Why Software Development Projects Fail!

SGH News


As much as we love to work with new Clients from around the world developing exciting and transformational application solutions for them, sadly more often than not, the road that led them to us was paved with failed software development projects.

In fact, a study by the Project Management Institute (PMI) found that 14% of all software development projects implemented were ultimately deemed as outright failures having never gone live. Translating these failures into money flushed down the drain, companies wasted an average of $97 million for every $1 billion spent. Even more worryingly, many companies are living (or coping) with software applications that simply don’t fulfil the requirements that they were designed for, with up to 80% of IT executives stating that these projects were doomed to fail from the very start. Why is it then, that development teams continue to struggle to meet the business expectations for their software projects?

While there are obviously many components required to ensure a successful software development project, it is the importance of the first step that can never be underestimated – understanding the specific needs of the business. Project specifications must be laid out in the early stages of planning, however many managers and executives are not clear on the scope of the project to begin with, thereby leaving developers unsure of what features are required. During this planning phase, common challenges experienced by technical teams include:

* The involvement of business units in the requirements analysis phase (and all through the system development lifecycle) is inconsistent and not systematic.

* The business stakeholders are not involved or engaged in the requirements process resulting in the various business units being out of sync with the project requirements .

* The requirements definition processes actually do not reflect the specific needs of the business.

This lack of planning and rush to start coding, results in developers having to spend 80% of their time performing rework (rewriting code) as requirements constantly change causing project delays, budget blow-outs, and disagreements over exactly when or even if a project has been completed.

What becomes obvious in these scenarios, is that the single most contributing factor to the success of a software development project is to have a business-centric approach to understanding requirements. Start by understanding the specific needs of the business first and then work backwards to precisely map the features, functionality, and architecture of the software to fulfil these needs accordingly. With so many projects failing, you won’t do yourself any good rushing into development, so be sure to determine your project scope and assign competent business unit and technical team leadership to achieve the desired results.