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Software Development Excel Project Plan

Start planning your software development project with our free example, which you can download in Excel right now! It covers the end to end development life cycle including: requirements gathering, design, development, QA, deployment, and project management.
detail snapshot of a Large Conference project plan created in microsoft project and available for download
DO YOU USE MICROSOFT PROJECT? We also have this Software Development plan in Microsoft Project format. It covers 100+ activities across the whole project lifecycle.
There are over 110 tasks grouped into 8 phases:
  1. Software Development Planning
  2. Requirements gathering
  3. Analysis and design
  4. Development
  5. Quality assurance
  6. Deployment
  7. Project management
  8. Project Close
Download our Software Development Project Schedule in Microsoft Project.
An Excel project plan for Software Development

What's in the plan?

The schedule covers over 110 tasks. You can view all of the tasks in this table or jump straight to the download:
ID Tasks Notes
1 Software Development Planning  
1.1 Project Brief completed The Project Brief describes the purpose of the project, the objectives, KPIs, high-level requirements and key milestones.
1.2 Initial budget completed Create a budget estimate for the project. This will be updated as the requirements are finalized. 
1.3 Initial schedule completed Create the initial schedule for the project. This will be amended and added to as the project progresses.
1.4 Identify the project stakeholders This task involves identifying the stakeholders who will be involved in the project, such as clients, users, and subject matter experts.
1.5 Define project scope The project scope defines the boundaries of the software development project, including its objectives, timelines, budget, and constraints.
1.6 Develop project plan The project plan outlines the project's activities, timelines, milestones, resources, and budget, to ensure that it is completed on time, on budget, and with the desired quality.
2 Requirements gathering This task involves identifying and documenting the functional and non-functional requirements of the software product. It includes gathering information about the user needs, business goals, technical constraints, and other relevant factors.
2.1 Define project scope The project scope defines the boundaries of the software development project, including its objectives, timelines, budget, and constraints.
2.2 Analyze existing documentation This task involves reviewing any existing documentation, such as user manuals, business requirements, and technical specifications, to identify any gaps or inconsistencies.
2.3 Conduct stakeholder interviews This task involves conducting interviews with stakeholders to understand their needs, expectations, and preferences.
2.4 Create use cases Use cases are scenarios that describe how the software will be used. This task involves creating use cases to identify the system's functional requirements.
2.5 Define user personas User personas represent archetypes of the different user types who will interact with the software. This task involves defining the user personas to understand the user's goals, motivations, and behaviors.
2.6 Create wire frames Wire frames are visual representations of the software's user interface. This task involves creating wire frames to help stakeholders visualize the software's functionality and provide feedback.
2.7 Prioritize requirements This task involves prioritizing the requirements based on their importance, feasibility, and impact on the software's functionality.
2.8 Document requirements Finally, all the requirements identified during the requirements gathering process must be documented in a clear and concise manner to serve as a reference for the rest of the development process.
3 Analysis and design Based on the requirements, the software architecture, system design, and user interface design are planned and documented. This task also includes defining the software components, data models, and algorithms required to implement the solution.
3.1 Review requirements This task involves reviewing the requirements gathered in the previous phase to ensure that they are complete, accurate, and consistent.
3.2 Define software architecture The software architecture defines the overall structure of the software and its components. This task involves designing the software architecture, including its modules, layers, and interfaces.
3.2.1 Identify software components This task involves identifying the software components that will be required to implement the solution, such as modules, libraries, and frameworks.
3.2.2 Define the architecture style The architecture style defines the general principles and patterns that will be used to organize the software components. This task involves choosing the appropriate architecture style, such as client-server, micro services, or event-driven.
3.2.3 Create the architecture diagram The architecture diagram is a visual representation of the software components and their relationships. This task involves creating the architecture diagram to help stakeholders understand the software's overall structure.
3.2.4 Define the interfaces The interfaces define how the different components will communicate with each other. This task involves defining the interfaces between the software components, including the protocols, data formats, and message exchanges.
3.2.5 Specify the quality attributes The quality attributes define the non-functional requirements of the software, such as performance, scalability, reliability, and security. This task involves specifying the quality attributes and ensuring that the architecture can meet these requirements.
3.2.6 Identify potential risks Potential risks and issues that may arise during the development process need to be identified and addressed in the architecture. This task involves identifying potential risks and creating strategies to mitigate them.
