Top 9 things that can kill a software if the software developers ignore them
The software development teams need to consider and manage nine factors right from the start of the project to ensure the software development success.
A software will be as good and efficient as the software development company partnered with. Selecting the best, from the top Software Developers, that suits the businesses requirement is essential due to this reason. Software development is inherently difficult to plan. Software is intangible, and it often involves precise coordination between a large number of stakeholders to succeed. Even expert software development companies fall prey to inevitable mistakes that can wreak havoc on the entire project. The software development teams need to consider and manage a large number of factors right from the start of the project to ensure the software project's success.
Mistakes that decimate a software project
The worst nightmare of software developers is that after months of hard work they come to know that due to some avoidable errors their software now stands demolished. These grave errors can be easily avoided if enough care is taken during the software development process. Mentioned below are some of the most common mistakes that tend to run software development.
1. Poor assessment of requirements
Requirement clarification is an essential process in software development that helps the software developers better understand the requirements of the end-users. Anyone who has worked on a software project knows how hard it is to finish a software project with poorly defined requirements. Although inadequate requirement assessment does not necessarily lead to project failure, it multiplies the chances of project failure as a small error in understanding the project requirements can create havoc.
Insufficient stakeholder involvement and ambiguity regarding the project are two main culprits leading to poor requirement specification. The presence of ambiguity means that different stakeholders will interpret the project requirements in different ways. These are the situations wherein the team is forced to derive its conclusions regarding the project requirements. Such a situation can prove to be fatal for the project.
Insufficient stakeholder involvement creates problems regarding defining the product requirements. To execute a project successfully, the stakeholders must participate in the project requirement definition process and the development team. If the stakeholders do not involve defining the requirements, then there will be a massive discrepancy between the expected result and the developed product.
To succeed in software development, the developers must establish a practical requirement definition process. A robust requirement definition process decreases the expectation gap between what was needed and what was developed. Sometimes requirements evolve during the software development process. To avoid issues later, the evolved requirements must be discussed immediately with the software developers. Software project failure can be avoided through mutual and regular coordination on requirement clarification.
Another major aspect of software requirement identification is deciding the software architecture and technical design. These are the aspects that define the model of the software, how will it function and what are the capabilities that it would have.
2. Trying to accomplish too many things at once
One of the most common reasons for the failure of the software project is when the software developers [it also includes the clients/customers; hence, it won’t come. Find some other word] try to accomplish too many things at once. Many businesses fail because they try to incorporate too many features at once into their software. An excellent example of over-engineering would be to implement design patterns just for the heck of it. Over-engineering accomplishes nothing except adding complexity to the code. Over-engineering happens because of assumptions. Software developers tend to assume that certain features or a piece of code might be helpful in the future. The best way to explain over-engineering is that the developers try to solve problems that do not exist.
An excellent solution to avoid this problem would be to build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) first. The idea behind MVP is simple. In the first iteration of the software, the software developers build only the minimum set of necessary features for the product to perform. This is done to observe the interaction of the users with the product and test the assumptions. An MVP helps software developers safeguard their software from the uncertainties of the market. If the users do not like a feature or if the MVP does not perform according to the expectations of the software developers, then the developers can make the necessary changes and release a second version of the software.
Many developers mistake MVP as being a low-quality product which a company releases to achieve speed-to-market. The MVP should be a well functioning product that solves users' problems and not a sloppy and incomplete product. Remember, the V in MVP stands for viable.
3. No attention to user feedback
Without active user involvement, there are few chances that software will succeed. Unfortunately, many instances of software projects failed because the developers did not listen to the users.
To get proper user feedback, the developers should ask the users whether the software features solve the users' problems or not. Like the developers, the designers should also ask the users whether the UI of the software is intuitive or not. In many cases the end users are the client’s internal team members. The developers or designers can take feedback from the users in such cases. In cases where the end-users’s feedback cannot be easily attained by the developers or designers, the client can provide the user feedback to the developers or designers after attaining it from the end-users.
The software developers should design a process to get user feedback. For this, the correct set of target users must be identified.
Ideally, the audience should be defined during the idea development phase. The software development team should spend enough time researching their ideal customer and build a robust customer persona. The software developers would know which customers to target and where to find them by building a customer persona.
4. Excessive change in scope and strategy
Agile software development allows the software developers to make changes in the software. This does not mean that the programmers should make changes in the software project too often. The developers risk the success of the software project by making too many changes too often. This is because altering too many things in the middle of the project may lead to substantial rework.
