Software Development Planning: What It Is + How to Create One

Tuhin Bhatt

Co-founder of Intelivita

  Last updated on February 23, 2024

  8 min read

Research stated that only around 30% of software projects are successful. One of the main reasons is the lack of thorough software project plan.

Software development planning is the foundation of successful software projects.

It’s all about setting clear goals, understanding what you need, managing resources, sticking to a schedule, and handling potential risks.

When you invest time in planning, your project’s success rate goes up, and you can provide users with top-quality software.

In this article, we’ll explain the importance, benefits, steps, and additional tips for planning a software development project.

Therefore, you can help guarantee the success of your software project.

Why is Software Development Planning Important?

Software development project planning is vital for several reasons:

Alignment with Goals

It plays a significant role in aligning the project with the overarching goals and objectives of the organization.

This ensures that your software project is not a standalone effort but a piece of the larger puzzle, contributing to the strategic vision.

Resource Optimization

Effective planning leads to the efficient allocation of resources.

This means that you don’t waste valuable time, money, and manpower on unnecessary or unproductive activities, thus cutting cost overruns.

Risk Mitigation

Through careful planning, you can identify and address potential risks.

These could be technical challenges, unexpected delays, or other obstacles. Addressing them early helps minimize their impact on the project.

Stakeholder Engagement

Involving stakeholders in the planning process fosters collaboration and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

When stakeholders understand and endorse the plan, it’s more likely to succeed.

Project Control

Planning software project provides a structured framework for monitoring and controlling the project’s progress. It’s like having a map to track your journey.

This control is essential to ensure the project stays on course and any deviations are addressed promptly.

Benefits of Software Development Planning

Effective software development planning offers numerous advantages, including:

5 Benefits of Software Development Planning.

Efficient Resource Utilization

Planning ensures that resources — be it time, money, or manpower — are used optimally.

This means reducing waste and ensuring that each resource is employed to its maximum potential.

Improved Communication

When a plan is in place, communication becomes clearer and more effective.

Team members and stakeholders understand their roles and the project’s progression, reducing misunderstandings and conflicts.

Enhanced Quality

Planning allows for thorough testing and quality assurance. This ensures that the end product meets the expected standards of quality.

Timely Delivery

Setting realistic schedules and milestones is a critical aspect of planning. With a well-structured plan, projects are more likely to be completed on time.

Cost Control

Budget management and cost control are inherently tied to the planning process.

A well-structured plan enables the tracking of expenditures and ensures that costs do not spiral out of control.

6 Steps to Plan a Software Development Project

Below are the steps you can follow to plan your software development project.

6 Steps to Plan a Software Development Project.

We’ll also go through practical examples for each step, so you’ll understand clearly.

#1. Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

The first step in planning a software development project is to set clear and achievable goals and objectives.

You need to answer the fundamental question: What do you aim to achieve?

Whether it’s enhancing user experience, boosting sales, or optimizing a business process, well-defined objectives form the foundation of your project.

Write down your goals and objectives in a clear and concise manner, ensuring they are communicable to your team and stakeholders.

For instance, let’s say you’re building an online store application project.

The goal is to increase the company’s sales by 20%. Key features and functionality may include product search, product reviews, and a secure checkout process.

#2. Understanding Stakeholders and Requirements

Identifying your project’s stakeholders and understanding their requirements is pivotal.

Stakeholders include anyone affected by or involved in your project, both internally, like team members, and externally, like customers or partners.

Understanding their needs and expectations from the outset fosters collaboration and a shared project vision.

Following the example above, stakeholders and requirements for the online store application may include:

  • Customers, who require easy shopping and secure checkout.
  • Merchants, who require product listing and sales tracking.
  • Development team, who require project building and issue management.

#3. Resource Assessment and Capability Check

Early in the planning process, assess your available resources and capabilities.

This involves evaluating your team’s skills, the tools at your disposal, and the necessary infrastructure.

This assessment helps pinpoint potential resource gaps and paves the way for effective planning.

For instance, the online store platform development team has experience in web applications. The team has access to essential tools and infrastructure, such as development servers and databases.

#4. Creating a Realistic Schedule and Budget

Establishing a realistic project schedule and budget is paramount for effective project management.

This involves breaking down the project into smaller, manageable tasks and estimating their duration and costs.

A detailed schedule and budget act as a roadmap for your project, enabling you to monitor progress and stay on course.

In the case of the online store software, the project schedule outlines key milestones, such as the development of product search, product reviews, and the checkout process.

Additionally, the budget should encompass the costs related to development, hosting, and marketing.

