7 Software Development Risks That Are Easy To Avoid
The best thing about software is its capacity and flexibility: it can be programmed to do almost anything. Nevertheless, that same flexibility is its weak side – that same “almost anything” perk raises questions about planning, tracking and software development control. In the previous decade, quality assurance for software products has become more complex and demanding than ever, while software development risks are at an all-time high.
This unpredictability is the basis of what experts dubbed the software crisis. Numerous studies carried out in the 90s have shown that the success rate of software projects was very low. They came to the following conclusion:
- Software development is highly unpredictable; only around 30% of software development projects are successfully delivered on time
- Project management is not a technological edge anymore, but a make-or-break aspect of development risks
- Degree of re-programming of a software project indicates an immature development process
These research studies were a great introduction into looking at the issue of software development risks. They help to form the norm of risk management in the industry. As a result, we’re now aware of the most common development risks, but we also know how to avoid them:
1. Low Productivity
Just like in all other industries, the human factor is a carrier of risk in terms of productivity. In other words, project managers are likely to overestimate the productivity of developers, which can result in incorrect estimates, deadlines and budgets. This is especially evident if you have on-boarded a new project manager who doesn’t have experience working with that particular team yet.
To tackle this issue, it’s better to underestimate the productivity of your developers and end up delivering before the deadline than to overestimate. Compare with some of the stats and insights you have from previous projects to predict likely productivity of your developers on a new project.
2. Obsoletion Risks
Some of the best, most groundbreaking software projects from the 90s are completely obsolete today. Even software projects that have been developed a couple of years ago are not used anymore due to market conditions: competition, pricing, reputation… Some are even banned or limited by government policy. In any case, there are risks of software becoming obsolete for any of these reasons.
The industry is changing more rapidly than any other and the market is very complex. It’s very hard to manage this risk, but the closest way of doing so successfully is to think of a long-term strategy with all variables considered.
3. Wrong Estimates
Individual projects for software development which are being looked at for the first time have unique settings and features. This means that project managers will be able to make a rough estimate of the time and budget necessary to get it done, but usually not precisely.
Melanie Sovann, a writer at Studicus says: “Estimation is a dangerous game in software development. Both underestimating and overestimating the amount of time and money it will take to finish a project are risky. Companies try to tackle this by working with experienced, realistic project managers. ”
4. Unclear Expectations and Specifications
In the beginning stages of programming the software, your developers might tell you that the expectations and requirements of the project are not clear. In some cases, different developers might find that some of the specifications are conflicting. To resolve this, you can produce your own documentation that will present the exact requirements in a clear and unambiguous way. You can hire software documentation writers at TrustMyPaper (a writing service where you can hire experts in any industry or field).
5. Issues Cropping Up Mid-Project
Any developer will tell you that it’s completely normal and common that a development project comes across errors and issues that increase the requirements. In projects that are already complex and challenging in and of themselves, this can mean real trouble for meeting deadlines. To avoid this, think of the worst-case scenario as you’re coming up with your estimates for deadlines.
6. Staffing Risks
When you’re developing a software project and working with the same team of developers, that’s the perfect scenario. In reality, some developers will likely leave or new ones will be added to the team, especially if the project spans over a period of years. This unfortunate event can severely derail your project, especially if a person crucial to the development decided to leave. To make sure your project doesn’t fall apart if staff members leave, make sure all team members are familiar with other aspects of the project. Set up a knowledge hub where they can share resources and information about the project.
7. Rushing to the Finish Line
Behind the scenes, clients are usually not aware of what’s going on – and that’s also something they wouldn’t want to know, actually. In the final stages of the project, when the deadline is approaching, parts of the project that are still unfinished can be rushed to get to the finish line. Unfortunately, this is most often the design aspect of the project. This is a development risk in the sense that the client might not be satisfied with the work and ask for re-work. This, in turn, will put an additional strain on your budget and work hours. The worst-case scenario, on the other hand, is that this rushing affects the software’s functionality.
Looking at development risks has to be holistic and strategic. Before taking on and starting any new software development projects, it’s important that you discuss this with your team and frame your expectations correctly.
Some of the biggest risks in software development are related to staff members and developers. So, having a healthy company culture where teamwork and innovation are nurtured will also decrease your development risks.
Nicole Garrison is a professional content creator at SupremeDissertations specializing in academic writing. She’s especially interested in the fields of business, entrepreneurship and marketing. Nicole is also an avid runner, currently training for the half-marathon in her city.