The company should adopt a disciplined commitment to a streamlined software development approach to avoid too many changes during the development phase. If the project's goal is clear, there won't be many changes in the software development process. The software development team should clearly define the project’s goals and monitor them during the development life cycle.
While defining the project's goals, the software development team should ensure that the goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and tangible. The project's goals should align with the business requirements while focusing on the target users. The software development team should continuously monitor the project goals.
5. Poor quality code
Poor quality code poses a significant risk to the software project. Poor quality code can mean a lot of things. For instance, it can be termed poor quality code when the code is difficult to read or review. Poor quality code occurs when the developers have rushed to release it without testing the code correctly. Poor quality code increases the technical debt of the project. Technical debt represents the extra development work that arises in the long run when developers cut corners while coding the software. Technical debt is the coding that the developers must do tomorrow because they took a shortcut in coding today. The technical debt decreases the agility of the software in the long term. Code quality is crucial as it makes the project easy to understand, maintain and extend.
The following adjustments to the software development process help the developers improve the code quality.
Clear coding standards and guidelines
Rigorous code testing
Dedicated quality control manager
Refactor legacy code (when necessary)
6. Insufficient encryption
Any software that is connected to the internet is vulnerable to hackers. Software developers need to make sure that sensitive data like data related to banking and health is encrypted. Good encryption is not just good practice but is also a regulatory requirement in many nations. The developers should use a proven encryption method to make the software secure for the users.
The average cost of a data breach has steadily risen over the past few years, as illustrated below.
Average cost of a data breach
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7. Lack of communication
Good communication between all the project participants is vital to ensure the success of the software project. The software developers must follow communication practices like daily meetings, code reviews, review of deliverables and collaboration with the users and stakeholders to ensure proper communication between all the stakeholders.
In communication, face-to-face meetings are generally considered more effective than documented communication like email and chat. There are two critical areas for effective communication on a development project. The first area deals with awareness about a project's progress at a given time. The second area concerns the team's awareness about the reviews of development deliverables by key users. Both areas are equally essential to ensure the success of the project. There should be predefined channels like project management systems and email through which all communication should happen. When there is a lot of information to be communicated, it is easy to miss important things. This is why verbal communication should be avoided.
The software development team must understand that while too little communication is dangerous, so is too much and uncontrolled communication. Both can derail the project. This is why many software development firms assign the task of overseeing and controlling the communication process to a specific person. To ensure smooth communication during software development, the frequency and communication channels must be established right at the start of the project. Clear communication is an essential criterion for selecting a software development company.
8. No balance between project requirements and budget
When the project's requirements and the allotted budget are out of sync, it generally leads to a failed product. Under the pressure of achieving the desired result within a limited budget, the development team takes poor architecture decisions and skips essential steps of development like integration and regression testing.
Solution: Do Discovery Before the Project Starts, and Control your Changes!
The software developers should get a correct estimate of the cost of developing the software before they start the project. The best thing to do would be to estimate the budget during the discovery phase. This is the phase when the entire blueprint of the project is created. This initial blueprint will help the software developers control changes throughout the software development life cycle.
9. Improper team
Improper team combination is a major cause of failure in software development. The software development team must consist of people who complement each other and are team players. Certain traits can help one identify an improper team. We have discussed them below.
An improper team makes no effort to try and resolve the lack of understanding on the product owner’s part.
All work estimates are substantially wrong. For example, a task that should ideally take 4 hours, the team estimates that it will take 12 hours to complete. This is a tell-tale sign of an inefficient development team.
The team never discusses application logic with the product owners. Improper developers always try to hand over the project quickly and do not bother to understand the software’s intended purpose.
An improper team never accepts changes. This trait shows stubbornness which becomes an issue when it is vital to make changes in the software.
With the rising popularity of the software, many inexperienced and unqualified developers have entered the field. This is a real problem for the industry, as with bad developers in the mix, one may be stuck with software that is impossible to support and extend.
Save the software
By understanding the potential pitfalls, software development companies can prepare themselves to avoid these pitfalls. Although it is easier said than done, proper research regarding customers, accurate budgeting, effective communication, and well-defined goals help software developers avoid software failure.
To ensure the project's success, businesses must choose top software developers with the required experience and expertise to complete the project efficiently.