Rock Your Software Project by Avoiding These 3 Common Mistakes

Thursday, October 18, 2018

There are a lot of not-so-great statistics floating around about software development projects. Although the exact numbers seem to differ depending on the source of the research, the overall success rate is worrying. Somewhere between 25% and 40% of IT projects fail outright, and many (a lot) run over budget and do not finish on time.

Maybe you’re shocked by those statistics or have struggled with your IT projects completing on time and on budget. Don’t be discouraged, we have good news!

At BlueEarth Innovation, we tailor our process to help you avoid becoming a bad statistic. 

A lot of research has been done on why IT projects fail (and there are many, many reasons) but today we are going to talk about three common mistakes we see clients make during the software development project process.

1) Not including important stakeholders early enough

Stakeholders are the individuals who have a vested interest in your software project and usually are either actively involved in the project or have something to gain or lose from it. Stakeholders can be executive management, customers, the project team you have in place, and anyone who holds the resources you need to complete your project.

We have seen projects appear to meet the deadline and budget only to have an employee at our client’s company take a look at the site we’re ready to launch and say, “Hey, wait a minute guys, you didn’t do this right. Where is the abc feature? I won’t be able to xyz…”  Don’t worry, we swooped in and saved the day, but the launch did have to move and the budget was increased. Each time I have seen this happen, it has been so easy to avoid. 

The bottom line is this: Make sure you have identified all of the stakeholders in the project and allow their valuable input into the project early and often. We have all heard cautionary tales about “too many cooks in the kitchen”. There is no need to get everyone’s input on each feature. Just be sure that the folks who do the function that is being supplemented or replaced by the app gets to weigh in. Often they are the true experts in how to get things done.

2) Overbuilding the App

Another mistake we see clients make frequently is packing the app with all the features they can possibly think of that might get used. What typically happens in this scenario, is that about 20% of the features actually get used by the app’s customers, and the other 80% are rarely, if ever, used. It’s just a big waste of time and money.

Our advice is to start as small as possible with the project by deciding on the handful of features that will provide the most value to your customers. Get the app into people’s hands quickly, and get feedback from your targeted users. Once feedback is received, you can iterate rapidly to deliver valuable features to your users. In general, it’s a good idea to use about half of your budget on the first release, and use it as a starting point rather than a final produc

Now on to our third mistake we see clients make frequently:

3) Choosing a developer based on price

Just in case you skimmed over that, let us repeat: Do not choose a development company based on price. You need a great product, not a cheap one! We have seen too many companies choose the lowest cost option and run into so many issues that it’s necessary to restart the project (or redo the project) with a different developer because it didn’t turn out as expected. What started as the lowest cost option turns out to be a really expensive option when you have to redo the project!

The right development partner is one you can build a relationship with; one who can add value in more ways than just development. The right partner is interested in your business, not just the development piece. The right software development partner can help you meet and exceed your business objectives, and offer additional guidance in the future.

At BlueEarth Innovation, we pride ourselves on our relationships with our clients; we value the ongoing partnerships with our clients. It’s part of our core values and why we do what we do. If you are in need of some advice on a new software project, or just need to chat with someone about projects you are considering, give us a ring! We love meeting new people and taking on new challenges!