How to Develop Large-Scale Projects
Developing big IT projects isn’t an easy task! It’s a lot of time, effort, persistence, and patience. However, what are its major components? How to manage large-scale projects effectively and what goes into making it a success? let's find out!
What is a large-scale project?
No two large-scale projects are the same as it all depends on the organization. It’s based on factors including application size, team size, data load, traffic, budget, and length. One project may appear to be larger than another. Any organization that works on tiny projects and then wants to construct something larger may classify that project as a large-scale project.
A large-scale project does, however, share some basic traits.
- Performance: Large-scale projects have the capacity to process a high volume of user requests and transactions per second.
- Scalability: The ability to scale is another key feature of a large-scale undertaking. Whatever kind of project you intend to develop, it must be able to support a big number of users. Depending on what you're doing, not just at the server level but also at the database level. You may need to adopt NoSQL because MySQL may no longer be compatible with all use cases.
- Accessibility: It is available 24/7
- Larger teams and longer timelines: Usually lasting at least six months, but most likely a year or longer, having multiple team members for different work criteria.
Instead of immediately starting the work, it's crucial to concentrate on a few things when managing mega projects. Here, we've included a summary of that procedure.
Create and adhere to a process
When it comes to creating large-scale projects, creating a process and maintaining it are crucial. Every consideration must be examined when developing a strategy.
- How will the requirements be gathered by the developers?
- Which channel will be used to communicate with the project owners?
- How will priorities be determined?
- What if a problem at the manufacturing level occurs?
- How should a job estimate be made?
- Who will be the first to contact you if there are any problems?
- What is the procedure for code review?
- What is the procedure for deployment?
These are the areas that must be addressed when developing a process. Every developer on the team, however, must adhere to the same deployment method to guarantee the quality and stability of the final product. Every stage of a task, from beginning to end, must be documented and followed by every team member. The procedure for integrating additional resources must be well-structured.
Make sure everyone is adhering to the method once you've settled into it. If you’re wondering how can project management lead to the success of large projects, the project lead or manager should make everyone accountable and monitor whether the process is being followed or not.
Following a method will undoubtedly require more time than usual and this needs to be taken into account.
Divide the list of urgent problems into project levels
Create appropriate documentation
There are various sorts of documentation that must be produced during the entire software development process. The specific elements of a project and the operation of the software will be described in detail by properly prepared and maintained documentation. It is beneficial to keep track of a software's creation and usage from beginning to end.
- Functional documentation
- Dependency documentation
- API Documentation
- Disaster recovery documentation
- Third-party services documentation
- Standards documentation
- Metrics documentation
- Scheduling documentation
- Architecture and design documentation
- End-user documentation
- System administrator documentation
These agreements give you a place to specify functionality expectations, tech stacks, template counts, and who is responsible for what in addition to helping to align client and agency expectations upfront. If at all feasible, try to include the timeframe as well as what will happen if the client delivers their fully tested project late. If something doesn't go exactly as planned, these minor changes could have a significant effect later on.
Break large projects into smaller chunks
Understanding your project scope and scale is very important when dealing with how to manage large-scale projects. Based on the project requirement we can break the project into a few phases and set deadlines and achievable goals for each phase. We can think of the phases as versions. Each phase/version will have some new features and updates.
Based on each phase requirement, we can then divide the requirements into 3 categories:
- Needed and very important.
- Needed but less important.
- Needed but not important.
How to specify which requirement will go under which category?
When looking at how to manage large software projects, you need to think from a user perspective and find the dependency for the feature, only by this one can prioritize the work and categorize the requirements.
- Needed and important: There are many modules that are needed to build the foundation of the project. These modules will have dependency over one or multiple modules so first, we need to build them and make them functional. For example, if you want to build a login functionality then, you need to make a registration. This kind of feature will take place under this category.
- Needed but less important: This category will contain the independent modules which have no effect on other modules. The terms and conditions, about us & policy, etc come under this category.
