The most common challenges in custom software development projects. And how to avoid them.
What are some of the most common challenges in custom software development projects. Custom software development projects are by their very nature complex. After all, making people, processes, and technologies work together efficiently is no easy task, even more so when you’re building something from scratch.
For many years we’ve helped organizations, big and small, successfully develop bespoke software solutions, and during this time, we’ve identified a couple of areas that, in our opinion, have the potential to make or break a project. Having a firm grip on them is by no means a silver bullet, but it can significantly reduce the risk of spending time and money on a failed or ineffective software solution.
Unclear product vision
The main purpose of any software solution is to provide value for the business. For this to happen, a company needs to have a clear vision of what they want. And you do this by working together with your software developer to translate your needs into a clear set of functionalities.
This particular period of discussions and requirements gathering may not seem as exciting or important as the actual software development and implementation process, but it is. Don’t expect this to be over in a couple of short meetings.
Sometimes you might not know exactly what capabilities you need in your software; other times, you might want too many features. No matter which of these situations you find yourself in, the more time you spend gathering requirements, the less vague your product vision will be, and the higher the chances that you will end up with an efficient software solution.
A great piece of software is not just the result of technical expertise but also good communication within a project. So, make sure you pay attention from the onset to how information and feedback will be exchanged.
To be more specific, have a single point of contact. Delegate someone from your company to serve in this role, or if you can’t afford to spare someone, talk with your software development partner to provide you with such a person. And then make sure that all communication between you and the supplier goes through them. This process fosters accountability, ensures that information isn’t lost, and provides a clear process regarding how communication should be done.
Sometimes, out of a desire to make things go quicker or make sure everybody is on board, companies fail to do this, and as a result, you end up with several communication flows, which can harm how the project is progressing. And this can lead to requirements that cancel each other out, conflicting deadlines, delays, and more.
Too many changes
Changing your mind concerning particular requirements you might have about a software solution is not necessarily a problem. After all, given the speed of change in any industry, it’s expected. However, the challenge is not understanding that changing some of your requirements can impact the budget and deadlines of your project.
Sometimes it’s just changing a couple of lines of code. But other times, a new requirement might need significant changes in the code or additional resources such as hardware or programming expertise.
Imagine your software like a car being built. Some requirements can be as easy as changing the color of your dashboard; others might be the equivalent of swapping the diesel engine for an electric one.
When it comes to budgetary issues, you need to keep in mind a couple of things.
The first one is that it’s difficult to judge the overall cost of a bespoke software solution. Difficult but not impossible. Make sure that you ask your software development provider to come up with a Business Requirement Document. This document brings together every feature, functionality, and complete user flow of your software and any initially discussed features and then scrapped. Based on this, they can come up with a cost estimate.
The second aspect is to put together a budget for the entire project and not just have a development period in mind. That way, you can compare it with the budget estimation in the Business Requirement Document and not risk running out of money before the software development project is over.
Where to go from here?
Like we’ve said before, bespoke software development projects are complex. And there will always be challenges in custom software development projects.
But with the right partner things needn’t be that hard. Here at QTeam Software Solutions we’ve developed numerous solutions for both small and medium enterprises as well as large corporations. And we can help you put your ideas into software. Get in touch with us by clicking the button below.