New software projects often start out with high hopes, which can make it difficult to accept when things are not going as well as you might want. There are potential pitfalls specific to software projects and the project manager should be aware of these in order to avoid issues with budgets and timescales.
So how can you avoid project failure?
Table of Contents
Understand the requirements of the business
One of the biggest reasons for software project failure occur when there is a lack of understanding regarding the needs of the business. It is vital for the requirements of the project to be clearly explained. Using a project manager with plenty of experience can be one of the best ways to ensure that all of the relevant questions are asked in order to make sure every requirement of the software project is met. This is something that you will learn through experience rather than as a result of project management certification.
Make sure you understand your priorities
One of the most common reasons for failure in a software project occurs when all of the parties involved are not clearly aligned when it comes to deciding the main priorities of the project. It can be a good idea to divide them into the “must-haves,” “should-haves,” and the “could-haves.”
Not giving appropriate consideration to the end customer
All too often, the developers of a software project can produce a great idea, implement it on time and deliver it only to discover too late that whilst the software solves a problem it isn’t the one the customer wanted to solve. It is important to get a really good understanding of your customer and exactly what it is that they need in order to avoid these types of mistakes.
Requirements are not clear
If you are not sure what the requirements of the project are or some of them are a little confusing, then ask questions. It may be that the customer only has a vague idea of what it is that they actually want, and this can make it hard for you to move the project forward. Ask the client to give you a detailed vision of what they see the product doing; this will help you to ensure that you are getting it right. Use your project management skills to help the client see what they need the product to do.
Pay attention to your soft skills
We tend to hear soft skills mentioned quite a lot and with very good reason; they are incredibly important. Whilst it true that technical skills will be important on your software project if you want to ensure that it has all of the technical detail that your customer expects, and that project management skills will play a huge part in helping to ensure success, you must pay attention to your soft skills. This means that you should be thinking about the communication within the team, the way in which you build the team and ensuring that where training is needed it is given. All of these are vital points that will help your project reach a successful conclusion.