Software development is complicated with the use of many technological advancements that require high expertise. Because of that, some elements of uncertainty and setback may occur. They are called risks.
The main goal of bespoke software development is to make a product with as many risks avoided as possible. Today we will share some of those risks — along with tips on how to avoid them.
Organizational risks are the most important to consider since poor project management can easily tank the whole process.
Let’s start with estimation. During the negotiation sales managers, business analysts, and project managers talk with the client on the aspects of the product in order to determine its value, required time and resources. After that, the developers research the most suitable stacks and architecture.
The problem is that estimation and scheduling can be done incorrectly. This might happen because of the unclear specs, poor technology research, unbalanced resource distribution, or disregard of the factors you can’t change. With that may come prolonged development time, customer dissatisfaction, and financial loses. Be sure to have highly qualified staff doing the estimation, draw the experience from previous projects in the field, engage senior developers into the project, carefully analyze the tasks for the future work, consider a phase-based approach for the project.
Next is the growth of requirements. During the project, you might find out that there is more work to do: do some extra research or perform additional tests, which makes it harder for a dedicated development team to meet the deadline. The best way to approach the growth of requirements is to anticipate the worst-case scenario and plan accordingly. Talk to the contractor so that they could take into account the change of deadlines and the amount of work. Determine the additional cost as well.
When working on a project which takes a lot of time, employees might experience productivity issues. At different stages of the project, some developers might take sick leaves, or drop out of the team, which can create inconveniences. So be sure to take that into account when scheduling. Also, work with a contractor who handles employee turnover by themselves.
Unclear specs do not help either. Keep requirements straightforward and as detailed as possible so that developers wouldn’t waste time on trying to make sense of the tasks. If needed, talk to the software development company to clarify the specs.
There are also several inconveniences at the development stage. Keep a sharp eye on those to make the process seamless, time-effective, and worries-free.
Sometimes you may rush to the coding part of the project, skipping the design part. Since the design is a crucial part of the project, this is a waste of programming hours. Nailing down the UI and UX will help to determine the set of features which is the most favorable for users; the placement of buttons which makes the most sense; the color scheme which will encourage users to engage with the app more; which section of the app should be easier to access. In order not to spend hours re-programming and taking out features, try your best to have design wireframes beforehand and test those as the project moves along.
Gold-plating can also negatively affect the project. Some clients might want to implement certain features which are not prioritized — just to make the app a little better, as they think.
Let’s say we have a client with a startup. The client is yet to receive investments, so he wants to build the app to demonstrate it in front of potential investors. With demo features being prioritized, the developers leave out the main feature set of the app. It results in the not finished software with limited set of features. The programmers spend precious working hours on the bells and whistles, and not features which demonstrate what the software is capable of.
Talking about heavy and clunky software, it is always hard to keep the balance between functionality and peak performance. It can be achieved with the help of thorough planning: leave the additional features for further updates, and focus on the most important ones.
Most business software development companies offer solutions built on new technologies since everyone wants the latest and greatest. The reasons are obvious: the software will be easier to support and work with, it will be more resource-efficient, and so on. As for the developers, they also would love to try out the newest technology there is.
But emerging tools, frameworks, protocols, and standards may not always be better. When some new technology comes out, it usually it’s reliability leaves a lot to be desired: the software just isn’t polished and tested enough. Countless errors and bugs of the new framework may impact engineers’ workflow. Apart from that, learning new technology takes time, which is always limited.
Financial planning is crucial to the software development project. Finance distribution takes attention and knowledge. If done correctly, it will help use the budget reasonably and succeed in offering software development services. If not, this may lead to lowering the quality of the resources used. Which in turn results in the product not being as polished, and requiring more money and time for fixing errors and bugs.
With custom software services, every piece of work, be it designing, prototyping, coding, testing, or fixing the software — takes a financial input. So trying to save money on, let’s say, testing may result in the apps new features conflicting with the old ones. When such error occurs, there are two ways to go about it: leave the feature behind, or adapt the app for it. Taking the feature out means all time and money spent on building it are wasted, adapting the app will require even more resources — which are obviously not limitless.
There are some risks that can’t be controlled from within the company, like trends or lack of developers’ feedback.
Trends change all the time. Not only technologies come and go, but specific types of software do as well. So the situation might be that the software becomes irrelevant and loses it’s demand because another type of solution appeared on the market. It all might happen when the software is still in development, which renders all the work useless.
There best way to avoid the problem is thorough business planning. Highly experienced professionals will be able to anticipate market changes and offer ways to adapt the project to changes.
Developers feedback is the backbone of the whole project. During the process of development and testing the software they come to learn it inside and out. With no feedback from developers, you won’t be able to understand the challenges of the project and figure out the ways to overcome those.
To solve the problem, have the contracting developers give as detailed feedback as possible on the occurring challenges along with the solutions.
Everything is doable if you put enough preparation and knowledge into it. To be sure that the project will go as planned, stay in the loop: have qualified staff do the estimation, taking into account worst-case scenarios. Set realistic schedules for developers, check if they set the correct priorities. Anticipating trends is also important.
Try to have skilled developers in your contractors’ team, who are up to date with current tech and know exactly which solutions are the most suitable for a particular project. A skilled specialist is also able to tell whether the latest and greatest tech is worth implementing.
Keep your finances straight. Remember that you can end up spending more if you try to save money.