Software development is no mean feat. It takes so much time, money, and most importantly, a skill that most who try often don't get it right. There are countless examples of software development projects that failed, some spectacularly. Failed IT projects cost the UK £37 billion a year, confirming its status as a major problem.
The main problems that contribute to software failure are usually the same every time. Problems such as poor planning or market research. Therefore, it is important for all prospecting developers to be aware of the common mistakes that lead so often to a piece of software turning into a failed project.
The planning process is what will guide you through each stage of your software development. This will limit mistakes or straying off tasks, as you can always refer back to your plan. You can decide upon a detailed outcome of what you are aiming to achieve. Next comes the structure of everything you need to do to achieve it. Your colleagues will also have access to this reference point. This will improve understanding and communication between the team developing the software.
After spending so much time and effort developing the software, a developer may be too worn out to properly test the software. The repercussions of this can be so serious, your software can fail purely because of it
Error checking is checking the result of every operation in your software's coding. This will make sure that you have coded what you expected to. Furthermore, you need to check that your code can handle any unexpected occurrences if it has not gone to plan.
In order to properly test your software, you will need to let real users get involved. This is because the way they will use your software will be less predictable, allowing errors to be found that you may not have been able to. Developers should also write documentation describing how to each feature of their software in detail. This will make it easier for users to test as they have a guide on how to.
Like any business that provides a product or service, you need to get to know your customers. In order to improve your software's chances of success, you need to know exactly what your customer is looking for in terms of software.
This will increase the chance of your software making its ROI. If you identify your software's users correctly, you can fine-tune your software to match exactly what they are looking for. This will give you an established base to market your software to once it is completed.
By undertaking a buyer persona, you can really start to look at your software from your customer's shoes. Therefore, you will be able to really understand what you need to do to make sure your software provides a useful function for them.
Once the desired type of user has been successfully identified, a group of these users should be identified. These users should then be offered a free trial. This will give them an opportunity to use your software and thereby test it for you. Since you are sure these are the type of people you want using your software, their feedback will be of the utmost importance.
A big mistake often made by developers is to try too hard to make their software as good as possible. By this, I mean adding or expanding features to encompass elements that would seemingly improve your software. This is a high-risk practice to incorporate when developing software. The more you add to your software, the higher the chance that it will fail. Making your software simplistic, straight to the point will help avoid these risks.