Engaging Stakeholders for a Successful Project Kickoff

Our previous article explored the importance of effectively managing stakeholder engagement throughout various phases of custom software development. In this new article, we focus on the crucial aspect of initiating a project with the right level of interaction between the contractor and the client. We will delve into the essential steps to establish a shared understanding of the software product’s requirements, selecting an appropriate development model, and the financial interaction model. Additionally, we will outline the typical approaches Auriga employs when dealing with situations where project requirements are poorly defined, overly broad, or lack formal documentation.

Before the Project Launch

Before embarking on a custom software development project, navigating through several critical stages instrumental in securing its success and aligning it with user requirements is essential. You might currently be in the phase of fine-tuning technical requirements or assessing the project. Our suggestions will aid you in evaluating the expertise of your contractor. These guidelines are rooted in Auriga’s standardized process:

Needs Assessment: Ensure the contractor engages in comprehensive discussions with you to understand your needs, objectives, and product expectations fully.

Stakeholder and User Identification: Validate that crucial stakeholders and end-users have been identified and that their requirements and expectations have been integrated into the project.

Requirement Alignment: Confirm that the contractor has meticulously collected and documented all software requirements, encompassing functional and non-functional aspects, and has aligned them with your specific needs.

Evaluation and Planning: Collaborate closely with the contractor to assess upcoming tasks, craft an action plan, select suitable technologies, identify potential risks, plan project phases, allocate a budget, and outline the communication strategy with key stakeholders.

Contract Development: Ensure that all organizational details have been mutually agreed upon and that the contract clearly defines the responsibilities of both parties, the development model, timelines, project milestones, reporting procedures, acceptance criteria, and payment terms.

Project Initiation: Before commencing development, verify the completion of all preceding stages.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth project kickoff and its successful execution.

When Projects Go Awry: Common Problems and Challenges

Let’s explore the unexpected challenges that can emerge at various project stages when crucial elements, as mentioned earlier, are not given due attention. We believe these are the most noteworthy challenges you could face.

When the Developed Software Falls Short of End-User Expectations:

In the initial stages of shaping business requirements, it’s common to encounter a scenario where the client hasn’t yet fully comprehended their vision, objectives, and goals for the future software product, and essential elements may be overlooked when documenting these requisites. Consequently, the initial documents provided by the client can contain errors or remain incomplete. Without a thorough exploration and alignment of technical specifications before project commencement, there’s a risk of encountering situations during development where the project’s outcomes fail to meet the client’s expectations, potentially resulting in refusal of acceptance and payment for completed work.

We frequently encounter situations where, for various reasons, it’s not feasible to comprehensively outline all requirements at the project’s outset. In such instances, the solution often lies in adopting an iterative development approach grounded in Agile methodology principles. This approach facilitates flexible adaptation to evolving requirements and a gradual enhancement of the product, considering client feedback.

Ineffective Project Planning and Management:

These scenarios frequently occur when crucial aspects of collaboration aren’t adequately addressed before project launch when an inefficient engagement model is selected when the project plan overlooks the intricacies of project management and associated risks, or when not all key stakeholders participate in the planning process. Consequently, this results in ineffective project management and a lack of control over project timelines and finances.

For instance, consider a situation where a project follows an iterative approach utilizing the Scrum methodology. However, end-user representatives were not included during the sprint planning phase, leading to the neglect of their interests and requirements. This oversight can give rise to issues and discontent during the sprint results presentation stage, potentially culminating in the client’s rejection of the project’s deliverables.

Insufficient Transparency and Lack of Feedback:

Certain development methodologies, like Agile, emphasize close collaboration with customers and ongoing feedback, whereas others, such as Waterfall, involve less frequent interaction. The incorrect selection of a development model can lead to inadequate project transparency and limited communication between the development team and the client.

Auriga has faced situations where our immediate client contacts, such as product owners or project managers, didn’t always relay information accurately and promptly to higher-level executives and budget holders, occasionally distorting it intentionally or due to misunderstandings. Therefore, to ensure the project’s smooth progression and account for all stakeholders’ interests, it’s crucial to establish consistent communication with top-level management, including the CEO and budget owners, right from the project’s inception.

Here’s another example: when the client has not approved the acceptance criteria at the project’s start, and all key stakeholders have not agreed upon the process, it often results in protracted and uncertain phases of project result acceptance. This ultimately has repercussions on the project’s timelines and budget.

Challenges in Adapting to Change:

Practical experience demonstrates that as a project unfolds, customers can develop new needs and requirements that were initially difficult to foresee. At the project’s inception, it is not always possible to definitively predict which additional features will become necessary. Agile-based development methodologies, like Scrum and Kanban, have shown greater flexibility and effectiveness in adapting to evolving customer demands. Conversely, opting for a waterfall or iterative development model at the project’s outset can make accommodating changes into requirements less adaptable, potentially necessitating additional time and financial resources.

Auriga: Our Strategy

Let’s explore several common strategies that Auriga provides to its clients for efficient project management and risk mitigation.

Requirements Analysis and Refining:

One of our primary strategies involves conducting further analysis and enhancing requirements during the initial phase, particularly when the initial business requirements lack sufficient detail. At this point, Auriga’s systems analyst works closely with key stakeholders to create a comprehensive technical specification (CTS). This guarantees a thorough comprehension of the requirements and their alignment with the client’s needs. Following this, we reevaluate the labour and project budget, culminating in developing an enhanced technical and commercial proposal (TCP).

Iterative Agile Approach:

The second approach involves creating a TCP based on the client’s high-level business requirements (CRS) description. In this scenario, the project is carried out iteratively, utilizing Agile methodologies like Scrum or Kanban, and follows a T&M financial model. This approach offers the flexibility to accommodate evolving customer requirements, and the client receives regular interim project results to ensure they align with their expectations.

Developing Business Requirements from Scratch:

Auriga offers a specific approach to clients who might not have formal software requirements but have specific needs and challenges. In this approach, a company representative, such as a product manager or business analyst, collaborates with key stakeholders to identify their pain points, issues, and challenges, ultimately developing an initial CRS (customer requirement specification) version. This document undergoes multiple review iterations involving all relevant parties and, upon approval, serves as the basis for creating the proposal. The process entails active client interaction and encompasses all their desires and requirements.

These methodologies empower Auriga to adeptly manage projects, accommodate evolving requirements, and fulfill client needs at various project stages.


This article thoroughly examined the essential aspects of establishing collaboration between the contractor and the client before commencing a custom software development project. We’ve outlined several fundamental steps that serve as the cornerstone for the successful execution of a project. Furthermore, we’ve delved into examples of typical project management approaches, including in-depth requirement analysis, the utilization of Agile methodologies, and flexible financial models. These approaches empower us to adapt to evolving customer requirements and uphold project transparency.

To conclude, it’s crucial to highlight that Auriga consistently pursues a personalized approach with each client, providing tailored solutions to implement projects effectively. Our ultimate objective is to develop software products that fully meet user demands and accomplish the specified purposes.