Unfortunately, failed development projects seem to be more frequent than successful ones.
The stats don’t lie:
- 75% of business and IT executives anticipate their software projects will fail
- Annually, fewer than 1/3 of all projects are successfully completed on time and on budget
- 33% of projects fail due to a lack of involvement from senior management
- There are more than 21 million professional software developers around the world
When you compile the monsoon of failed projects, there are some pretty compelling results - it seems like there are a standard set of red flags that indicate your development project is doomed from the start.
Here are 5 signs that your project is going to fail:
THERE IS INEFFECTIVE, INAUTHENTIC COMMUNICATION - BOTH INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY
Poor communication practices can completely derail any project. There need to be standards, expectations, and requirements for genuine, transparent, timely, and honest communication between clients and staff, but it’s equally as important that colleagues and team members do the same.
THERE IS AN ORGANIZATIONAL RESISTANCE TO CHANGE
It’s difficult to expect people to embrace change, but it’s a reality if your organization is going to be successful. If there is a cultural resistance to change, it’s going to become extremely difficult for the team as a whole to improve, adopt new technologies and programs, and forge ahead into the future. If you want to be successful in today’s business landscape, and this extends far beyond project management, your people have simply got to resist the urge to resist change.
THERE WAS NO PROJECT TIMELINE CREATED
If you want people to follow a plan, you’ve got to create one for them to follow. Diving into a project without taking the appropriate steps to create an action plan makes it impossible to measure success, track progress, and identify potential problem areas. There should be regular project status meetings worked into the plan, to ensure everyone is held accountable and on the same page.
YOU DIDN’T FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CLIENT WANTED
This one is huge, and it basically guarantees project failure. If you want to deliver the ideal outcome for your client, there is a process you need to follow before the project can begin. In order to give the client a realistic timeline and budget, you need to deeply understand what their project expectations are. You need to understand every detail and every step required to get from A to Z. The best way to accomplish this is to take your time during the first phases of the project and resist the urge to start before every single detail and step is ironed out and agreed upon.
YOU HAVEN’T INVESTED ENOUGH TIME OR MONEY INTO YOUR TEAM
Every development project is going to be slightly different, so it’s essential that you understand what each team member is capable of and you want to get clear on where each person is best utilized. Not knowing each person’s strengths and weaknesses can result in the wrong people being assigned to a specific project, which can become a total disaster. You want to empower your team members by allowing them to play to their strengths and help them to develop new skills through ongoing training and education. Sometimes, you may find that your existing team isn’t suited for a particular project, in which case you may want to consider outsourcing to a specialized software development agency. The most important aspect here is that you know your team, and ensure you’re aligning projects with the right people.
Next time you’re diving into a new project, remember this list so you can avoid the oh-so-common pitfalls and have a much better chance at a successful project!