When developing a WordPress website or plugin (which we do a lot of), it is critical to plan WHAT you are doing before just starting to code.
In our projects, we tend to use the ‘Rule of Thirds’. 1/3 Planning, 1/3 Coding, 1/3 Testing and Revisions.
That Planning phase is the most important. Without an agreed plan, the odds of development meeting customer expectations are very slim.
When we build something, we need to understand the business goals of the website or plugin. We like to wireframe and flowchart site templates and user flows before even thinking about coding.
Think about it like this: Would you build a house without a blueprint? Imagine the surprises. Oh wait, you mean we need outlets in every room? Oh, yeah, we need a Washer and Dryer hookup. You can imagine the mistakes all the contractors and subcontractors would make without the right blueprint.
It is hard enough building a house WITH a blueprint. Without a blueprint, which is signed off and agreed by the homeowner, it is VERY unlikely your house will meet your expectations.
You also need a blueprint for development. Some of our business comes from people who say “We worked with this developer and it just isn’t working right”. In most of these cases, there was never a Specification written or at least a functionality list.
That means the initial developer, in almost all cases, just started building a site without really understanding the business goals.
One sad example was when a customer’s site was delivered from another developer, they realized it wasn’t built responsively, so it looked terrible on phones and tablets. It turns out that was never discussed during the development, but assumed by the customer. The developer, never having that requirement explicitly, built the site without responsiveness built in.
So the summary of this is: Planning is not an option, it is a requirement. At a minimum, write down the functionality that will be delivered and make sure that both parties agree on it before you write any code.