- Needed but not important: There are a few features that are needed to improve the user experience. They don’t have a dependency on any module. Adding the feature or not adding them will not have a great impact on the project. Like the navigation bar at the top. It is simple to show the user what was on the previous page and sometimes to redirect.
Once all the 3 category requirements are built we can release one phase and work on the user experience improvement.
Create relational/dependency diagram before starting the project
Dependencies are tasks that need to be successfully completed as they depend on other tasks. When managing large infrastructure projects, you must have a relational/dependency diagram. After getting the requirements, design the dependency diagram for the full project. It helps to prioritize the features that need to be built first. Also, we need to update this diagram based on the new requirements, and also need to track it to know where we stand. In reality, tasks can be reliant on one another in 4 distinct ways:
- Finish to start (FS): These connections are the most simple to comprehend. The predecessor (first) work must be completed before the successor (second) task may begin.
- Finish to finish (FF): In this instance, the predecessor task must first be completed before the successor task may be completed.
- Start to start (SS): In this connection, the predecessor task must first begin in order for the successor task to begin.
- Start to finish (SF): Understanding these connections might be difficult since they appear to be rather asymmetrical. In this situation, the predecessor task must start before the successor task can be completed.
Dependencies might be internal or external, as well.
- One that is dependent on another project work is said to have an internal dependence. The project manager has control over the handling of internal dependencies.
- External dependencies depend on a job that is not related to the project, such as an external supply chain. Because the project manager has no influence over whether an external dependence is completed, they provide a greater risk to the project and need to be closely watched.
Why is keeping track of dependencies crucial?
For the following four major reasons, dependency tracking is crucial when looking at how to handle complex projects:
- Schedule management: By estimating all the tasks we can estimate the dateline of the project and having the dependencies diagram in hand will help to estimate the time frame of the project as many tasks can not be completed parallelly.
- Risk management: Identifying external dependencies shows where the greatest amount of project risk lies. This enables project managers to prioritize the activities they carefully monitor and ensure they have a Plan B in case something goes wrong.
- Resource management: Based on the dependency diagram we can plan how many resources are actually needed to complete the project.
- Scenario planning: Dependency diagram helps to visualize the features. As we work on a smaller portion of the project at a time we can think of the overall use of that feature and if we see the dependency diagram then things get clear without having all the features developed.
Design a Database
It takes excellent database design to create scalable, high-performance applications. A database is nothing more than a collection of data organized into a structure that facilitates searching. The rest is merely informational stuff. If a database is effective, linked data fragments are automatically filed and specifics may be extracted as needed. Data should be easy to interpret in new ways by being organized into reports and visualizations and then saved for future use. This is also works when you are dealing with what is the best way to manage multiple projects. There are countless variations within that straightforward description. Small choices made early on have a significant cumulative effect.
Look over these 10 database design best practices, which may significantly streamline the development process, before defining even a single field on a project.
- Consider every viewpoint during planning: Don’t start building a database without clarifying the requirements first. Based on the requirements, separate the data into different tables and think of the relation among the tables.
- Select a database type: Choosing between SQL and NoSQL is typically as simple as this (though there are more specific types that may be appropriate for some projects). When data integrity is crucial, SQL databases are the norm for structured data. Newer technologies like machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) find that NoSQL databases' requirements for speed, scalability, and flexibility meet their needs better. Social networks, web analytics, and several other kinds of databases all function considerably more effectively inside the NoSQL framework. Make your choice as soon as you can.
- Normalize your data: In actuality, the majority of businesses today operate in a hybrid environment of SQL and NoSQL databases that collaborate in intricate configurations. It's essential to normalize data with such a complex structure to get the least amount of duplication. Start with the subkeys after removing duplicated and multivalued characteristics.
- Make structures transparent: When designing a database, keep in mind that the users, not the creator will be using it. Avoid using acronyms, abbreviations, or plurals. Follow naming standards consistently. Don't recreate the wheel or make things challenging for individuals who may need to edit the database at some time in the future, which will undoubtedly happen.
