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Three Ways to Prevent Software Project Failure

Smart technologies and their software have ushered in a world where a business’ success is frequently defined by their tech stack. Near infinite scalability, increasing homogeneity of platforms, and high global adoption rates have heaped rewards upon the businesses that have successfully made the transition. But accompanying the many success stories are failure cases where businesses have not allocated the appropriate resources and personnel to the demands of this new era. These methods of implementing software projects can help your business avoid failures and generate the top quality software you need to grow your business.

Dodging Software Project Failure

Data Driven Decision Making

One of the most frequent reasons that software projects fail is by failing to execute due diligence. By executing due diligence and incorporating data driven decision making, your business can isolate itself from software project failure.

Due diligence is a necessary step to ensuring that the project being undertaken is right and possible to execute successfully; it requires self-understanding and the research of comparables. What are your business goals? What are your growth targets for the year? What markets are you exploring? What internal objectives exist? A clear set of targets is imperative for understanding the feasibility of a software project. Having made your business objectives clear, the next step is to find comparable companies and projects that have been executed. How much did a comparable business invest in the project? How long did the project take? How did the business’ costs, growth, and profitability change as a result of the project? By conducting research on comparables and developing informed expectations for the software project under consideration your business leadership will more accurately know whether or not the project is worth taking.

As your business aggregates more data about decision making both in the exploratory stages of the project and during its execution, it also becomes the responsibility of leadership to leverage that data effectively. With more data available your business can determine what approaches are statistically significant, conduct rigorous testing, and derive the core information for decision making from the analytics teams. This does not mean letting data completely determine the decision making of your business. Instead it is the responsibility of business leadership to understand the benefits of data and incorporate key insights into decision making.

Effective Communication

Effective communication is necessary to successfully implement a software project. None of the research your business conducted matters if the disparate parts of your business are not aligned. Ineffective communication is one of the most common reasons that software projects fail.

When your company is implementing the project with an internal development team, communication needs to be cross departmental from the beginning. Business leadership needs to understand the limitations and capabilities of their development team and incorporate that knowledge into their due diligence. The business leadership additionally needs to understand the current state of affairs from the perspective the analytics teams. Ideally the analytics and development teams are already familiar with working together, but in the event they are isolated they must open communications as well. Once those three business elements have established open communication the majority of components necessary for implementing a software project’s research and execution are in place. Additional departments should be made knowledgable about the objectives of the business’ software push and incorporated as needed for executing the project. The more the project depends on additional departments, the more central they should be made to the project’s main communicative patterns.

When your company is working with an external development team such as Stickman Ventures, the most important first step is to establish trust between your business and your potential business partner. You need to understand whether or not the external teams will be working with your best interests at heart, that they will communicate honestly, and that they can deliver a product that meets your team’s expectations. Having completed due diligence is significantly more important when working with an external development team because your business needs to enter negotiations as a knowledgeable entity. Without that knowledge and accompanying trust your business runs the risk of entering into a foolish business relationship. Once your business has decided who to work with and that the project is worth taking, you then must integrate communication between your business and the external team as if they were an internal development team. This will ensure that the development team you hired can work effectively and deliver a product that meets your business’ needs.

Commitment to Testing

Once the project has been green-lit and your business has effective communication methods in place, iterative testing is available for implementation.

The above two practices should mitigate unrealistic expectations and deadlines from being made, but that does not mean a project is immunized from them. Testing is one of the most important parts of the development cycle, and when deadlines are approaching it is also one of the most overlooked. If a project appears to run to satisfaction, the desire to ship can frequently usurp the desire to test. But testing is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the software project your business has been investing in to this point, and launching a software project before it is complete can have terrible repercussions. Without testing, all of the work your business has invested in the software project could result in a negative project ROI, injure your business’ reputation, and cause employees to lose faith in leadership. Testing proves that your business is committed to quality, has a comprehensive vision for the project, and that leadership knows how to effectively lead the business.

Testing ensures the work your development team does is professional, complete, and delivers the intended functionality. A commitment to testing will ensure that the majority of bugs are eliminated prior to launch, and that your development team will have available resources to tackle those that do occur rather than balancing bugfixes with finalizing the software build.

Conclusion

Launching a software project is a substantial undertaking for any business, and even the most experienced development teams can run into unforeseen issues during development. Data driven decision making, effective communication, and a commitment to testing can make those issues navigable, ensuring your business has the proper infrastructure in place to adjust to issues that may arise.

If you would like to discuss these concepts in greater depth or learn how to make your next software project a success make sure to contact us below or reach out to us via email at team@stickmanventures.com. Keep an eye out for future content where we apply these methods, examine additional elements in detail, and present specific projects as case studies.

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