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Why Software Projects Fail and How to Rescue Them

Let’s face it, software development can be challenging. You would think that with so much reliance on technology, there’s little room left for human error. But that’s not true. In fact, many reasons why software projects fall short or downright fail are strictly related to the people involved in the project, from business owners and stakeholders to project managers and software developers themselves. 

It’s not like anybody starts off planning to fail or deliver unsatisfactory products, quite the opposite. But the success of a software project is a puzzle made up of many parts, which don’t always fit together. In fact, up to 70% of business digital transformations fail to make it to the finish line.  

While that may be discouraging news, there are many tweaks you can make to your software development process to ensure its success. But first, let’s go over the main reasons why software projects fail so often.  

Idealistic expectations  

Like we said, nobody sets off thinking their project will fail. Some might be prepared to face some challenges along the way but not complete roadblocks. Business owners or stakeholders might be very optimistic and enthusiastic about the outcome of the project that they set unrealistic expectations. 

A big reason why this happens is that people outside the software team have limited understanding of what development actually entails. They have an end goal they need to reach, and they often underestimate the efforts and time necessary to reach it. Worse yet, they might impose their own vision based on incorrect or incomplete data, threatening the success of the project. 

Poor communication 

Continuing along the same lines, poor communication is another thing that plagues the software development process. For a software product to be developed and delivered correctly, team members, managers and stakeholders alike need to coordinate their efforts and collaborate effectively. They should communicate their progress, challenges, and results to anyone who is involved in the project so that they are addressed and resolved as soon as possible. 

So why does it not happen as often as it should? Well, time might be a huge reason. When a project must meet a tight deadline, many people develop tunnel vision in an effort to get the job done as quickly as possible and disregard the importance of sharing valuable information with their teammates.  

Poor communication also applies to the clients themselves. For similar reasons, they might fail to share enough documentation about the project, which leaves the software team feeling confused and unsure about the direction they need to take in the development of digital products. People will always be more productive when they have a clear idea of what they need to do from the start. 

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Outdated technology  

Some stakeholders or business owners insist on legacy, tried-and-true technology that might not be the best choice for the current project. Communicating with them about the benefits of change when it comes to outdated technology can ease their worries and convince them to move on to more modern approaches.  

Insufficient testing   

Time and the lack of resources may also impair a team’s capacity to properly test the products they are developing. In a rush to complete the project, project managers might decide to skip the testing / quality assurance step. 

Unfortunately, this can lead to disastrous results, where bugs are discovered when the website or app is already live, and people have already started interacting with it. All this can be anticipated and avoided through proper testing of the product at every stage of the development process.

What needs to change?  

As you can see, limited time, poor communication and a lack of resources are the main culprits when it comes to software development failures. Identifying these issues is an important step because you can work on a software project rescue plan and improve success rates.  

Moving forward, you can make sure information is shared in an effective and timely manner across the board. That included software team members, project managers and stakeholders. Communication between the development team and higher-rank decision-makers should be consistent and should cover as many details as possible. 

The lack of resources is a sore spot for many companies, as it can lead to a lot of overworking, frustration and exhaustion which affects the quality of the end product. The best way to go around that is to hire an experienced digital marketing agency like Mejix, that can supplement, strengthen, or temporarily replace your in-house team.  

We can help you with custom software development, website design, branding, SEO and many other marketing services. If you feel like your software projects are failing or falling short, we come to the rescue!