- Define constraints to maintain data integrity: Consider all your alternatives for enforcing business rules, including foreign key, check, not null, and similar ones. Some bad data will be stopped from entering by the program, but not all of it.
- Document everything: Documentation is just as important as primary keys, no matter how tedious it may appear. For the benefit of future users, be sure to properly describe the architecture, entity-relationship schemas, and triggers.
- Plan for increasing backup time in the build: Think about what occurs during a natural or man-made disaster before getting too deep into the design. Create a plan for replication, failover clustering, automatic backups, and any other operations required to maintain the database's structural integrity. "Prepare and prevent, don't fix and repent," the phrase says.
- Keep privacy primary: Passwords should be encrypted, and administrators should have privacy training and credentials that can be verified. Due to office politics, it might be difficult to adhere to this guideline, but it is a good security practice to keep the database as close as possible. Data integrity is impacted by vulnerabilities, which affect everything else in the company.
- Optimize for speed: For queries that will be executed frequently, create indexes. To ascertain if an index or a clustered index is required, use a database analyzer. To expedite searches, think about integrating technologies like Elastisearch.
- Keep the database on its own server: To reduce CPU utilization, move the database to a separate server from the web. It aids in keeping the database out of the hands of unauthorized people in addition to freeing up computational resources.
Plan Project Architecture and its Security
A system's architecture outlines its main parts, their connections (structures), and how they work together. There are several contributing variables to software architecture and design, including business strategy, quality attributes, human dynamics, design, and IT environment.
Non-functional decisions are made in architecture. A system's architecture acts as a blueprint. It establishes a communication and coordination mechanism among components and offers an abstraction to control the complexity of the system.
It outlines an organized approach to address all technical and practical needs while maximizing standard quality characteristics like performance and security — an important element in how to manage big projects.
Additionally, it entails a number of important organizational decisions connected to software development, and each of these choices can have a substantial influence on the end product's quality, maintainability, performance, and overall success. These selections include −
- Choice of the structural components and their connections, which make up the system.
- As stated in the interactions between those elements.
- various structural and behavioural components are combined to form a sizable subsystem.
- Architectural choices support corporate goals.
- The arrangement is guided by architectural trends.
While doing the project architecture, one of the five rules for managing large complex projects we need to think of is the security part of it. Large projects have large security threads because of a lot of dependencies. We need to consider all the possible security issues that can come and also we need to implement the solution from the very beginning. Injection Attacks, Broken Authentication, Cross Site Scripting (XSS), Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR), and Security Misconfigurations are some common security threads. There are a few common steps that we can plan before we start the project.
- Conduct Regular Security Audits
- Adopt Real-Time Security Monitoring
- Encrypt Your Data
- Uphold Standard Login Practices
- Cultivate Strong Password Culture
Code Review and Peer Review Process
While working on large-scale, big IT projects, the resources/developers are not fixed all the time and there can be a lot of contributors from time to time. So to keep the code clean and structured, we need to follow a few steps so that while developing the project it doesn't clash or crash. We can distribute the rules among different roles. Otherwise, the codes will be messy and very hard for anyone to understand.
The developers will create a new branch for each new feature or modification or bug fixing. The developers will get approval from the project lead before merging any code on the main/production branch. The project lead will check any replicated code and suggest optimization if needed. The lead will also check if all the standards have been followed. (The optimization will reduce the code and make the project work faster. And the standards will help the contributor prevent any kind of confusion/overwriting).
Once the codes have been approved and merged with staging, anyone from the team of project leads who has knowledge of those changes as per user perspective will have to do a peer review. The peer will go through the sections and do some random testing just to check whether the changes are working fine or not. Once the changes are approved by the peer then can be merged with the main/production branch.
Following these few steps will keep the code clean regardless of how many resources got changed.
