Depending on your source, between a third and three-quarter of software development projects fail. These failures range from projects that spend forever in development before being abandoned to brand new software releases tarnished by bugs that shouldn’t have made it out of development. Here are four common software development mistakes people keep committing, as well as advice on how to avoid them from hurting your project.
Assuming Software Development Is Easy
If software development was easy, we wouldn’t pay software developers, coders, and project managers this much. If software development was easy, we wouldn’t have tools like Doors specifically for managing software project requirements and multiple suites for managing code libraries as they are changed. You wouldn’t see software development raised to its own, unique discipline exemplified in the online masters in software development the same way international business and big data analysis are worthy of their own MBA programs. The online MSSD degree by Maryville University is unusual for specializing in software development, but it builds on the IT management MBAs that are becoming commonplace as a whole host of IT development standards, laws, and liability rules are applied to IT projects.
Anyone Can Manage a Software Development Project
One common mistake in software development is to put the senior developer in charge of the project. This is akin to asking your best surgeon to head the hospital. Just because they are an expert in their field doesn’t mean they are qualified to manage other experts. And adding management to their list of tasks takes your best talent away from the work that needs to be done. The better solution is bringing in experts in software development project management. You want someone who is familiar with managing technical people and implementing the controlled, structured approach that maximizes the odds of a successful software development project.
We Can Add These Little Changes before We’re Done
It is the rush to add a few more things to the software release that kills far too many projects, by taking time away from the testing and debugging of the major software changes and implementing changes without the proper resources to prevent problems with these additions.
Another variation of this problem is failing to define the user’s needs properly, so the solutions implemented get changed at the last minute, regardless of the risk.
Poor Resource Management
Software development projects regularly fail because of poor resource management. One example of this is assuming that your IT department, already fully loaded with software support, can develop software patches or new products without cutting something, somewhere. Another problem is the tendency to only add team members after the project is behind schedule instead of assigning them at the start.
Software development isn’t easy, which is why professionals are well paid and so many software tools exist for niches like requirements management. There is a bad habit of adding on extra “little” functions that either slow down the project or take away from the appropriate testing to ensure success. Too many managers assume that anyone can manage a software project and that it can be done by your existing team with the headcount and resources they already have.