The inherited benefits of custom software development take a backseat when problems start to surface early in the development cycle. Even the most carefully planned software development projects can run into unforeseen challenges that take a while to solve. Elongated development cycles not only increase the time to market but also the project costs.
It’s common for problem-ridden projects to overrun their original budget estimates. Securing additional funds for a problematic project is another challenge and puts the project stakeholders in an awkward position with the investors. Did you know more than half of the software development projects are cancelled due to budget overruns?
More important than planning, a software development project requires an experienced leader who can step in if the team encounters a problem and solve it in a systematic manner without moving it too far away from its original budget and time estimations.
A lot can go wrong when working on a large project. However, most of them originate from one of these five problems:
1. Undefined scope
A CRM software solution in its MVP form is supposed to keep the database of your customers’ personal information. From there, you need to define a scope where you want to take your MVP to. We know today’s off-the-shelf CRM systems go beyond customer management and include features like social media management, lead management, employee tracking, analytics, etc. CRM integrations go well beyond email and SMS too. The strength of modern CRM solutions lies in their integration with your existing marketing, management, communication, and automation applications.
If you want those features and integration, then you’re better off with one of the turnkey solutions in the market and custom development doesn’t make any sense for you.
The whole point of custom development is to build a software solution your way with the exact feature-set you want, nothing less or more. A loosely defined scope means you haven’t made your mind up on what you want to achieve with the development project. If you’re unclear, then your developers will be as well and you two will never be on the same page. You’ll ask for continuous changes and your developers will spend most of their time accommodating those changes. Your project will enter a state of standstill which will lead to unpredictable delivery schedules and cost inflations.
The solution is to not proceed with the actual development unless your scope is well defined. You need to think and rethink about every feature that you want to add to your software solution. Once you’ve added a feature, you need to think about why you added that one over another one.
Let’s go back to the CRM example: if you cater to consumers, then social media management makes more sense. If you’re going to provide the CRM solution as a SaaS offering, then you should definitely take an active interest in third party integration.
Once you’ve figured out the features, document them in a way you want them in your software. Business analysts try to back each feature with its functionalities and a process flow.
With a well-defined project scope, you’ll be better equipped to counter potential problems.
2. Decentralized communication
If there are plenty of members in your team (developers, designers, testers, operators, PM, architects, etc.), the project owner might independently communicate with each of them.
Suppose the owner asks the backend development team to remove redundant code in order to improve application performance. However, while removing the code they make an important frontend feature unavailable by mistake. The tester issues a ticket and escalates it to the frontend team who don’t have an idea of what caused the problem. They request a rollback which the owner approves.
Decentralized communication can lead to some serious problems because of conflicting roles. Multiple streams of communication between the project owner and teams can result in your project going nowhere.
You may think of hiring a communication manager as the sole source of communication between the project owner and the team. Centralized communication also insists on the use of project management software over traditional means of communication such as email, messaging, and phone.
In the above example, if the frontend team knew what caused the feature to stop working, they would’ve asked the backend team rather than issuing a roll back. With centralized communication the teams would’ve been on the same page.
3. Project confidentiality
If you’re outsourcing development to an external team, then you might have reservations about sharing project details.
However, without providing your offshore team with comprehensive details about the project you’ll be leaving them in the dark. They can’t determine what you expect out of the project with incomplete details. Your discomfort will only make things difficult for everyone.
It’s customary for outsourcing partners to enter a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with your organization, whether your idea is ground-breaking or borderline cliché.
If your idea is to build a powerful algorithm that’ll change the world forever, you may consider patenting it.
4. Subpar final product
You expected the final product to make the world a better place, but instead it’s giving you nightmares. It’s common for the first version to be a security nightmare and barely usable. Bugs are supposed to go away as you move up towards higher versions. The problem occurs when newer versions introduce new bugs instead of fixing them.
You invested a fortune developing custom software to automate one of your business processes and the fact it’s hardly usable must devastate you. You’re already late to the market and now you’re apprehensive about running into bugs and security issues at market launch.
You must bring testing as left as possible to the software delivery pipeline. You should move from testing per major version to per code change. That way you can test and fix bugs before they become part of the software codebase.
5. Hidden costs
When it comes to custom software development costs, there’s only so much that meets the eyes as the rest is lost in plain sight and only resurfaces upon closer inspection. When you hire a team of developers in Manilla at $20 an hour and the project is estimated to be completed in 50 hours, you expect to pay them somewhere between $1,000 – $1,200. But do you?
Hidden costs are a harsh reality of modern software development, and custom software development companies don’t make things any easier.
Ask your developer to send you a Business Requirement Document (BRD). Business Requirement Documents, along with NDAs, are standard practice when dealing with offshore companies. The purpose of the document is to include every feature, its functionalities, and the complete user flow that the final software will include. That should include features that were scrapped, including why.
During your price negotiation phase, the BRD should become the basis for cost estimation talks with the developers.
Read on: How Custom Software Development Can Help Your Business
The top custom software development firm
You spend a significant amount of time exploring various custom software development firms. Once you’ve shortlisted some, you then have to spend more time in negotiation with them.
Rare Crew is a leading custom software development firm with an extraordinary portfolio, experienced leadership, and outstanding ratings, reviews, and client testimonials.
We made this list to guide you on how to hire the best custom software development company. Nevertheless, while hiring a firm follow the list to ensure you don’t fall victim to the problems of custom software development.