When you start an exciting new software development project, failure should be the last thing on your mind. But, no matter what new venture you take on, there's always a certain amount of risk. Rather than being blindly optimistic, take a moment to consider what possible challenges you might face, and how you're going to prepare for and overcome them. Here, we've outlined a few ways software development projects can go wrong. And how to avoid the traps that could be damaging to your final outcome, whether it's a custom CRM tool or system-management app. Fortunately, there are easy ways to work around these obstacles to ensure your project is successful.
5 reasons why software development projects fail
The problem: Unrealistic deadlines
Sometimes, companies will set unrealistic deadlines for software development projects either without consulting relevant data, or at the request of the client. But, skimping on time in order to complete a project as hastily as possible often has adverse effects on quality, design and usability. Just because something was completed quickly doesn't mean it's up to scratch. And a broken or difficult-to-use product often proves unusable.
The answer: Talk to all parties involved before setting a deadline, and make sure programmers are given sufficient time to complete a project. It's also important to factor in planning time, so that the scope and parameters of a project can be determined before anyone writes a line of code. Once the basics have been established, you can determine an adequate timeline.
The problem: Bad planning
This leads on from the first point, because if you're working to a crazy deadline, you might cut the planning stage short. And this can have serious consequences down the road. Of the many elements that affect the success of a project, from adequate time, dedicated team members, sufficient resources and a calculated budget, challenges that arise in any of these areas often come down to planning. The planning stage is crucial in software development and neglecting it could lead to unrealistic expectations.
The answer: Set aside adequate planning time before you start a project. One of the ways to be time-efficient during planning is to have key players involved from the get go. Senior developers, project managers and - ultimately - the clients need to sign off on all stages before the project is completed, so they should be actively involved in planning an execution.
The problem: Unclear requirements
In the early stages of planning, detailed specifications should be laid out for the project. Developers need to be clear on things like special features and scope. They also need to be know how a company hopes to scale a software product so they can be prepared for increasing demands. If executives and decision-makers aren't clear on project requirements from the start, it could delay the timeline as developers struggle to adapt to changing expectations.
The answer: Make sure everyone on board is clear on the project specs. This might mean conducting meetings with executives and developers together, and make sure you put specific requirements in writing. You want to make sure your software stands the test of time.
The problem: Lack of communication
Bad communication can lead to complications in your software development project, in more ways than one. Because of a lack of communication, you might find the project is delayed while changes are made, you might go over budget or find yourself working with a disgruntled team. Even the smallest miscommunications can have big impacts down the line. Fortunately, this is an easy thing to fix.
The answer: In the planning phase of a development project, set up structures to guarantee smooth communication. It can be anything from a weekly Zoom call to a designated development WhatsApp group or shared Google doc. But, all parties need to be aware of what's going on at all times. And, with so many user-friendly communications tools available at the moment, bad communication seems like a silly reason for a project to fail.
The problem: Inadequate testing
Thorough testing should be taking place throughout the software development life cycle, not just as a last step at the end. Unfortunately, when time is running out on an unrealistic deadline, adequate testing is often a phase that gets abandoned. However, sacrificing on this step can lead to software that doesn't function properly, which leads to very unhappy customers.
The answer: Set aside sufficient time so that you can test properly at multiple stages of software development, as each component is completed. If you follow this approach, the final testing stage should be fairly quick and you'll have fewer bugs to deal with at the end.
Now that you know how software development projects could fail, you can work more effectively toward making them a success. It's time to have fun bringing your software development idea to life!