Phases of Web Application Development: Phase 4 — Continuous Improvement

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Title: Phases of Web Application Development: Phase 4 — Continuous Improvement

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If you’re joining us from Part 3 of this series, Phase 3 – Communication, welcome! We’re continuing our series about the phases of web application development with a discussion on continuous improvement.

Kanbanize describes continuous improvement in this way: “Continuous improvement seeks to improve every process… by focusing on enhancing the activities that generate the most value for your customer while removing as many waste activities as possible.”

Once an application is launched, our goal is to continue to refine it, removing any bugs and redundancies and adding new features to grow the application. This ensures the application scales with the client’s business and provides the highest value possible, which is always our goal.

In order to accomplish this, we follow a continuous improvement process to plan, manage, and launch new features and changes. Here’s what that looks like. 

Scope New Features

Just as we outline a new project with a blueprint, we create a scope document to outline new features. Creating a scope document for each feature means the feature is accurately defined, agreed upon by both parties, and planned for. 

It’s important to focus on a small number of tasks at a time, starting with the highest priority items.

A well-defined new feature scope can help avoid problems like:

  • The final result not being what the client expected
  • The project being over budget or behind schedule
  • Changing requirements for the new feature

Creating clarity through documentation is key to keeping both parties on the same page. By creating a scope document, you create project alignment between yourself and your client, setting the project up for success as you work to improve the application. 

Manage the Flow

After properly scoping the feature and gaining stakeholder sign-off, it’s important to prioritize tasks and manage the flow of tasks being worked on. If your project has a backlog of tasks to be worked on, meet with your client and determine the priority within the list. Again, this creates clarity and alignment between the teams and sets clear expectations for both parties.

Once you’ve prioritized the list, you’re ready to start the work!

It’s important to focus on a small number of tasks at a time, starting with the highest priority items. When the team multitasks and works on too many tasks in tandem, important details can be missed and the tasks could need to be re-addressed. We suggest limiting the amount of work in progress on your project so the team can fully focus on providing the right product per the scope document, fully testing it for errors, and completing it in the correct time frame. 

Make the Process Clear

As you start to work on each task, feature, or phase of the project, it’s important to give clarity as to where each item is in the development process. At Design Extensions, we utilize a blend of both Scrum and Kanban project management methodologies. Atlassian defines Scrum as “a framework for agile project management that uses fixed-length iterations of work, called sprints.” 

Scrum utilizes the following phases of work:

  • Backlog
  • Sprint backlog
  • Sprint

We then add on these steps for the best outcome:

  • Quality assurance
  • Going live/on staging
  • Live  

By having well-defined steps, we can easily track and view the progress of each task. We then utilize a KanBan board for each client so they can quickly see the status of any work in progress.

Kanban is a project management solution that utilizes boards to visualize the stages of a process. Within these boards, there are columns assigned to each stage of the process and cards to represent tasks in progress. Kanban boards are a great way to visualize the process with a client and indicate where each task is within the process.

We choose to update these boards based on our weekly meetings with the client because it’s most helpful for us. It may be for you, too! Keeping the tasks organized and accessible to both parties lets everyone stay on the same page and know what work is being completed on the application.

Putting It All Together: Developing a Successful Web Application 

As we’ve said in the previous posts, the key to developing a successful web application is:

  • knowing what the client needs
  • having a good development process 
  • using a solid communication plan
  • and employing a planning strategy to continue to improve the application.

When you do these things, you can better accomplish delivering the right product. It’s been repeated many times throughout this series, but communicating clearly, gaining alignment with your client, and providing clarity around the work in progress builds trust and leads to successful application development.

If you’re looking to build a custom web application for your business, get in touch with our team today! We’d love to walk through the process with you and create a helpful application for your business that improves efficiency and makes your day-to-day processes smoother overall. 

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