Maybe you have a great business idea that you want to launch on the web or maybe you just have an older software system that you’d like to web-enable.
Getting from idea to working software is a lot harder and riskier than you think.
Statistics show that 68% of software development projects fail. That doesn’t even include the fact that most projects come in way over budget and were not delivered on time.
How can you ensure you don’t end up another statistic?
What Causes Failures
We’re often called upon to rescue failed web development projects. We get these calls Every. Single. Week.
It usually goes something like this,”I’m calling to find out if you guys can help me complete a web development project. I hired a company to (fill in the blank) and now it’s 6 months later and it’s still not complete. We’re at an impasse and I’m sick of dealing with them and I’m ready to move on. Can you help?”
This is a huge red flag. It represents a huge disconnect between client and vendor. It usually means several key parts of the project have been flagrantly misunderstood and it usually means project requirements were not clearly defined. It can also mean that the developer was simply not up to the task and suggests that the customer is possibly naïve and/or not detail oriented. Both customer and developer are usually at fault.
The Devil is in the Details
Repeat the following three time and never forget it:
If you don’t invest in detailed planning, your project will fail.
There are many different software development approaches you can take. These have fancy names such as Agile-Scrum, Waterfall and a Hybrid of these two. Whatever the names, it’s important you take a systematic approach to your project and the first & critical step is PLANNING.
If your project is under a million dollars and budget adherence is a very high priority, I’d recommend a hybrid (Waterfall/Scrum) project approach.
This approach will help you to get a handle on expected costs by creating a detailed specification document that will be used as the basis to build your system– a blueprint.
You will gain a level of clarity that you hadn’t had and you may realize many features you originally wanted, were unnecessary. Part of the process will also be devoted to creating visuals screen mock ups and seeing these can be totally eye opening & motivating.
By the time this Planning step is completed you will be confident your developer knows what’s expected and your Developer will be confident in the estimate that is provided.
This planning phase might take 40hrs or more but it will be the best money you spend. The planning will illuminate all the areas of uncertainty and make you resolve them. It will clear up confusions and show up weaknesses in things you hadn’t thought through. At the end, you will be enlightened and you will have a sense of clarity, empowerment and certainty that will actually make it possible to succeed.
You will also get firsthand experience working with your development company on a much lower risk project, collaborating and achieving a clearly defined objective. If it goes well, you will feel a lot more secure about the potential outcome of your bigger project.
Avoid These Mistakes
Avoid these simple mistakes and you’ve increased your chances at success:
- Avoid companies who want to rush you & start without a detailed plan
- Never, ever leave any feature or function implied.
- Always clarify a feature when in doubt
- If it’s isn’t written down, assume it won’t be included in the project
- Never assume the developer knows or understands what you want.
- Ensure you and developer sign off on the specification document
- Avoid/ignore low project bids
- Be careful of providers who estimate projects too quickly
- For your protection, try to work with companies that have been around 10 or more years
Let Us Build Your Software
Since 2003, we have been a leading software development provider in the Tampa Bay area.
We specialize in complex projects in the financial services, medical and general business sector. Our systems are easy to understand and use. We use open source technologies so you’re not locked into licensing agreements or any particular vendor.
If you have a project you want to create, call 727-562-5161 today or contact us online and experience how software development projects are supposed to be run.