Recently, we found some impressive project management statistics. Did you know that 75% of all IT managers don't believe their project will succeed? Or that less than a third of all software projects are delivered on time and within budget?
We can say that these are pretty shocking figures. So we have taken an interest in: why do some software projects fail? And more importantly, what can you do to prevent this?
Software is not tested often enough during development.
Let’s suppose you have a new software development project idea, or you are about to replace your existing software. After a tough selection of suppliers, you have chosen a party to work with. You and your new partner start developing your product in good spirits. It goes well. In fact, it goes so good that together with the partner you decide to meet a new and impossible deadline. You decide to push it forward and focus on the end goal.
And that’s where it goes wrong.
You will realize it later. The step-by-step development of a product in monthly or bi-monthly releases, with regular testing, offers you control. You can also collect feedback and data from users and identify problems and discover opportunities at an early stage. That allows you to make adjustments when necessary. Not testing software is the main pitfall that causes software projects to fail. Regular and thorough testing of (parts of) your product can save a lot of time and money.
You can avoid the failure of this scenario by working Agile. Agile software development is mainly aimed at avoiding risks by developing in clear and short periods. We see each of these time frames, or sprints, as a small project in itself. These small projects contain the necessary tasks of a regular project: analysis, planning, division of labour, design, testing, and documentation. We wrote a whitepaper about it.
The objectives of the project and specifications of the final product are not clear.
It is of the utmost importance for both the customer and the developing party to know exactly what will be developed and why. The reverse is also true; it is the developing party’s task to inform the customer side about how this development will happen and why it’s the best choice.
That is why it is good to have all noses in the same direction beforehand. At Amsterdam Standard, we start each project with a Discovery call.
During this call, we discuss the Scope, Definition, and MVP of the product to be developed. We discuss architecture, planning, risks, and cooperation. We also review the goals of the project and the vision behind it. In this way, we choose the direction in a responsible way and prevent a false start.
Software development fails due to poor communication.
Effective communication is of great importance in any work environment. It creates an open and pleasant environment and ensures a good relationship between software developers, customers, and stakeholders.
Smooth and continuous communication between developers and client ensures transparency. Surprises are avoided and the infamous "point of no return" is avoided. Every project brings challenges, it’s not a problem. A challenge only becomes a problem when it is not discussed.
The lack of effective communication is an influential reason for software development failure and frustration on both the developing and the client-side.
Scrum provides us with a framework for fast and effective communication. Not only does Scrum ensure a short time to market, the short "daily scrums" ensure that the scrum master, development team, and product owner are aware of the status and progress within the project.
Do good planning, discuss the goals and process with the software development company you intend to cooperate in the discovery call, work agile, plan regular software testing, and communicate with your team and stakeholders during the whole development process. Then your project won’t be mentioned in the number of failed or delayed. Your project has a big chance of success!