3.2.7 Document the software architecture Finally, the software architecture needs to be documented in a clear and concise manner to serve as a reference for the rest of the development process.
3.3 Define system design The system design defines the detailed design of the software components and their interactions. This task involves designing the system components, data models, and algorithms required to implement the solution.
3.3.1 Define system modules This task involves defining the modules or components that will make up the system and their functionalities.
3.3.2 Identify data models Data models define the structure and organization of the data that will be used by the software. This task involves identifying the data models required for the system.
3.3.3 Define data storage and retrieval mechanisms This task involves defining the mechanisms that will be used to store and retrieve data from the system, such as databases, file systems, and APIs.
3.3.4 Design system interfaces The system interfaces define how the different components of the system will interact with each other. This task involves designing the system interfaces, including the protocols, data formats, and message exchanges.
3.3.5 Define system algorithms System algorithms are the computational procedures or formulas that the system will use to process and analyze data. This task involves defining the system algorithms required to implement the solution.
3.3.6 Create system flow diagrams System flow diagrams provide a visual representation of the system's components and their interactions. This task involves creating system flow diagrams to help stakeholders understand the system's overall design.
3.3.7 Review and validate the system design Once the system design has been defined, it must be reviewed and validated to ensure that it accurately reflects the requirements and is feasible to implement.
3.3.8 Document the system design Finally, the system design needs to be documented in a clear and concise manner to serve as a reference for the rest of the development process.
3.4 Define user interface design The user interface design defines the visual and interactive aspects of the software. This task involves designing the user interface, including the layout, navigation, and interaction design.
3.4.1 Identify user interface requirements This task involves identifying the user interface requirements, such as the design style, branding, layout, and navigation.
3.4.2 Design the UI components The UI components define the visual elements of the software, such as buttons, forms, menus, and icons. This task involves designing the UI components based on the user interface requirements.
3.4.3 Define the UI layout The UI layout defines how the UI components are arranged on the screen. This task involves designing the UI layout, including the placement of the UI components and the use of white space.
3.4.4 Design the UI interactions The UI interactions define how the user will interact with the UI components, such as clicking buttons, entering text, and selecting options. This task involves designing the UI interactions to be intuitive and user-friendly.
3.4.5 Create UI mock-ups UI mock-ups are visual representations of the user interface design. This task involves creating UI mock-ups to help stakeholders visualize the UI design and provide feedback.
3.4.6 Review and refine the UI design Once the UI mock-ups have been created, they must be reviewed and refined to ensure that they accurately reflect the user interface requirements and are feasible to implement.
3.4.7 Create UI style guide A UI style guide provides guidelines and standards for the visual design of the software. This task involves creating a UI style guide to ensure consistency and cohesiveness in the UI design.
3.4.8 Validate the UI design The UI design must be validated to ensure that it meets the user's needs and expectations. This task involves testing the UI design with real users and incorporating their feedback into the design.
3.4.9 Document the UI design Finally, the UI design needs to be documented in a clear and concise manner to serve as a reference for the rest of the development process.
3.5 Review and validate the design Once the design documents have been created, they must be reviewed and validated to ensure that they accurately reflect the requirements and are feasible to implement.
3.5.1 Schedule design review meetings This task involves scheduling meetings with the stakeholders to review the software architecture, system design, and user interface design.
3.5.2 Present the design The design team presents the design to the stakeholders, highlighting its key features and benefits.
3.5.3 Solicit feedback The stakeholders provide feedback on the design, identifying any issues, concerns, or suggestions.
3.5.4 Incorporate feedback The design team incorporates the feedback from the stakeholders into the design, making necessary changes and adjustments.
3.5.5 Conduct design validation The design team conducts validation tests to ensure that the design meets the requirements and is feasible to implement.
3.5.6 Obtain sign-off The stakeholders sign-off on the design, indicating that they approve the design and that it meets their requirements and expectations.
3.5.7 Document the design The design team documents the design, including any changes or adjustments made based on the feedback and validation tests.
4 Development The software development process involves coding, testing, and debugging the software components. This task also includes integrating the components and building the system.
4.1 Set up the development environment This task involves setting up the development environment, including configuring development tools, libraries, and frameworks.
4.1.1 Identify development tools The development team identifies the development tools, including the Integrated Development Environment (IDE), code editors, version control systems, testing tools, and debugging tools, needed for the software development.
4.1.2 Install development tools The development team installs the development tools identified in the previous task, including the latest versions of the tools, add-ons, and extensions, and configure them for optimal performance.
