Software Development Project Cheat Sheet

Best practices and tools for software development are always changing. There are several factors that will help keep everything organized during the lifetime of a software development project. This is especially important if new team members will be joining the project during later phases.

When starting a new project, begin by gathering the following details:

  • Who is the client?
  • What do they do?
  • Document all team members on the client side and internally (include Name, Role, Timezone, Phone Number, and Email Address).

During the lifetime of an engagement, the items above may change and will need to be updated accordingly. For me, the creation of a Project Cheat Sheet is essential. Peter Shafer originally introduced me to this concept, and it has proved invaluable. The items listed below will save a huge amount of ramp-up time for both a new developer and the project manager (since you won’t have to dig for details every time a new team member joins the team).

During the engagement, documenting the following will prove extremely useful:

  • What environments are set up? (e.g., Staging, Development, Production)
  • Describe the deployment process
  • Development process and technical leads
  • Technology stack
  • Project structure and use cases
  • Testing guide
  • Other third-party vendors and related services
  • Directory of terms
  • Project setup checklist (for new team members — what tools they need to be added to, permissions, access, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous details (e.g., how to turn on/off maintenance pages)

This is in no way a comprehensive list, but it’s definitely a good place to start. By making sure your project is well-documented, you will save time and avoid confusion when adding new members to the team.