Development teams always face various challenges when trying to meet up with the delivery time. This is inevitable. As a consequence, project timelines can significantly be affected, resulting in software project delays.
Do project owners always wonder what the problem is? Of course, they do. The root cause may be unforeseen circumstances, but in most cases, these problems are issues they can avoid.
A project should remain in the means of its expected duration and budget plans. Thus, it should involve adequate preparation and management. Considering these, project owners can save money, time, and still hit their goals.
Let’s review the most prominent challenges that result in software project delays and what you could do as a project owner to avoid them. Apparently, with this list of important factors that cause delays, you can resolve the problems faster, keep on with the project and deliver on time.
Poor Requirements Definition or Sudden Change in Specification
“Clarity of vision is the key to achieving your objectives.”
— Tom Steyer
A project can not be well planned without full specifications or requirements. Therefore, it’s your duty as a project owner to sleep on the requirements and ensure that it tallies with your project vision without ambiguity, omission, or the possibility of frequent future changes. Consequently, if your requirements are misunderstood or have a missing part, it can affect the timing of the project or cause it to fail.
Poor project requirements or changes in specifications call for clarity from the project owner, this in return results in loss of time. However, if the need for clarification arises, encourage the development team to fizzle out all ambiguity with you. Furthermore, your clarification will stop the software developers from second-guessing your intentions.
Expressing clarity will save you from unnecessary software project delays and having to re-do the errors from misunderstanding.
Insufficient Time and Efforts in Planning
“If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 hours sharpening my ax.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. This saying applies to the planning stage of any software development project. No doubts that planning requires expertise and lots of experience in development and non-development tasks.
You can call it the art of getting ready. For example, your designs and other vital instruments should be set and handy before coding starts.
You have to specifically consider the allocation of resources for numerous tasks involved in your IT projects such as coding, environment set-up, and testing. Create adequate time to plan and don’t start your project until the strategy is complete. Lastly, don’t dive into a project without a solid roadmap for it, and never ignore the smallest details as they can result in spending more time.
Over Optimistic Time Estimates
“Promise little, but deliver much.”
Sometimes developers provide unrealistic estimates for projects. Unfortunately, they believe that they can complete a project sooner than it should take. The reason can be a genuine estimation error, overconfidence, or being too optimistic. The results are work pressure, a decline in efficiency, and errors, which cause the extension of project time.
On the other hand, project owners don’t scrutinize the estimated time proposed for projects. In most cases, eagerness and passion are responsible for this. You dream of a product release, and you want it as soon as possible. At the same time, you want a good software at a good rate and in the shortest interval of time.
Your project managers should make provision for unpredictable situations along the way when estimating time for a project. Collectively, it must cover all the stages of production including testing and deployment to ensure perfect delivery on time.
Losing Key Development Team Members or Having Work Overload
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
— Richard Branson
The IT world is very dynamic, and developers have their professional interests changing so fast like moods. Developers switch jobs frequently, just like in any other field of daily businesses. Therefore, anticipate that at least one or more members of the development team will quit for another job before your software project ends.
The loss of a team member has more gravity and effect, especially if the person is a key player in your project. The result may lead to a delay in an ongoing project.
As a counter move, you need to replace the absence of such a team member with someone that has matching skills to cover the void. As an alternative, the solution is to split the task between other members. The disadvantage here is that it could result in work overflow, especially if such a team has other projects hanging on them.
According to experience, the only way to avoid this pitfall for you as a product owner is to previously ask your team of developers, or software vendor: What are the back-up plans if a worker exits the team while the project is still on? What happens in the case of work overload?
Competence demands that there should be partners or contractors that can help to cover up for important absentees in a small team. As for big teams, they can easily adjust to the loss of a team member because of their size.
Making Decisions and Giving Approvals
“Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than with assigning blame. Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.”
— Ralph Marston
As a project owner, you call the shots. For this reason, waiting for you for too long to give the green light can cause software project delays. In order to avoid this, you have to keep your ear to the ground until your project ends.
So many requests for approval will arise for simple and paramount decisions, and your voice will be needed. Therefore, missing the party will lead to a delay in the project as the team can’t act contrary to your wishes.
The way out is to pace up with your project and the development team. You also need to maintain close tabs and very good correspondence with your development team without delays. Have it in mind that you have to be there for them when they need you, especially for approvals, or decisive situations.
Your availability will surely keep the project running non-stop. However, if you are a busy person, delegate a stakeholder from your side of the project that has a like mind to bridge the gap for you.
Bottlenecks with Third-Party Integrations
“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”
— Michelle Obama
Technology also has its gridlocks; a glitch can come up when integrating with third parties. Be in the know that, when building custom software, integration can be challenging, even if you use frequently adopted technologies.
