Why Do Software Projects Fail?
If you are developing a software tool then failure is the last thing you need. So how do you avoid the common traps that can lead to disaster?
Here is some statistics about software development projects:
- 75% of IT executives expect their projects will fail.
- Less than a third of all IT projects were successfully completed on time/budget over the past year.
- 33% of projects fail because of a lack of control from senior stuff.
Make Sure You Leave Enough Time to Finish the Project
Setting unachievable deadlines often happens if there is not enough data to back up the decision. Proper consultation with programmers and not rushing for the finish line can make all the difference when it comes to deadline setting. It is better to take slightly longer than deliver a product that doesn’t work properly.
It’s a common thing that a project fails because it lacks time, staff, budget or other resources. That’s why there is a need for proper forward planning and active project management.
Often project requirements change during the process so make sure whoever signs the project off is involved at all planning stages.
Be Clear on Your Requirements
The project specs must be laid out at the earliest possible opportunity. Being clear about the needs of the project enables developers to understand exactly what they need to do when providing software. Make sure you pick a good solid team too, with a proven track record if possible. You want the project to complete on time and stand up to scrutiny.
Don’t Assign Too Many People
It is tempting to try to speed up a project by adding more team members but although logic says this should increase speed it can slow things down and end in failure. Firstly, it adds to the cost and secondly, more people means an increase in the risk of error through miscommunication. Once a project is late adding in new people is not really going to do much to help, it would be better to plan from the outset exactly how many people need to be involved from Day 1.
Factor in Testing
If a project runs out of time or is not well planned there can be no real time left to test the product. However, software has to be tested and any bugs identified and corrected. Testing often falls by the wayside when pressure to deliver becomes intense but if the software doesn’t work it is not going to impress your customers. If possible avoid in-house testing within the production environment because this can lead to security breaches and make sure that testing happens throughout the life cycle so bugs can be identified and corrected early.
Poor Project Management
Lack of a good project manager is something that often leads to software development failure. A project can soon become disjointed if there is no clear leadership given to the team. You may want to consider hiring an outside consultant if there is no in-house talent to make sure the project is kept on track.
The figures speak for themselves – it is better not to rush in when it comes to development. If you want to avoid becoming a failure statistic you need to plan properly, determine your project scope, allow time for testing and ensure that the project manager is a top caliber professional.
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