4.1.3 Configure development tools The development team configures the development tools to match the project's requirements, such as code templates, libraries, and project settings, to ensure consistency and efficiency.
4.1.4 Set up the development environment The development team sets up the development environment, including the workspace, project directories, and file structure, to ensure that the development process is organized and efficient.
4.1.5 Set up the development database If a database is needed for the software product, the development team sets up the development database, including the database server, schema, and sample data, to facilitate database-related development tasks.
4.1.6 Install and configure build tools The development team installs and configures build tools, such as Gradle or Maven, to automate the build process, including compiling the code, packaging the software product, and generating documentation.
4.1.7 Test the development environment The development team tests the development environment, including the development tools, database, and build tools, to ensure that they function correctly and meet the requirements.
4.2 Write code The development team writes the code for the software product, following the design documents, coding standards, and best practices.
4.2.1 Identify coding standards The development team identifies the coding standards, including naming conventions, formatting, commenting, and documentation, to ensure consistency and maintainability of the code.
4.2.2 Review the design documents The development team reviews the design documents, including the software architecture, system design, and user interface design, to ensure that they understand the requirements and are clear on the software's design.
4.2.3 Write code modules The development team writes code modules, including functions, classes, and libraries, based on the design documents and coding standards.
4.2.4 Conduct unit testing Unit testing involves testing individual software components, such as modules, functions, or classes, to ensure that they meet the requirements and function correctly.
4.2.5 Refactor the code Refactoring involves improving the code's quality, readability, and maintainability, by restructuring, simplifying, and optimizing the code, without changing its functionality.
4.2.6 Integrate components The different software components are integrated into a single software product, following the integration plan and testing for compatibility and functionality.
4.2.7 Conduct integration testing Integration testing involves testing the interactions between different software components to ensure that they work together correctly and meet the requirements.
4.2.8 Review the code Code reviews involve reviewing the code by other team members, to identify any errors, bugs, or code quality issues, and provide feedback for improvement.
4.2.9 Optimize the code Code optimization involves improving the code's performance, by reducing its complexity, improving algorithms, and minimizing code redundancy and inefficiency.
4.2.10 Document the code The development team documents the code, including the source code, comments, and documentation, to ensure that it is well-documented and easy to maintain.
5 Quality assurance The quality of the software product is ensured through testing and validation. This task involves designing and executing test cases, analyzing test results, and reporting defects.
5.1 Develop the QA plan The QA team develops a plan that outlines the scope, objectives, and methods of the QA testing, including the tools and resources required.
5.2 Create test cases Test cases define the scenarios, inputs, and expected results for testing the software product. This task involves creating test cases based on the requirements and design documents.
5.3 Develop automated tests The QA team develops automated tests, such as regression tests and functional tests, to ensure that the software product functions correctly and meets the requirements.
5.4 Deploy to staging environment The software product is deployed to the staging environment, where it is tested and validated for compatibility, security, and scalability.
5.5 Conduct functional testing Functional testing involves testing the software product's functionality, such as user interfaces, inputs, outputs, and interactions, to ensure that it meets the requirements.
5.6 Conduct performance testing Performance testing involves testing the software product's performance, such as response times, load handling, and scalability, to ensure that it meets the performance requirements.
5.7 Conduct security testing Security testing involves testing the software product's security, such as data encryption, access control, and authentication, to ensure that it meets the security requirements.
5.8 Conduct usability testing Usability testing involves testing the software product's usability, such as user interfaces, user experience, and user satisfaction, to ensure that it meets the usability requirements.
5.9 Conduct compliance testing Compliance testing involves testing the software product's compliance with regulations, standards, and industry best practices, such as accessibility, data privacy, and software quality.
5.10 Review and refine the software product Based on the feedback and results from the QA testing, the development team reviews and refines the software product, ensuring that it meets the requirements and is of high quality.
6 Deployment The software product is deployed to the target environment, which may involve installation, configuration, and migration of data. This task also includes verifying the installation and ensuring that the software is functioning as expected.
6.1 Prepare for deployment This task involves preparing for the deployment, including selecting the deployment strategy, creating deployment packages, and testing the deployment process.
