Facts Chart: Why Do Software Project Fail?
Why Do Software Project Fail?
Poor Requirement Definition
Common software development requirements problems include incomplete or inaccurate requirements, poorly managed requirements change and missed requirements. The inability to identify all the impacts and notify anyone impacted by a change leads to poor change management. A poorly executed change means wasted efforts, outdated information and design conflict. This drives up cost and creates project delay.
Poor Scope Definition
A scope statement that is not clear, too general, or not measurable is of little use to the stakeholders.
Avoiding the 5 mistakes below can help ensure you have a well-defined and clear project scope.
- Rushing the project planning process.
- Using vague language and terms in the project scope statement.
- Not including the types of deliverables that are “in scope” and “out of scope”.
- Not including procedures for how completed work will be verified and approved.
- Omitting guidelines for handling project change requests that alter the scope.
It seems so innocent at first. A simple customer request to add an item here, a brilliant idea to expand a service there, and before you know it, your project scope has outgrown and your team is over-extended. Scope creep happens when either
- the parameters of the project were not well-defined from the outset or
- there’s pressure either internally from the team or externally from customers or bosses to take on tasks that were not part of the original project plan.
How to prevent it:
The problem with scope creep is that it often contributes to project failure. You haven’t budgeted the time or resources necessary to complete the extra tasks, so what might have been a smashing success ends up a frustrating failure.
Inadequate Risk Management
Unforeseen risks can significantly slow down a project because it takes time to understand them, analyse them and prepare management plans to monitor, act on and track them. Delays can also happen when risk management activities take longer than you expected and they push out other activities on the project schedule.M
Risk management failures can be caused by the use of improper risk metrics, which induces inaccurate measurements. A practical example is weather forecasting. The most common risk metrics in modern risk management is “Value at Risk” (VaR).
It should go without saying, but communication in project management is the key. The tools your team uses to communicate should be explained and implemented from the outset of your project.
Causes of Communication Gap:
- Lapse in Concentration
- Lack of Clarity
- Knowledge Gap
- Relevancy Gap / Wrong Assumptions
- Different Communication Styles
- Language Barriers
- Technology Issues
Lack of Qualified Resources
Lack of resources usually means lack of time, people and/or monney.
Here are 7 simple ways to address the qualified resources shortage
- Train existing employees
- Adaptability - apply workforce skills in a different way
- Re-evaluate your recruiting practices
- Standardise your products and processes
- Partner with nearby educational facilities
- Use contingent workers
- Bring in the experts
Wrong Project Objectives
The objective is the target—the tangible end product that the project team must deliver. The objective must be clear, attainable, specific and measurable. If the objective is not clearly written the end product may not meet the needs of the customer.
Example of a project objective: Add five new ways for customers to find the feedback form in-product within the next two months.
What is Gold Plating? Gold plating happens when the
Project managers who add gold plating to a project often hope to make the client happier with the project overall, but it may not always be worth the time, cost and effort. project team adds extra features that were not part of the original scope, usually as “freebies” for the client. Possible causes include: Going above and beyond: the project team thinks it will make the client happy.
Developer gold plating: New technologies come with the promise of new features, better quality products, easy-to-write syntax and better performance. Developers are fascinated by them and are sometimes anxious to try them out. The effort required to design, implement, test, document, and support features that are not required lengthens the schedule and those new characteristics are not really necessary for the product.
Technology Related Mistakes / Silver Bullet Syndrome
System development mistakes arising from overestimating savings from new tools or methods or the silver bullet syndrome.
Silver bullet syndrome: A problem occuring when developers believe a new and usually untried technology is all that is needed to cure the ills ofany development project
Expecting A ‘Silver Bullet’: Too often, enthusiasm arises from the false belief that a proverbial “silver bullet” will solve a given problem. However, proper solutions are rarely so simple—they are a blend of methodology, strategy and team support, not the result of a single action, technology or idea. Tech leaders should encourage open communication and leverage participatory group decision-making to solve challenges.
Process Related Mistakes
System development mistakes arising from insufficient planning, overly optimistic schedules, or planning to catch up later.
- Overly optimistic schedules.
- Insufficient risk management (including assumptions).
- Tools switching in the middle of a project
- Wasted time during the fuzzy front end.
- Shortchanged upstream activities.
- Inadequate design (ie. prototyping).
- Skipping the testing part of the product.
- Eliminating necessary tasks
- Adding people to a late project.
- Friction between developers and customers.
Remote Team Burnout
Remote working used to be considered a choice for some, allowing employees the flexibility and autonomy to choose to work from home some days and in the office other days; that was pre-pandemic.
Working In A Silo
The biggest reason software projects fail is because teams embark on a journey to build something that is either not a business need or does not address the right problem. Both reasons are a result of misalignment between the business and tech. To avoid this, it’s crucial to identify the problem the business is trying to solve and then work collectively with the business and not in a silo.
Inexperienced Project Manager
An inexperienced Project Manager simply doesn't have the background or context needed to manage them as they arise
Here are mistakes of inexperienced Project Manager
- Too Much Detail
- Pretending to Know More than You Actually Do
- Preparing an Ambitious Schedule
- Overreliance on Repeatable Processes
- Gold-plating the Deliverables
- Ramping up team so fast (Tuckman Ladder)
Wrote by Pham Dinh Truong (Henry), Software Architect, TIGO Solutions.
CEO at TIGO Solutions
Henry Pham is the founder and CEO of TIGO SOLUTIONS. After 20 years of working in the IT industry, he founded it for the contribution back to the community. In addition to providing cost-effective outsourcing solutions to clients worldwide, TIGO SOLUTIONS recruit at the top of their market, providing cutting-edge software development services to partners located across the world through a unique, integrated resource model.