All software development projects require considerable time, effort and resources of a company. Even minor setbacks in a project can impact the financial costs and the productivity and engagement of the stakeholders. After working for more than a decade in the software development industry, the team of Azul Arc has witnessed and recognized certain factors that cause projects to go awry. If you are looking to build a new product, get excited, but be weary of these common issues:
1. Failed Feedback Loop
Delays in providing content and feedback are one of the biggest factors in causing project problems. It almost works as a ripple effect, influencing multiple resources and steps involved in the development process.
For example, un-timely feedback leads to delayed deliverables which adds time to the project. This causes a loss of team and project momentum, which ultimately affects the project cost.
The best way to prevent such inefficiency and unexpected budget increase, is to regularly submit structured feedback to the product manager, ideally, after each sprint update call.
2. Scope Creep
This is the most common problem faced by the product managers.
Most of the product managers we spoke to said that the majority of their clients get blinded by their desire for their product to be superior and want all the possible features on their app/website. However, always remember that the most effective and elegant applications are built with the discipline of knowing what not to include. Simplicity is key.
Most clients use words such as “What about this” and “how about that” without exercising some precaution. From an agile perspective, one shouldn’t add scope somewhere without considering to cut back scope elsewhere or without considering additional investment in time and budget. Here, the product managers should also take accountability and remind the client of the possibility of a scope creep.
“Just move this to the left.” Often people who are not involved in the development process make the mistake of underestimating the need of time. Revisions are time-consuming and costly – even small changes add up. So, use them carefully and work with the team to provide them in a structured manner.
3. Limited Engagement
You might have heard the common saying “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. In development projects, this situation comes to life when there is no dedicated team leader from the clients team and a group of people try to provide their input. Expecting things to work on auto-pilot will not go far, hence, everyone trying to work with a development company should have a representative with the power to “call the shots”, engage with the product team.
A lot of times, due to other engagements and travel, clients tend to miss the sprint reviews. In that case, clients should appoint another point of contact who can make short term decisions.
An important point to note is that limited or untimely engagement from all the relevant stakeholders within the client’s organization is another cause for project issues. It is a sure way to add time and cost to the project. Hence, the clients should make sure the project scope is reviewed and signed off by all internal stakeholders upfront. Also, If certain milestones require approval by other members on the client’s team, having this done at the right time vs at the end of the project is important to keep with the schedule and budget of the project.
Solving issues and fixing bugs is an essential part of the development process. Clients shouldn’t expect their projects to be ready without a systematic and dedicated time frame for testing, they should know that it is hard to determine upfront the time required for test and bug fix cycles.
Also, one should remember to separate issues/bugs from changes and enhancements. If you didn’t order fries with your burger, don’t be surprised when you receive a burger without fries! The same idea applies here.
Software development is a creative and multilayered process which provides an opportunity to create an impactful/user friendly product. However, each project is unique and different, and you might encounter different challenges with different projects.
If you keep the above mentioned factors in mind, rest assured that you are prepared to bring your ideas to life!