6 Major Reasons Why Software Projects Fail And How To Avoid Them
Have you ever thought about this;
Why do many software projects fail even though successful software projects aren’t rare?
We all know that software development is the basis for the progression of technology. Whether it be mobile apps, SaaS, or web development, the outcome of a failed software project can be overwhelming and costly.
Sadly, we hear many news regarding software projects failures across the IT industry, even though the apps and software are growing to be an increasingly prominent part of our everyday lives.
Our experts at Neoito have supervised several projects during their professional tenures. Below, 6 of them are the familiar pitfalls that can cause your development teams to get trapped and how your tech teams can help avoid them.
When is a project considered a failure?
Project failure happens when it doesn’t meet the acceptable cost and timeframe agreed-upon. Some projects can be a failure if they don’t meet the financial estimation or the ROI target.
Meeting the business requirements while delivering the project is yet another factor influencing the success of any project. The finished project can also be a failure by not meeting the stakeholder’s expectations.
Some of the most important factors to consider while delivering a software project to make it successful:
- Timely Delivery
- Project should fall within budget
- Meeting all the business objectives
- Meeting stakeholders’ expectations
- Customer Satisfaction
- Proper governance of the project
Reasons why software projects fail and how to get it right
Many issues can work against your project team, causing them to derail even if the ideas are great. When a software project fails, it can be devastating for many in your company, disappointed by wasted time, opportunity, and resources.
However, understanding the traps in advance can help you and your team tackle them like a pro. So to guarantee success for your next project, look out for these six challenges.
Absence of Vision (Unclear Goals and Objectives)
Vision can be anything from clear goals and objectives of your company to the stakeholders’ expectations. So one of the most common reasons for project failure is to begin work with unclear project objectives and goals.
The right kind of project goals can help the team while making difficult decisions.
Here are five goals to achieve for every project that you manage that are generic to all industries and kinds of projects:
- Finish the project on time
- Finish the project under the allotted budget
- Meet the project/business requirements
- Improve project productivity and performance
- Improve team communication and collaboration
Projects can be complicated, which strengthens the statement of why you should define your vision clearly. Once the project’s goals and objectives are clearly defined, it’s time to manage your team to abide by each.
Planning is the most crucial stage of work before beginning a project. The success of a project is through proper planning. A perfect project planning involves various complexity levels, and it is impossible to explain them all here.
However, some standard practices around all the industries are common; here are they:
Set and prioritize project goals
- Define deliverables
- Create project schedules; give them a start and end date
- Identify issues and do risk assessment
- Present project plan to stakeholders
- Know if and when to quit
Once the planning is proper, then it’s time to schedule a project kickoff meeting. As a bonus, here are the seven major steps involved in streamlining any project kickoff meeting:
- Establish vision and deliverables
- Identify team and set roles
- Develop initial project plans
- Establish a proper team communication routine
- Choose your project management methodology
- Choose the tools your team will use
- Schedule your kickoff meeting
These steps help every team member know his/her roles and work on a common goal. There’s no wrong with removing any of the above steps that do not add value to your project. You can now go to the drawing board and outline, remove or add every step and action needed to complete the project.
We have talked about improper planning on the previous step, and another most significant reason projects fail is improper scheduling.
A project schedule is a record managing all the effort required to deliver the project on time. It includes many tasks, each of them having a due date to complete on time.
After understanding the project scope and what it needs, schedule the duties according to the team skill sets. Getting your teams to work more in a fixed time to fit the client’s demand is the worst thing to do and a bad example for project scheduling.
Now here’s how to make a perfect project schedule;
Before you begin project scheduling, ask yourself these four questions:
- What are the objectives?
- When will it be done?
- Who will do it?
- Where will it be done?
Once you’ve answered the above questions, you can proceed with the creation of project scheduling. It’s essential to understand and follow the below steps of a project scheduling process:
Step 1: Plan schedule management
Step 2: Define the project activities
Step 3: Determine dependencies
Step 4: Sequence activities
Step 5: Estimate resources
Step 6: Estimate durations
Step 7: Develop the project schedule
Step 8: Monitor and control
To make your project scheduling more efficient, break down your project into small and easy-to-execute tasks with the help of any project scheduling techniques like; Task lists, Calendars, and Gantt charts.
Unrealistic project budget:
Budget is an essential factor for every project before it can be up for development. The worst thing that causes any project to fail is to fall short on the budget midway through the project.
The right way to manage the budget for any software project development is to make the product you’re developing pay for itself.
Here are some tips on how to set a perfect budget for your custom software project:
- Identify your project scope
- Define resources
- Breakdown software features
- Budget each high-level feature
- Allocate your budget with a buffer
- Use historical data
- Baseline and re-baseline the budget
By completing all the above activities, you will determine your overall project costs. Once you master this process, your work will accelerate, and your project development cost will succeed to lie within your budget’s borders.
Lack of communication
Lack of communication is the most expensive mistake when coming to project management, especially if the communication gap is too wide with the project stakeholders; it will cost you a lot of money.
Effective communication is a prominent element in building trust, mutual understanding, and developing safe and robust relationships across the company.
Reasons why poor communication can excessively affect the success of your project:
- Failure to figure out the stakeholder’s prospect precisely
- Insufficient commitment towards the project
- Disagreements and arguments among the project team and stakeholders or between stakeholder groups
- Team members can be quickly isolated and can disengage from the objective of the project, their roles, and their contributions
- The inaccuracy of the reports that do not reflect the actual status of the project
So what’s the solution to perfectly achieve all your project success through perfect communication across the organization? Here are some strategies you can comply with:
- Be present and readily available
- Use project management apps to keep everyone aware of their responsibilities, run effective meetings, and keep them all on the same page
- Adopt a better communication plan by answering the following questions:
- Take leverage of file sharing apps for the efficient workflow
- Use online communication tool whenever necessary
- Set Up an online review and approval process
- Celebrate achievements and build a strong team culture
It’s often a case of not choosing or assigning adequate engineers to the project. Not being willing to put some quality assurance people in place to cut some costs or accelerate results by cutting corners can drastically affect the projects’ success.
Testing the code in various environments is the fundamental purpose of quality assurance engineers. Only by recruiting suitable QA experts can you improve the quality of the software you develop.
We will strongly recommend you offshore your software development project rather than hiring a poor technical team to go the cost-saving route.
Developing any software is an art that demands top talents from the industry and needs precise planning for excellent execution. It doesn’t matter how great your idea is; if you don’t have the best team in hand, your software project will fail.
Lack of adequate resources:
Cross-training and multi-tasking are the two common mistakes that many companies make to save organizational resources and cost-cutting. Companies tend to repeat these mistakes when there’s a sudden structural change within the organization.
However, these practices will affect the project’s success and could fail the project prematurely. If you find the resources aren’t available, a project deadline extension is a good option on your table. However, it is not a permanent solution, and you must resolve this issue as early as possible.
For a complete resolution, practice the following steps to create a perfect resource plan:
- List the type of resources required
- Create a resource planning checklist
- Construct a resource schedule
- Manage and control resources
Have the right resource planning tool to keep you updated while the project is in progress. For your project to move towards success, managing your resources is a critical step within the project management schedule.
So you have gone through the six most common reasons why software projects fail in many companies. As a tech startup founder, you are responsible for taking the lead and ensuring those errors never happen.
However, talking about the reality, a software project can fail due to multitudes of reasons. But by eliminating the above mistakes, there’s a high chance that a project won’t fail prematurely. After all, there’s no wrong in aiming for perfection, even though you and your team need a lot of time before your project can become successful.