To help manage your software development timeline, pick a project management style that fits your team. Below are some popular styles to try:

Kanban: Kanban is a visual task management system designed to help teams visualize their work, identify bottlenecks, and optimize workflow.

Gantt Charts: Gantt charts are bar charts that display task start and end dates along with their dependencies, providing a clear visual representation of the project’s timeline.

#5. Effective Risk Management

The next step involves identifying potential risks and developing strategies to address them.

Risks can be anything that might negatively impact your project, from technical challenges to resource constraints.

Thus, developing a risk management plan is crucial to minimize disruptions.

See the example below for the online store software’s risk management plan.

Risk Management Strategy
Technical Issues
  • Develop a contingency plan.
  • Use a robust development methodology and testing framework.
Development Delays
  • Create a realistic project schedule and budget.
  • Identify and address potential resource constraints early on.
  • Communicate regularly with stakeholders and keep them updated on project progress.
Changing Customer Requirements
  • Engage with stakeholders early and often to gather feedback and ensure that requirements are well-defined.
  • Establish a process for managing requirement changes in the project management tool.
Resource Constraints
  • Assess your resources and capabilities early in the planning process.
  • Identify and address any potential resource gaps.
  • Prioritize tasks and focus on the most important features.
Scope Creep
  • Clearly define the project scope and objectives.
  • Communicate the scope to all stakeholders and get their buy-in.

#6. Establishing a Clear Communication Plan

Effective communication is essential throughout your software development project.

By creating a well-defined communication plan, you outline how you will communicate with stakeholders.

This includes specifying the frequency of communication, the channels of communication, and key stakeholders for updates.

In the online store platform’s case, the communication plan may include:

  • Weekly updates for the project manager through messaging applications.
  • Biweekly meetings with the customer team through video conference calls.
  • Monthly newsletter for merchants through emails.

How to Plan a Software Development Project?

In addition to the guide, we’ll also explore some handy tips to improve your software development project plan’s efficiency.

  • Set Realistic Deadlines — Avoid rushing. Set practical deadlines, including some buffer time for unexpected delays.
  • Divide and Prioritize Tasks — Break down the project into smaller, more manageable tasks.

    It eases tracking progress and prevents feeling overwhelmed. Then, focus on the most critical ones first.
  • Be Transparent — Honesty about the project’s status, even when facing challenges, builds trust and confidence.
  • Celebrate Achievements — Recognize and reward your team’s hard work along the way to keep motivation high.


In this article, we’ve learned that software development planning is a crucial process that lays the foundation for successful software projects.

Effective planning leads to efficient resource utilization, improved communication, enhanced quality, timely delivery, and cost control.

The key steps in planning a software development project include:

  • Setting clear goals and objectives
  • Understanding stakeholders and requirements
  • Assessing resources and capabilities
  • Creating a realistic schedule and budget
  • Developing a risk management plan
  • Establishing a clear communication plan

By following these steps and best practices, you can increase your chances of success and deliver a high-quality product to your users.

For high-quality and well-planned software, consider Intelivita.

Our software development services have more than a decade of experience and over 600 success stories.

Contact us today!


Tuhin Bhatt is a co-founder of Intelivita, a leading Web and Mobile App Development Company. He helps passionate entrepreneurs build amazing tech products. Tuhin being a peoples man who has a passion to share his technical expertise with clients and other enthusiasts.

Related Articles

IT Outsourcing: Statistics, Cost, Types, Models & Locations [2024 Guide]

Explore the world of IT outsourcing in 2024. Our guide offers in-depth insights and strategies for successful collaborations and optimal IT outsourcing outcomes.

Photo of Tuhin Bhatt Tuhin Bhatt

Onshore Vs. Nearshore Vs. Offshore Software Development Outsourcing: Which One to Choose for Your Business?

Explore our blog: Onshore vs nearshore vs offshore software outsourcing. Make informed decisions for effective collaboration & cost savings.

Photo of Tuhin Bhatt Tuhin Bhatt

10 Top Technology Trends to Look Forward to In 2024

Discover the cutting-edge tech trends to watch out for in 2024. Stay ahead with insights on the latest technologies shaping the digital landscape.

Photo of Tuhin Bhatt Tuhin Bhatt

Contact Us for Project Discussion

Ready to take the first step towards turning your software dreams into reality? Contact us today to schedule a project discussion. Our team of experts is eager to hear your ideas and provide tailored solutions to meet your unique needs.

Briefcase icon



Years of Experience

3 stars with thumbs up icon



Client Satisfaction Rate

In-House Talent



In-House Talent

Tick icon



Projects Delivered

    Image of Tuhin Bhatt, Co-founder of Intelivita.
    Request a Call Back

    Enter your contact details and one of our friendly team member will be in touch soon!.