5 Pitfalls To Avoid When Building and Launching Digital Services
Today, software is everywhere. From mobile applications to Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystems, software plays a significant role in our world.
For those developing and updating software systems, the task is extremely difficult as more pressure is being placed on development teams to complete projects faster.
This pressure inevitably leads to a number of pitfalls that cause projects to fail. In a survey of IT and business executives, 75 percent of respondents admitted that their projects are either always or usually destined to fail from the very start.
To avoid this fate, we highlighted five pitfalls of software development to avoid to successfully complete your next project.
Unrealistic Project Timeline
The first pitfall of software development are unrealistic timelines. Companies today are putting more pressure on development teams to release and update software in shorter amounts of time.
Often, the pressure to go to market faster creates timelines for projects that fail to allocate an appropriate amount of time that development teams actually need to complete the project. This contributes to a number of issues that negatively affect the quality of the product as well as a team’s ability to complete the project on time and on budget.
According to the Chaos Report, projects, on average, go over budget by 189 percent and surpass their timeline by 222 percent. Furthermore, pressure of an inadequate timeline can force teams to sacrifice the quality, usability, and design of the product, which too undermines the project ROI and company’s profits.
To avoid this pitfall, it is essential to establish an adequate timeline that reflects the insights and recommendations of the development team.
Providing developers with the framework and depth of the project can go a long way towards creating a proper timeline that can lead to success.
Similarly, inadequate planning is our second pitfall of software development. Project are often doomed from the start due to inadequate planning, budgets, or resources. A 2016 IT survey reported that 55 percent of IT professionals blamed a project’s failure on either an inadequate timeline, budget, or collection of resources.
As we have already noted the importance of project timelines, it is key to have the right resources and budget. Not surprising, a lack of resources will cause development teams to fall behind as they struggle to keep up with challenging workloads.
As projects fall behind schedule, it is inevitable that they will run over budget as the development team struggles to complete the project without totally sacrificing the quality of the product.
Generally, poor planning is the result of management decisions that fail to properly take into account how long or how expensive projects will cost. The failure of top management to get directly involved in the planning phase of a project is often to blame.
Avoiding this mistake is not difficult, but it does require organizations to make sure that their top management is involved in the planning process of each project, and kept informed throughout the lifecycle of the project as well.
This will ensure projects are being planned properly from the very beginning, and tweaked appropriately in response to unexpected problems or constraints that arise throughout the project’s lifecycle.
Software development projects are a lot like marriages. They can fall apart due to a lack of communication, our third pitfall of software development.
While clear, constant communication enables all team members to fully understand the objectives and requirements of the project, poor communication does not.
When the project team understands what the end result should look like (and do), it is significantly easier to deliver a successful product.
Furthermore, great communication also helps to guide the team throughout the lifecycle of the project. Regularly scheduled (scrum) meetings can foster communication and allow each team member to share opinions and challenges with each other or management as they arise.
Without proper communication however, it becomes much easier for crucial information regarding requirements, expectations, problems, etc. to be lost in translation between team members. In the end, the chaos and confusion from poor communication is a major reason why projects fail.
Ineffective Project Management
Ineffective project management is our fourth pitfall of software development. Project management is vital as it can ensure the project has the proper plan, budget, timeline, strategy, resources, and all other key elements in place.
Moreover, having a quality project manager who is responsible for planning, monitoring, executing, and adjusting the project from start to finish goes a long way towards guaranteeing the success of the project.
The right management also works to make certain that project teams have the resources they need to be successful.
Poor management can easily undermine a project by failing to build a team with profiles who possess the right skills and experience. When this happens, it is easy for projects to fall behind schedule or to result in a subpar product.
This a challenge many organizations face, especially when it comes to finding profiles that can properly automate test cases throughout each sprint. According to the World Quality Report 2018-19, 46 percent of organizations struggle to implement test automation at their desired level due to their lack of skilled or experienced test automation resources.
Ironically, having too many team members can also lead to problems. While an enlarged team will lead to an inflated budget, it can also result a in poor quality product due to miscommunication amongst a plethora of team members. Additionally, introducing new developers in the middle a project that has fallen behind schedule can also contribute to more coding errors.
Overall, the success of a project will depend heavily on the quality of its management. To avoid this pitfall, it is important to dedicate a project manager that has the right skills and experience to successfully lead the project.
A Lack of Testing
Last but certainly not least, a lack of testing is our last pitfall of software development. Testing is critical to the success of any software project despite the fact that it is often sidelined due to time or budget constraints. Nonetheless, a lack of testing can lead to disastrous results.
A lack of testing is a catalyst for number of anomalies or bugs that hinder the overall quality of applications, websites, IoT, and more. Software bugs have the potential to lead to an unresponsive design, functions that do not work, and unexpected crashes. When this happens, customers become frustrated leaving the site or deleting the app.
According to a study by Google, about 60 percent of users will delete a mobile application or leave a mobile website following a disappointing experience.
With the potential to result in long-term loss of customers, it is pivotal for organizations, especially retailers, to test their websites and apps to ensure they deliver the best quality and experience.
Overall, software bugs can ruin software and limit the commercial success of any software project causing organizations to lose money as well as suffer a decline in their brand image.
To avoid this fate, be sure to include test phases throughout the lifecycle of a product to validate new additions, and to verify these new additions do not result in any regressions.
Using automated testing will help with regression testing, saving time and allowing the agile tester to validate the new additions.
Furthermore, software should be tested in a real environment outside of the production environment to ensure the final product meets the standards or requirements laid out at the beginning of the project.
Although software development is difficult, it can be less difficult by taking precautions to avoid the pitfalls that often cause projects to fail.
Given the prominence of the agile methodology in software development, learning how to test in agile projects is of the utmost importance. As a result, feel free to download our white paper: QA and The Agile Methods: the making of a good pair?