Why do software projects fail? A brief look into project management
We are in a boom for software projects, mobile applications, SaaS and the evolution of the cloud has meant we are taking on more software projects and understanding how they can bring value to your business. We are fascinated with technology and we all want systems that make our ever increasing digital lives easier. However, many software projects fail despite the thought and effort that was put into them, here are the key reasons why software projects fail: –
This is probably the biggest source of failure. There is the constant battle between developers on one side who are a cautious bunch when it comes to estimating time and the customer & leadership team who need quick delivery. It is imperative that you set yourself realistic milestone & completion dates, to do this you need to plan every outcome and leave aside a bit of time for contingencies. It’s also important that the project is managed and measured daily to ensure everyone is still on track.
Your project scope must be in depth, accurate, completed with the customer and agreed with the customer. It is imperative that you find out the project requirements at the discovery stage and define what is in the scope of the project and what is outside the scope of the project. Failure to do this will mean you have to go back to the client to clarify details which looks unprofessional and is going to mean your project stalls whilst you wait for answers.
With the best will in the world even the best planned and best scoped projects require changes half way through, as projects evolve new features requirements crop up. Using our experience and planning we need to determine which variations can be added into the first iteration of a project and which ones need to be put into the queue for version 1.1 or version 2 of the software.
Once projects are completed they need to be tested, tested and tested again. Every eventuality needs to be thought out and thoroughly tested. This includes how intuitive the software is, how easy it is to use, how it flows and also that it does what you said it was going to do. If you deliver software that doesn’t work, is buggy or is a pain for users to use then they just won’t use it and it makes you look bad.
This is probably the most frustrating cause of failure of all because you have done 99% of the hard work. All you failed at was the handover to the client and training them on how to use the new system. By nature people resist change and not understanding how something works can give people a great reason for rejecting your hard work and not adopting the new system you have painstakingly developed. You need to get people on-board, show them how easy it is to use, point out the benefits it will have on their role and how much time/ money/ effort it’s going to save them.
If your embarking on your next software project – let us know and we’d be happy to talk to you about it.