Plan for Scalability and Storage
All facets of the process are covered by a data storage plan. Data storage plan standards guarantee the safety and accessibility of data and other information resources.
You must consider and prepare the data you need to save, as well as how you will store it, before putting anything into a database. Many other types of data, including files, images, music, video, and text, can be utilized in your application; however, storing all of this data in a database is neither essential nor secure. The database will remain safe if only the pertinent and essential data is stored. Store the references to files, images, audio files, and videos in several central locations. Depending on the necessity and scope of the project, preserve a reference to any data that is being deleted from the database.
Scalability is crucial when looking at how to manage large-scale projects effectively especially if you want to create a complicated program, such as a personalized loyalty app, that can handle several users concurrently. This is because:
- It helps meet market demands – An app that is scalable will be better equipped to satisfy users' requirements and wishes as market expectations are always changing. As a consequence, when your effective marketing initiatives increase user traffic and the volume of transactions, you'll be able to retain a great user experience.
- The system can handle a higher load – Scalability enables your firm to adapt to any changes, such as a sharp increase in the number of consumers or in the amount of data. Strategic scalability testing helps to increase growth potential, user input, and issue or glitch prevention.
- It’s more financially beneficial – When the user count jumps from 10,000 to 100,000 and up to 900,000, you won't need to redo your software if you build it from the ground up to support a million people.
- A scalable app provides a stable workflow 24/7 – During seasonal occasions like Cyber Monday, which are anticipated to boost data usage, app traffic, and, ideally, transaction volume, it's less probable to have crushes.
- It allows for adjustment to local laws of different countries – Some nations forbid the storage of personal information outside of their borders. In this instance, server dispersal aids in abiding by such laws.
- It maintains connection speed in different parts of the world – Apps that are scalable may be recognized by the deployment of servers throughout the world. Peak response speeds may be handled with adequate ease by servers situated in several nations.
When managing mega projects, any procedure that wants to produce high-quality products must first undergo quality assurance. Even after development is finished, routine quality assurance testing should be carried out. By doing this, you can constantly find and address any problems that can arise with your website or online application. Routine QA testing has numerous advantages, some of which are as follows:
QA Guarantees that Application Functions Perfectly
It goes without saying that before making something live online, it must first be verified that it is functioning properly. A QA tester simulates numerous online interactions with your app or website using various testing tools, such as Virtual Machines (VMs). By doing this, the QA tester verifies that the product is providing all of the anticipated functionalities.
QA Testing Supports Enhancing UX
The usability of a website or app is measured through quality assurance. User Experience is intimately related to the usability (UX). You can uncover ways to give the best user experience by using QA, particularly when supported by data from user testing.
QA Builds Your Brand
When you provide customers with a product that is defective or unusable, five things take place:
- Customers will lose patience with your product.
- You'll come across as being incompetent or leading an incompetent team.
- It will appear as though you don't genuinely appreciate or care about your job.
- Leading people to believe that your product is of low quality and isn't worth purchasing or dealing with.
- Your credibility and customer trust will eventually be lost.
Thus, it is crucial to carry out thorough quality assurance in order to reduce all of the aforementioned results.
QA testing helps to avert disasters
Since they are people, programmers and web developers are prone to making mistakes which one cannot afford when managing large infrastructure projects. They frequently make mistakes while they code. Additionally, they could produce code that doesn't perform as planned or perhaps is incompatible with some of the technologies that your app or website uses. Some of these errors might go unreported until they one day result in a disastrous crash or a security and privacy breach. Therefore, thorough testing is advised to assist uncover some of the crucial mistakes that could possibly result in issues with your website or web application.
Utilize project management tools
There will be a team with many members working on a big project. Based on their skill set, each person needs to be given tasks, and those tasks need to be tracked. Project management software makes it easier for teams to collaborate so that everyone is on the same page.
When a team member has questions or concerns, he or she can promptly get the appropriate solution by speaking with the appropriate team members about the project without turning to any other sources. As a result, getting the answers takes less time. Sharing timelines, images, documents, and status updates also help to communicate crucial information, such as how far along a project is and how much work still has to be done.
