Developing an app project for your enterprise doesn’t have to be rocket science. Proper preparation for a software development launch is every bit as critical for you as it is for NASA when it comes to ensuring a successful liftoff.

To set yourself up for a smooth launch, don’t forget to go through these ten simple steps during your countdown before project launch.

There may be a few more things to think through before firing up your engines, but we think these are the most important.

Preparing for liftoff in…

10. Pinpoint your need for software development

Although you may have a general idea of why you need an software development, you can’t begin a successful project without first stating the specific challenge it will address.

Be honest with yourself and ask what problem or challenge you hope this software will help you overcome. Why do you want to build this solution? What’s the pain point that’s triggering the necessity for it?

Identifying the gaps this solution will solve and challenges you are looking to overcome, will help pinpoint and steer your project to success.

9. Inventory your infrastructure

Begin by examining the resources you already have. Whether they’re in use or not, take inventory of the technology—hardware and software, training materials, IT infrastructure, and other resources available to you.

Can you leverage what you already have? If you have existing software, content, or materials, see if there is a way to utilize them and pull what is still relevant.

If it’s an older software system, you may want to start from scratch, but some of the content may be salvageable. If you have something that you can use its current state, great!

8. Understand your users

Think about your users and how they’re currently using resources that already exist. Identify where these resources are falling short and call out any gaps.

Do learners even know that the current resources exist? What struggles do they currently face day-to-day or while on the job that are not being met by these resources?

Understanding your users is paramount to properly plan the scope of your project, because the scope is dictated by use case, which is developed by having a keen understanding of your users needs.

At the end of the day, if you don’t understand your users, your use case and scope for the software development is going to be off. Don’t do that. Take the time to dig in and understand your users.

7. Clarify your challenges and identify opportunities

Take a moment to review your responses in the previous sections. They should help you see your current situation more clearly and also provide a new perspective on opportunities for growth. Be completely honest with yourself and take a hard look at your answers.

  • What gaps have been revealed in your current situation?
  • What do your responses tell you about how to grow stronger?
  • What do your responses tell you about what’s working and what isn’t?
  • How will software development fix these gaps?

6. Prepare to overcome your challenges

Think through the challenges you identified and keep it simple as you set some primary goals to overcome them. Stay focused on your key objectives and don’t let your options overwhelm you.

In software development, it’s critical to keep in mind your single most important goal and top three objectives for the project. Let these be your northern star as challenges arise.

5. Determine activities

Identify the user activities that will help overcome the key challenges to meet your overall goals and objectives.

  • What specific actions do you want users to take when using this software?
  • What tasks—new or existing—should take place within these activities to help complete them?

Re-evaluate steps number ten and eight if you’re struggling to answers these questions succinctly.

4. Identify the resources for the software development process

Now that you know what user tasks will help meet your goals, it’s time to begin making a list of the resources you’ll need to make them happen.

Go back and look at number nine, what resources did you identify that already exist? If you can leverage any of those, great! Keep in mind that resources don’t just mean documents and content. Who are the key individuals in your organization to this project and its success?

Depending on the size and scope of your project, the internal (or external if working with a partner) resources may look different every time.  Final staffing, allocations, and costs for the software development process would be determined in post-discovery.

3. Prioritize and iterate

Prioritize your activities to address those that will have the greatest impact first. This will help you finalize a story map to work through in a fast, efficient iterative fashion.

When developing a project timeline for your software project, we recommend that you work in an agile-fashion to get quick-wins and stakeholder alignment.

2. Acknowledge hurdles

Once your story map is created, think through the hurdles you will need to work around or overcome to complete your software development project. This is a crucial step, as it’s much easier to acknowledge and plan for these hurdles now than it is to try to overcome them unplanned as they pop-up.

Keep the following in mind as you plan a hurdle contingency plan:

  • What is the appropriate escalation process for hurdles?
  • How will challenges be brought to the forefront of the project plan?
  • Who are the appropriate individuals to address issues as they arise?

1. Team up for the software development process

Now is the time to work with the managers of your existing training and technology resources. Gain their support of the project by talking through this guide with them. Then, find the right partner (internally or externally) who you can trust to help execute your software development project successfully.


Congratulations! You’re ready to launch your project. By carefully going through each of these steps, you are well on your way to a project free from turbulence, stalls, or red alerts.

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