Having this in mind, you need to prepare well, especially when working with very old or very new third-party tools. Inappropriate use of technologies, poor interfacing with hardware or operating systems can consequently be the reasons for a hitch.
Solutions can be born, and everything can be resolved after some guessing, troubleshooting, experimenting, and researching for solutions. Nonetheless, there is still a loss since nobody can control how time flies in solving problems. And as they say, time is money.
If and when such bottlenecks with third-party integrations happen: How do I get out of the maze you may wonder? In this case, you need well-experienced system analysts and project managers that know their salt. You can also consult the software development team to know about the possible risks with your choice of technologies.
The reason is that they will see and mark out the precariousness around the technologies you choose to work with. Moreover, they will be able to highlight the risk factors easily or simply budget enough time to make up for integration challenges.
Negligence in Quality Assessment
“Success produces confidence; confidence relaxes industry, and negligence ruins the reputation which accuracy had raised.”
— Ben Jonson
Pressure for more time may drive a development team to shelve or postpone software reviews and testing trying to buy time. As an effect, this causes the late discovery of bugs and more time loss fixing them.
Make the project to go through a frequent and rigorous cycle of tests, quality assurance, and reviews. There are special software development methodologies that cater to this.
Don’t wait till the tail end of your project before you make tests and reviews. By professional standards and practices, the usual approach for QA and software review is to do them every two weeks.
This will help you call your team to order when they are losing focus of the project or if they are some errors that may cause some delay. Hence, keep track of the project to know what’s going on. This will help to avoid unnecessary waving and time loss.
The Gold Plating Phenomenon
“Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.”
— Edna Ferber
In regards to time and project management, the phenomenon of gold plating is sloping a project into diminishing returns. In the context of IT, project delay by gold plating is a phenomenon in which designers and developers elaborate on the details of the project too much and way beyond the original scope.
The issue here is that a lot of time is wasted trying to improve the project details, even though the standard requirements of the owner have been met. In some cases, the delay of a project can be from a project manager. This is because PMs sometimes think the project will be more appreciated if additional features can be added to what was initially agreed upon.
Note that adding more details is not bad if it is well planned. The determiners here are factors like the risks to initial planning, additional testing, more documentation, and costs. Collectively, all these must be considered, or else the result could be a failed project or delay in its delivery.
Research and Development Project
“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”
— Albert Einstein
Research and development are projects that are innovations, and the work processes are by studying and using new technologies and methodologies. In this scope, it involves developing new IT products or improving existing services and solutions.
The types of projects that involve research before development are challenging to manage. It is beyond doubt that there will be a high level of unpredictability in the result and the time frame of such a project. Having said that, it is hard to tell when and what the results will be while you are still at it.
The Incompetence of the Team or Some of its Members
“Luck is always the last refuge of laziness and incompetence.”
— James Cash Penney
This factor is not just about the developers; it also involves the project managers and business analysts. Consider that good project management and business analysis are essential to evaluate, coordinate, estimate, and control the project until it is successfully delivered. Competence is very important, as it is the fulcrum of the other factors highlighted previously.
Your project development team and all its members must be well qualified and experienced for your task. Otherwise, there will be a time delay in completion and delivery. As a precaution, individuals in the team must be technically sound and accountable to complete your project successfully without setbacks.
Breach of Contract
“Every right implies a responsibility; Every opportunity, an obligation, Every possession, a duty.”
— John D. Rockefeller
This is a two-way street that both you as a project owner and your development team must follow, especially if you are working with a software development vendor. It is essential that you and the contracted team put in all your efforts to stay loyal to your commitments.
Disputes happen sometimes when project owners forget they are expected to make a considerable contribution to the realization of their projects. For instance, if you don’t honor all the terms of your agreement on time and fully, then your project can end up on hold and further delay while you are trying to resolve the conflict. The situation is not always easy, even if you are right and you engage in a lawsuit, the litigation process takes a while and costs money.
Finally, you might get some compensations for whatever form of loss you suffered, but nothing can retrieve time lost. Therefore, it is highly advisable that you should only contract your projects to reputable vendors that will honor their words and commit to their obligations.
Doing Away with Software Project Delays and Setbacks
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Software project delays results in time loss and sometimes more financial cost irrespective of the reason. However, elaborate planning, excellent project and client management will pave the way for your timely and successful project delivery.
To avoid setbacks, endeavor to highlight all the business requirements. Create an achievable project vision and follow your plans to the end. Never forget that it is important to consider all circumstances that can result in software project delays. In conclusion, emphasize on frequent and open communications and ensure that there is a speedy response to messages between you and your project team.
Velvetech has always been a pacesetter in software production by applying the most effective development strategies and methodologies. Contact us today and kick-start your project with capable project managers and a team of developers with resonating skills and experience.