No matter who you are – with the possible exception of a company with in-house developers – launching a new software application means traversing the Bermuda triangle of development. What is this triangle?
It’s the triangle formed by the client – you, the project manager and the software developer. Each of these sides of the software development triangle have their own thoughts, opinions, concerns and pre-conceived notions. When you understand each side, you’re better prepared to tackle a new development project and make sure it’s done properly and at a fair price.
You may be the client, or it may be that a department within your company is the actual client. No matter what, though, there are certain concerns that the client has. Obviously, they want the application to be developed properly, on time and at a fair price. In most cases, the client does not communicate directly with the developers.
Clients either use an in-house or outside project manager, and it’s the project manager who must go between the client and developers. The client will have a tendency to question any price, and perhaps it’s easy for the client to underestimate what’s needed to complete the task, because they don’t really have a full understanding of all that’s required.
On the other side of the triangle are the developers. These are competent and technical people and their main drawback is that they don’t have a full grasp of the pressures and needs of the client. They also don’t interact with the client, and they don’t worry about closing the deal.
What’s interesting about developers is that they almost always tend to be overly optimistic. They underestimate the true size and scope of the task and invariably provide the project manager with a low-ball quote.
As you may now see, this person is the all-important key in a software development project. It’s the project manager’s job to act as a go between and to smooth out the misunderstandings that arise from either side.
On the client side, the project manager finds and negotiates with the developers. He or she provides the deliverables and timelines as well as works out the best possible price. On the developer side, the PM must communicate the client’s needs and oversee the project, making certain timelines are met and the application functions as desired.
One important task for the PM is adjusting the pricing. For example, the manager must inflate the developer’s low-ball price to account for unforeseen issues, and to account for what’s really going to happen. On the other side, the PM must be careful not to over-inflate the price so that the client doesn’t walk away from the deal.
It’s a tricky game, because if the project manager him or herself low-balls the price, there will be issues with delivery and with timelines being missed.
You now see how important the project manager is to the software development process. A skilled and experienced PM must walk a fine line between seeing that the client’s needs are met and that their budget is adhered to. The PM must also properly manage the developers and adjust for their underestimation of what’s required. When a skilled PM is used, however, your software application development project is sure to go off smoothly, effectively and on budget. We can speak to this, because accurate and effective project management is what Glorium Technologies does best.