Without a suitable framework, it might be challenging for the team to stay on schedule because there is no dynamic roadmap for who is responsible for what and when. If the team started working without knowing the precise tasks they should be performing, time will be wasted on how to manage large-scale projects. This frequently has an impact on productivity. The tasks on the list are highlighted and made visible using project management software. In addition to effective scheduling, setting up deadlines, priorities, and resource estimates helps avoid confusion and task and schedule overlap.
Costs, budgets, and profits vary depending on the project. To maximize the overall profit the company makes from the project, the development team aims to maintain the project's cost as low as feasible, or at least at the expected cost. A simple Excel spreadsheet or Word document won't suffice to manage all of these items effectively; instead, the team will need project management software to guarantee the correctness of data based on documentation.
Several well-liked project management tools are:
- Zoho Projects
- Microsoft Project Management Software
The software in question will assist in the creation of the project, tasks, subtasks, and subtasks of tasks, graphs, resource projection, task completion, sprint success, individual productivity, and team success. Daily and weekly updates are available from the team. The process can be maintained by using an agile methodology.
Why does the team need to adhere to the aforementioned guidelines?
The aforementioned guidelines are crucial on how to manage large-scale projects effectively if you want to create a complicated application that can support numerous users at once.
By adhering to our rules, a company can expand and make money without being constrained by its setup or a lack of resources. A corporation can maintain or improve its efficiency as its sales volume rises.
An improved user experience
- A good user experience cannot be delivered by underperforming apps. Users won't likely use your app again if they have a bad experience with it. Instead, they will stop using it and may even completely delete it from their devices.
- They then go to another application that offers comparable capabilities and works as intended. Even worse, those customers will have a negative impression of your brand, making it less likely that they would use your goods once more after you've resolved your problems.
- Both the frontend and the backend development choices you make can have an impact on our aforementioned principles. It's crucial to avoid making your app overly reliant on front-end logic, which can lag behind depending on the user's device, but also...
- Your company's long-term prosperity depends on its ability to compete and how managing large infrastructure projects are performed. As a result, guaranteeing app scalability gives a better user experience and increases the likelihood that your business will succeed over the long term.
- You will ultimately save a ton of money if you make sure your software is scalable up front.
- Starting with an MVP, or minimal viable product is typical for entrepreneurs. That example, a product that has only the features that are absolutely necessary, which you introduce to a small group of users, get their input and then improve. By gathering insightful consumer feedback prior to increasing your product, you can reduce development time and costs.
- But once you've obtained that priceless information, it's time to consider scaling. Following the validation of your idea at that point, your product's growth
- One of the most significant advantages is application robustness. Additionally, it has a very significant connection to big IT projects and improved user experience. You can be certain that any performance difficulties brought on by a spike in users are taken into account when you develop a scalable app. This suggests that the app's performance will be faultless while there is a lot of user activity (during seasonal events, marketing campaigns, special discounts offer, etc.).
Long-Term Success and Growth
- Your company's long-term success and growth are a result of high revenue, favourable reviews, recommendations, and excellent user experiences. In order to succeed, be sure you are playing the long game.
- Make early investments in high-quality app development and scalability to create a product that people will want to download and use.
Here, we've discussed the key elements that will help your app grow. Any program that wants to handle a sizable user base or operate with massive data must be scalable. Backendless warns users against assuming app scalability at their own expense.
However, early planning and execution of scaling plans throughout the project development process can completely alter the outcome of your project's success.
Take scalability seriously if you want to stand out in a crowded market and attract users. Consider it an essential step in the creation of your application.
Greater security, dependability, flexibility, and the capacity to include new functionality and features are all benefits of scalable apps. Before beginning your software project, make sure you take care of the points to build a large-scale solid application. You can always get in touch with our experts at SJ Innovation to know more!