Friday, 23 November 2018

Reasons Why Most Custom Software Development Projects Fail Before Completion

Well, whenever there is a talk of reasons for things to happen the way they do you can be guaranteed 99% of the time the reasons will be backed by some fun numbers. Same applies to our case here, and therefore, let’s check a few statistics:

  • According to medium, 75% of business bosses, together with their IT team think their software project’s failure is inevitable.
  • Less than a third of all projects tasted success
  • Lack of senior management participation has led to 33% of projects to fail.
  • As per 2016, the number of professional software development around the world was projected to be 21 million.

From the above numbers, it’s clear, but sadly, that software development industry loves to fail, and today we will try, hopeful successfully, to find out what are the reasons for this.

 Reasons Why Most Custom Software Development Projects Fail Before Completion

After a little detective work, here is what we found.

1. Ineffective communication 

The reasons for effective communication in any workplace are so many. First, it promotes an environment that is healthy for employees enabling them to work competently. Effective communication also helps to create a solid relationship between clients and stakeholders.

The major problem with the internal form of communication is that employees find it hard to be open with each other while working as a team in a particular project. This is due to the fact that every member of the team wants to finish on time, at the same time avoiding having to deal with many problems as much as possible. Because of this, the problem is not properly dealt with when it occurs until it is too late. This hugely jeopardizes the chances of project success.

Another way on how poor communication threatens the success of any given project is that management usually tends to not be more transparent with the client. They will say everything is okay just to avoid client becoming suspicious. In the event of a problem, the failure luggage rests squarely on the client’s shoulder.

To boost the chances of your project success, you will have to create a communication channel that benefits both sides.

2. Resistance to change 

There is no big surprise here, resistance to change the nature of human beings, and being a good project manager means that you are resisting the resistance to change.

Luckily, there are many project management tools you can use to make the whole process easier and effective. Despite this many project managers will still not be open to using these tools due to resistance to change.

There are plenty of suitable methodologies that managers can employ to smoothen the development process, example, Agile, Waterfall, Lean development etc. but still they are not eager to use them.

Being open to change can positively impact the quality of your project in the long-run.

3. Ignoring regular project reviews

The scope and requirements of the project need to be updated more often. To avoid some not so good results, consider regularly measuring your progress versus your initial project plan. Stop guessing and estimating your progress instead, do the donkey work and mine the relevant data that will help you precisely measure your progress.

Setting up a progress meeting is a sure way of getting the overall picture of the development progress.

4. Vague requirements

To avoid your project hitting a snag on the way, go through the complete planning exercise with your development team before beginning the process of custom software development. Conveying out your needs in a clear manner will assist your client to engineer the best solutions for your problems.
Understanding what the project requirements are will help to drive the entire process towards success because the results will surely meet the client’s expectations.

5. Impractical expectations 

Setting up unrealistic expectations is very common. When your client give you unrealistic expectations don’t be afraid to shoot them down in the name of not wanting to disappoint them. Agreeing with them will set for a bad confrontation when the project will be delayed.

Avoid committing to a completion date before you understand clearly what the client needs and what the project requirements are.

6. Lack of a good project manager

A project manager is needed to provide direction to the team. To have a quality end product that meets the client's requirements, a team need a strong project manager to guide them.

Some qualities to look for in a good project manager include being able to monitor, control, estimate and set everything on the course from the beginning to the end.

To have an effective linkage between the client and the development team, appoint a good project manager, as he or she will also help keep every stakeholder on the same page.

7. Lack of work purpose

Start with understanding the problem you want the custom software to solve. Relating your problems to the project help to increase the chances of success. An efficient and happy team is a team who believes in the work they are doing.

8. Lack of significant investment in your team

While dealing with a team, it is vital to first define each member’s strength and weaknesses. To have a great chance of succeeding, consider motivating your team to work within their strengths.

Listen to the dissenting voices among the team members to avoid frictions at work.

One way of getting the best out of your team is by pieces of training. Introducing courses and meetings plays a great role in fostering relationships among team members.

9. Over-promising 

As much as we talked about effective communication, it will be impossible to have one if there is no trust. Over-promising leads to under-delivering which leads to broken commitments that lead to damaged trust.

Instead, try to under-promise and over-deliver.


These pitfalls are common to anyone who has ever got involved in custom software development. The good thing is that they are all avoidable. As we saw in points above, embracing changes, investing in your team and having a good project manager is one of the many ways of avoiding these pitfalls.

Author Bio: Umar Bajwa is a young business enthusiast and content coordinator at AppModo loves to write about Mobile Apps, Technology, Health, and Life Style & Digital Marketing

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