Home Thinking Aloud How Software Developers Can Be Set Up For Failure

How Software Developers Can Be Set Up For Failure


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by Reed Gusmus, director of marketing at QASymphony

The outright and abject failure of a software development project is a surprisingly common occurrence, and the reasons for a specific project’s failure tend to revolve around three easily avoidable mistakes. Since failure ought to be viewed as an entirely unacceptable outcome, it is essential that software development professionals recognize the most common issues that ultimately lead to the complete demise of a project that once held a great deal of promise.

Obviously, the ability to recognize the following issues before they adversely affect the project will greatly increase the likelihood of a project succeeding. Abiding by industry best practices and utilizing the most ideal tools and strategies available to software developers will go a long way toward ensuring the delivery of exceptional software, but it is equally essential for everyone involved in software development to become familiar with the both the correct and incorrect way to develop software.

Unreasonable Time Restrictions and Budgetary Limitations.

Setting unreasonable expectations right from the start of the project is one of the most common reasons a software development project ends up failing. These expectations are typically associated with the time allotted to complete the project or the budgetary restraints placed on the project, and sometimes both the time and the budget is limited in a manner that essentially guarantees the project’s eventual demise.

A project can be completed successfully while adhering to scheduling and budgetary requirements, but all of the relevant parties have to work in concert to ensure an acceptable cost is determined and an ideal timeline is adopted. It is therefore critical to recognize the benefit of establishing clear lines communication between all parties right from the start of any software development project.

Poorly Defined Project Goals and Performance Metrics.

Poorly defined goals and objectives represent an unfortunately common source of endless frustration for a software developer. After all, how can the developer work efficiently on the project if the goals and objectives are not entirely clear right from the outset of the project? The same is true of performance metrics, as failing to clearly outline how performance will be measured makes it impossible to perform meaningful assessments of progress or efficiency.

At the outset of any software development project, goals, objectives, and performance metrics should be clearly defined and agreed upon by all parties. This will ensure that developers are able to create a comprehensive strategy for completing the project in the most efficient and effective way possible. These clear and mutually agreed-upon definitions will also enable project supervisors to measure progress accurately while determining the actual efficiency of the project.

Insufficient Testing and QA.

Rushing a product to market often causes poor decisions with regard to testing and quality assurance, leading to a project’s failure due to the release of a poorly functioning software product. The process of testing and fixing bugs – which should be done separately from the production environment to reduce the risk of a host of potential security issues – should not be ignored or undervalued given the potential consequences. QA testing is especially critical and does not have to be a time-consuming process given the recent advances in QA testing platforms and test case management software. Through testing and QA, the likelihood that exceptional software is delivered is vastly increased and further ensures the overall success of the software development project.



Reed Gusmus is the director of marketing at QASymphony, where he excels at prescribing winning strategies for new customer acquisition and revenue-driving solutions for SaaS companies looking to get more from their marketing investment. Gusmus has repeatedly demonstrated a passion for innovation and has been a key component in driving QASymphony’s growth.

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