inputs?
We all want to have the biggest return from our project investment possible - that’s obvious. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be money that the project alone brings (but it’s great if it does!). Getting rid of repetitive tasks, having bigger control over your company costs or attracting new investors, amazed by how your company's tech stack looks - it all means money.
Yet custom software is expensive - there is no point in hiding it. A crucial goal of this question is to set your expectations at the right level. As you can’t go to the shop with 10 $ in your pocket and demand the most expensive wine, a similar situation goes with app development. It goes the other way around too - if you feel that you’ve paid way too much for the outcome that you received, communicate it to the software house. If it’s the right one, they should be able to explain why the price is like that. If they start to panic - that’s the red flag for you.
I will give you an example from our own playground - for months, we couldn't find the time to update our Railwaymen company website. Being busy with creating awesome applications
Because let's be honest - building a entirely new website from scratch is expensive. It took us 6 months of hard work between project, but we already see that our effort paid off. Higher conversion rate, more traffic and most importantly - more leads from business owners, that we were loosing before because of our outdated design. You can read more about our process here and see the website reveal video below!
4. Is every team member satisfied with the result?
Honest feedback is precious. Ask your team an open question about the delivered result. Communication is everything - keep that in mind. Do not avoid your team feedback. Be open to opinions. Even if it won't be flattering, it is helpful. You can be surprised by how many conclusions you will receive through the brainstorm.
The next step is to discuss your points with the software team. Communicate with the development team and address every issue or doubts that you have in terms of your project progress. Remember that an experienced software house also can give you constructive tips on how to improve your IT project. During the software development process, our Project Managers are using the best tools that allow completing work as efficiently as possible. You can also implement them in your daily work on the project.
5. What could have been done better?
It is time, to sum up, the whole project and bring a constructive conclusion. Indication of the made mistakes and showing the way of avoiding them is especially important according to the success of future projects.
It may be called as a whole Project Retrospective. Thorough project analysis is necessary if you want to evaluate whether work and project plan was not wasted. The best idea is to gather the project team together in one place, discuss work that has been done, gain constructive feedback from users/stakeholders and have lessons learned.
During our 10 years of experience, we've learned that agile project management is the most effective way for IT software projects, and we use it every day to deliver high-quality products all over the world. Thanks to that, we have better visibility of the progress, alignment of the software features, and overall project risk reduction. We do care about our clients, that's why we also have developed our methodology called Discovery Phase which has a meaningful impact on project success.
To everyone who wants to see some Discovery Phase real-life examples, prepared on a specific app idea: download our new FREE Ebook below!
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Please keep in mind that any approach may be right for your project. The leading success indicator is achieving project goals or business objectives. We highly recommend you to spend some time on Project Retrospective with the project and management team. The possibility to compare the project plan with the obtained result is essential for this system. That method is universal and will let you evaluate many of your IT projects. As a result of delivering a successful project, you can create a valuable product or service. Keep going!
One of the ways, to make your company more cost-efficient and working smoother is to create a dedicated software. But wait a minute, it's so expensive, I definitely don't have the money to invest in it! Well, let's ask yourself a question- do you have enough money and resources to NOT automate some of your business workflows? Read the article below and understand, why money spent on software might become one of your wisest decision as Project Manager or Business Owner!
Why App Development is So Expensive?