Have you ever imagined what it takes to build a successful engineering team?
Alongside various contributing factors, including a well-defined vision, establishment of a robust team culture, alignment with other departments, promotion of asynchronous work, and provision of continuous learning opportunities. A pivotal determinant for the success of your engineering team lies in the meticulous definition of a comprehensive workflow process.
An engineering workflow stages and its workflow process for a team involves defining a structured set of activities and tasks that guide the team through the entire project lifecycle. This process can be further divided into distinct stages, each constituting a crucial phase in project completion.
These stages, in turn, are subdivided into manageable tasks assigned to team members. Upon the successful completion of each stage, the workflow seamlessly progresses to the subsequent phase. Now, the question is, what are the different engineering workflow stages?
Typically, the workflow process can vary based on specific projects, industries, and methodologies employed.
These days, a majority of engineering teams use different workflow methodologies like Agile, Waterfall, Kanban, Xtreme programming, Feature-driven development, etc. However, the holistic workflow process for any engineering team is composed of seven essential stages.
Let’s refer to the accompanying diagram below for a comprehensive overview of the engineering workflow process.
Now, let’s dig deep into each of the stages below.
7 Engineering Workflow Stages
Stage 1: The planning phase
The project planning phase is the first stage, which involves major tasks for a project manager. A project manager will be tasked to clearly outline the project’s scope, goals, and objectives. He/she will also have to do a feasibility study to assess its technical and economic potential as well as identify any major risks beforehand. Within this phase, the project manager can also do a requirement analysis and allocate resources and tools needed for the project.
Simultaneously, they will need to estimate budgets and come up with an approximate timeline for the completion. The planning phase is most crucial as it involves all the necessary information needed to initiate a project, and there are a number of tools used to keep up with the planning. For example, Excel/Google Sheets, Teamhood, Confluence, Click Up, etc., to help project managers with end-to-end project planning.
Learn more about the best project management software for engineering teams.
Here is an interactive example to help you get a feel of Teamhood!
Stage 2: The art of designing
The next stage involves designing the concept or idea behind the project. The requirements gathered are then put into a design diagram to come up with a detailed specification of each component. In this stage, designers also prefer to create prototypes of mockups of the proposed concept to get an idea of how the end product or a feature will be delivered towards the end of the project.
These days, designers use tools like Figma, FigJam, etc., to design mockup wireframes so the development team can use the design mock-ups as a reference and get started with the development.
Stage 3: Coding and development
As Patrick McKenzie says, “Every great developer you know got there by solving problems they were unqualified to solve until they actually did it.”
Now is the time to actually do what was designed and conceptualized. Hence, this stage involves a number of coding hours for software engineers and developers. Developers implement the components using any programming languages like Java, Python, C#, etc, according to the design document. They conduct regular code reviews to maintain the desired code quality. During this stage, developers often perform unit tests for individual components.
Conduct integration testing to ensure seamless interaction between various components.
Additionally, they also utilize version control systems to manage and track code changes at regular intervals. Once all the components are successfully developed, it moves on to the next stage of quality assurance and rigorous testing.
Stage 4: Quality assurance is the key
The quality assurance (QA) stage or majorly known as the testing phase, is extremely important for the success of any project. It can make or break a deal for a project because the unknowns will be known during this phase. The quality assurance team will be tasked to execute comprehensive testing, including functional, performance, and security testing. This stage typically takes longer because the QA teams identify defects or issues during the testing, and the developers will need to resolve them simultaneously.
The QA team is also responsible for conducting the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) involving different stakeholders within a project. Once the product has been passed by them, the team prepares for the next stage of the workflow, which involves product deployment.
Stage 5: Seamless deployment in production
The final stage of deployment will involve developing a release plan, which will include deployment schedules and rollback plans.
The development team will need to coordinate with the operations team and prepare for deployment into the production environment. The teams will need to continuously monitor the release to identify and address any post-production issues. This stage can ideally be called the last stage, but it isn’t since each and every deployment will need maintenance and support.
Stage 6: Maintenance & support
Once a successful deployment is completed, the engineering teams perform a post-implementation review to evaluate a project’s success and identify areas of improvement. They also establish a system to provide ongoing maintenance and support for the success of an ongoing project.
Stage 7: Continuous improvement & enhancement
While providing support, they also gather feedback from various stakeholders, team members, and external users to perform improvements and enhancements to the ongoing project. They use constructive feedback mechanisms to iterate and make continuous improvements.
Engineering teams use different tools and methodologies like agile retrospectives, Plan-Do- Check-Act principle (PDCA), root cause analysis or Kaizen to perform Continuous Improvement. The lessons are also implemented for future projects and processes.
Often, teams create comprehensive documents for the projects, which include user manuals, technical documentation, and code manuals, to facilitate future references as well as knowledge transfers.
These stages within a workflow process are a general guide and can be adapted based on the specific requirements, methodologies (e.g., Agile, Waterfall), and tools used by your engineering team. In combination with this, regular communication, collaboration, and flexibility within teams are essential for success in any engineering project.
If you are looking to get support in any of the above stages, get in touch with us today to know how we can help.
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