We all know deadlines can be stressful in every domain. But, in software development, where there is a substantial technical barrier between the parties, they can be easily wrongfully estimated, hurting both the client and the developer in the process.
Today I’m going to tell you the main reasons why 3 out of 5 software projects are late. To further put things into perspective, only 36% of projects are deemed successful. This means on time, on budget, and on scope. 19% of projects fail and 45% are challenged in a significant way during development.
I will explain where your money is going, how to help your technology partner in this journey so that you get the most value out of every resource, and hopefully will make the whole experience less frustrating both for you and your developers.
There are 6 major mistakes that clients tend to make when employing the services of a software development agency.
MISTAKE #1 Inaccurate Requirements
- Usually happens when the client writes the specifications alone. They should use some guidance from the agency on how to write his initial brief.
- To avoid this mistake, involve all stakeholders: business partners, IT representatives, and even end-users during the requirements phase of a project.
- Also try your best in the planning phase to identify 90% of the potential changes to comfortably fit the 10% into the budget and expected timeline.
MISTAKE #2 Uninvolved Project Sponsors
- Frequently comes as an effect of delegating the communication to an employee, after the sponsor deals with the negotiation phase.
- To avoid this, make sure (as a business owner and the project sponsor) to take part in the development process. We know that you’re busy, but you are the final decision maker and, ultimately, you deem the project a success or a failure.
- Make time for what would be 15-minute stand-ups per day or at least a one-hour retrospective at the end of each week.
MISTAKE #3 Shifting Project Objectives
- To minimize this risk, try reducing the timeframe of plans. After you map out your entire software goals and concept start planning for shorter deliverables.
- If the tech partners adopt a SCRUM framework, then go ahead and do that – plan one or two-week sprints, check the status of the deliverables at the end of each sprint and replan the next ones if priorities have changed.
- Waterfall approach might feel better for you because it needs less commitment from you or your employees – remember that Waterfall is supposed to mean fixed time, fixed scope, and VARIABLE budget.
- On the other hand, Agile advocates for a fixed time, fixed budget, and VARIABLE scope.
MISTAKE #4 Inaccurate Estimations
- Happens when the project manager relies only on the upfront estimation. They ask for quotes too early and never bother to re-adjust when requirements become clearer. To fix this, make a habit out of asking for re-estimation along the way.
- It can also be caused by the development team’s lack of experience in working with your type of product leading to underestimating time and costs. To avoid this add some buffer to the timeline.
A good rule of thumb is to multiply the time period by four to get a fair estimation.
MISTAKE #5 Unexpected Risks
- The cone of uncertainty comes in handy when dealing with those big buffers during the start of the project and it will keep you grounded when things don’t go as planned. Nobody wants to have a late project. But, if your agency is giving you a bigger timeline than expected citing the cone of uncertainty, don’t bully them into a shorter deadline.
MISTAKE #6 Dependency Delays
- In the software development world, everything is connected. To create a digital product, you have many dependencies involved, such as in-house developer, UI/UX designer, 3rd party solutions, and so on. If one of them fails to deliver on time, it will cause a chain reaction of delays. To avoid this, make sure you are aware of all these possible showstoppers and try to focus on them. Treat each dependency as a mini project and add deadlines and buffer to every one of them.
Now that you have some insights into why 60% of projects are late, you also have the necessary tools to prevent such delays. You are no longer dependent on anyone for your project’s success, hopefully saving you a lot of time, money, and grief along the way.
If you need help with any of your software challenges book a free strategy call with Adi, Neo Vision’s CEO.
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