6.1.1 Identify deployment strategy The development team identifies the deployment strategy, including the deployment environment, deployment method, and deployment timeline, based on the project's requirements and stakeholder expectations.
6.1.2 Create deployment packages The development team creates deployment packages, including the software product, configuration files, and documentation, for release and deployment.
6.1.3 Validate deployment packages The development team validates the deployment packages, by testing them in a staging or test environment, to ensure that they are complete and functional.
6.1.4 Develop deployment scripts The development team develops deployment scripts, including automation scripts, batch scripts, and installation scripts, to automate the deployment process and minimize errors and risks.
6.1.6 Test deployment process The development team tests the deployment process, including the deployment scripts, packages, and post-deployment support, to ensure that it functions correctly and meets the requirements.
6.2 Obtain sign-off The stakeholders sign-off on the software product, indicating that they approve the deployment and that it meets their requirements and expectations.
6.3 Create deployment / go-live plan  The project team creates a step by step/ hour by hour plan for deployment. 
6.4 Develop post-deployment support plan The project & development team plans for post-deployment support, including user training, technical support, and maintenance, to ensure that the software product is supported after release and deployment.
6.5 Obtain sign-off The stakeholders sign-off on the software product, indicating that they approve the deployment and that it meets their requirements and expectations.
6.6 Deploy to production environment The software product is deployed to the production environment, where it is made available to end-users.
6.7 Conduct post-deployment validation The development team conducts post-deployment validation, including testing, monitoring, and performance analysis, to ensure that the software product is functional, secure, and stable in the production environment.
6.8 Monitor and maintain the software product The software product is monitored and maintained, including monitoring its performance, resolving issues, and updating its features and functionalities.
7 Project management Throughout the software development process, project management tasks such as scheduling, resource allocation, risk management, and communication are essential to ensure the project is delivered on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.
7.1 Identify and manage risks Risk management involves identifying potential risks, assessing their likelihood and impact, and developing mitigation strategies to minimize their impact on the project's success.
7.2 Manage project resources Resource management involves managing the project's resources, including personnel, equipment, materials, and budget, to ensure that they are available, allocated, and used effectively and efficiently.
7.3 Monitor project progress Project monitoring involves tracking the project's progress, including its activities, timelines, milestones, and deliverables, to ensure that it is on track and that any issues or delays are identified and addressed.
7.4 Control project changes Change control involves managing project changes, including scope changes, schedule changes, and budget changes, to ensure that they are documented, approved, and communicated effectively to all stakeholders.
7.5 Manage project stakeholders Stakeholder management involves identifying and engaging project stakeholders, including sponsors, customers, users, and team members, to ensure that their needs, expectations, and requirements are met.
7.6 Communicate project status Project communication involves communicating project status, progress, and issues to all stakeholders, including project reports, status meetings, and progress updates.
7.7 Close project Project closure involves completing the project activities, delivering the project's outputs, and obtaining stakeholder acceptance and sign-off, to ensure that the project is completed successfully.
8 Project Close  
8.1 Conduct post-project review meeting Hold a meeting with the client, key stakeholders and the project team to review what went well and what didn't go so well.
8.2 Write up lessons learned Write up the positive and negative lessons learned for future projects. 
8.3 Close down project files Close down the project files and documentation. Follow internal procedures to archive the project. 
8.4 Close project in management systems Close the project records in your project management software. 
8.5 Wrap up finances Pay final invoices, finalize accounts and close down project records in finance system. 

How to use this schedule

We have deliberately designed this schedule so that it can be easily transferred from Excel to any project planning tool of your choice. For example, Microsoft Project, Wrike, Monday.com etc. You can either import the tasks or copy and paste depending on the tool you use. See 10 Awesome Project Management Apps

For a free Gantt Chart template you can use our Excel Project Plan template.

General notes

This is an example schedule for s software development plan. It is contains generic tasks and you will need to add, edit and remove tasks to suit your project.

Check our collection of Project Management Templates to find more example project plans.

Task dependencies

The schedule is organized so that tasks are shown in the basic order they will need to be completed, but we have not attempted to add any task dependencies e.g. finish-to-start, start-to-start etc.

Resources

We have not attempted to add resources as these will be different for each project.

Task durations

We have not attempted to add durations or effort as this will be totally dependent on your project's resources, requirements, timeline, etc.

Download the Software Development Excel Project Plan

Excel download - Software Development Project Plan (xls)

Excel download - Software Development Project Plan (xlsx)

Excel download - Software Development Project Plan (ods)

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