Difficult Software Development Project: Ten Signs

Brett MillerClient Management, RFP, Software Development0 Comments

Talented Software Developers can bring their many years of experience, technical skills and business acumen to any new software development project, but without the full support of a reasonable client they are bound to fail.

Beyond providing requirements and project guidance, clients need to have a realistic set of expectations of what is and is not possible within the scope of the project. Independent Software Developers and Development Companies have the luxury of passing on client’s projects when any scenario or set of expectations seems too far out of line. Unfortunately, this happens all too often.

Here are ten clear signs that a software development project may be difficult, if not impossible, to successfully complete.

  1. No Clearly Defined Project Goals: You have a series of questions that you use to help define software project parameters but they don’t have time to answer them, or don’t know the answers. How committed can they be if they’re unsure of their own project?
  2. Unrealistic Time Constraints: There is an unrealistically short time period for project completion. Pre existing problems and prior delays by the client should not constitute an emergency on the development front. Functioning in “Panic Mode” is a recipe for disaster.
  3. Expectation of Familiarity: They may expect that in a 4 or 5 hour preliminary review of their code and database that you should understand every nuance of their application. Not so!
  4. You Are Expected To Have All the Ideas: “You’re the expert, so you tell me what I need” is not the way to begin a project. Especially if they haven’t answered your list of questions to define the project’s full goals properly.
  5. They Want Way More Than The Budget Allows: It becomes clear from your interviews with the client that they are going to expect much more from the software project than the budget allows. If they want cheaper rather than better … run!
  6. Considering Offshoring the Project: Client may only be shopping price (by considering offshoring) and not be able to understand the value (and challenge) of properly building custom software development.
  7. Unrealistic Contract / Non Disclosure Requests: Concepts like Industry Exclusives, Guarantees of Performance, Offers to Split Equity in Lieu of Pay, Net 30 terms or worse.
  8. No Project Coordinator: Many software projects have multiple “stake holders” who have needs and expectations from the project. They need to assign someone to take the burden off of you, so you can focus on development, not refereeing competing project requirements.
  9. Stringent Attitude and Formalities: Creating high quality software is a delicate art. Adding the pressure of numerous formalities and expectations don’t help achieve success.
  10. Backwards Scheduling: Project completion dates and scheduling are being set exclusively based on convenience rather than by industry accepted schedules of progress.

Avoid Unreasonable Software Development Projects

We have all faced the client disillusionment when that inevitable project glitch raises its ugly head and causes delayed completion or increased costs. Tight deadlines, small budgets, and significant development work can all be contributing factors. This creates that magic “moment” where we admitted (quietly to ourselves) that we shouldn’t have taken the software development project.

The solution is simple. Don’t allow yourself to get into that position in the first place. Yes, these days clients are more demanding than ever, competition is stiff, and good software developments projects seem to be few and far between. Just remember there is one factor that you can always control … whether you agree to do the project in the first place. Stay away from the top ten problems … and never put yourself in a compromised position.

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