Reasons Why Software Development fails and how to avoid it!

Quick Summary: Many factors are responsible for project failure, but there are many ways to ensure the success of your project by identifying the issues and working towards them. In this article, we’re going to discuss the common reasons which lead to project failure and how we can avoid them.

Table of Content

1. Introduction

2. Why does software development fail?

  1. Unclear project requirements
  2. Working in a silo
  3. Inadequate planning
  4. Lack of communication
  5. Not starting with the end customer

3. How to avoid the failure of software development?

  1. Selecting technology and tools
  2. Estimate proper time and budget
  3. Testing and validating the software
  4. Proper planning
  5. Designing the solution
  6. Writing clean and efficient code
  7. Maintaining the software

4. Final Thoughts


Tech teams often dive into modern and new software projects with more hopes, making it more frustrating if the projects get sabotaged. Tech leaders and professors need to be aware of potential project pitfalls ahead of time to eliminate wasting time and money. According to a recent study, more than 60% of business organizations suffer at least once within one year of the project commencement.

Software development is no one-time-show, it’s a process that might last long.  Therefore, businesses are constantly looking for reliable custom software development service providers who not just carry technical expertise but experience in various industry verticals for softwares.  

It is seen that the project success is improving overall from the recent years. A survey conducted by the Pulse of the Profession in 2017 reported that the Project Management Institute shows that success rates for all software projects, not just for software, are finally on the rise.

In this blog, we’re going to know the main reasons for software development failure and also learn how businesses can avoid them. So, without any further ado, let’s get started!


Why does software development fail?

1. Unclear project requirements

For a successful project, make sure that your project requirements are clearly defined. Clear project requirements help to reduce the chances of unrealistic expectations and project failures. However, in their eagerness to please potential clients, businesses often overlook details that will sabotage a development lifecycle. Before you start developing your software project, it is essential to have a detailed list of project requirements and specifications to define clear objectives for completing the project. Make sure that the project meets the actual client expectations of the customers, and eliminates unclear requirements.

2. Working in a silo

The main reason why software projects fail is that development teams embark on a journey to create something that is not a business requirement nor address the right person. Both reasons are the result of misalignment between the tech and business organizations. To eliminate such issues, it is important to identify the problem and work collaboratively with the business and not in a silo.

3. Inadequate planning

The development projects fail because of improper planning and incorrect development strategy before starting the development process. According to a report generated by Innotas in 2016, more than 55% of IT professionals indicated a project failure due to inadequate planning, money, time, resources, and time. The overall success rate is somehow improving, but only marginally. We don’t know how much time it requires to complete the development process and that sometimes leads to unreal expectations. Activating the quality involvement of senior management from beginning to end is one of the most effective ways to cut down the cost which is required for planning. Sometimes the requirements may differ midway through a project, so whoever will ultimately log out should be actively included in execution and planning.

4. Lack of communication

Without proper communication, there are higher chances of software project failure. Just because you have properly understood the client’s requirements, doesn’t mean that your developers have. There should be transparency between the client and developers so that the chances of project failure reduces which results in successful software development. Effective communication plays a vital role in the workplace for so many reasons and creates a strong relationship with stakeholders and clients.

5. Not starting with the end customer

Sometimes software application development starts with a great idea that is implemented and delivered only for developers to address that the query they solved was not actually the issue their customer requested to be solved. So, make sure to work hard and deeply understand the customer’s requirements, what they are willing to pay for, set the ceiling on project performance, and allow you to focus on the team when things derail.

How to avoid the failure of software development?

1. Selecting technology and tools

Sometimes it takes years to develop an expert level of competency in a chosen technology stack and development technique. Following some best practices and common technology will stand a better chance in recruiting team members for project development that perfectly suits your requirements, as well as make all the products developed more maintainable and portable. So, it is important to invest some good time in choosing the technology stack and development strategies that will help you to make the development process easy, smooth, and effective.

Make sure that you know what you are good at and what are your strengths. All your problems and the best software project solution might require modern techniques, tools, and resources outside your team’s current skill level.

Find out the actual problem, make an honest assessment of your team’s skillset, and then consider the selection of technology and tools. This is the opportunity to update your technology stack and master new technologies to reduce further complexity and hire an outside development firm for successful project output. However, sometimes software development projects fail because of choosing the wrong platform for a software project.


2. Estimate proper time and budget frame

Once you are sure that your outsourced development team has got a grip working with the firm over the business requirements and nature of the project, you can now expect a genuine timeline from them. By doing this, you’re not required to run behind them on agreed timelines. Do not contact vendors who keep on changing timelines, because it shows that they have failed to gauge the software development project in its entirety. The importance of a budget is equally important as proper timing so that you are aware of the time and cost that you’re going to invest in your project. You must be aware that the costing is totally based on the nature and complexity of the project and not just on the assumptions.

3. Testing and validating the software

Building any design for a website and using it directly isn’t the right way. Testing and validating the software project are the two main parts of the development process which must be followed by the developers after completion of the project. Testing the software after completing the project helps to resolve the mistakes early and reduces the cost and time. When it comes to writing great software, test as if you are dependent on it.

4. Proper planning

According to research conducted by Innotas, 5% of IT professionals indicated that their software project failed due to improper and poor planning. Many companies fail to do proper planning and study before starting the software development process or even give much thought to the real logistics of a project. Improper and poor planning is caused due to unrealistic expectations and disappointment.

For successful software project development, involve upper management from the beginning and adjust the plan to control project execution. Every client wants their project delivered before the deadline, at the lowest cost, and with the highest quality. And because you don’t want to disappoint them, make sure to do proper planning at the initial stage of the development project.


5. Designing the solution

The designing phase is often where the project fails. You must be wondering why? If so, then it is because the requirements might seem simple, but lurking beneath the smooth surface of the simplicity of the problem is the monster which is known as solution complexity. It means that the problem you face may look simple but the solution might be very tough.

To find a simple solution for your business, make sure to keep the process and software project requirements as simple as possible. And you don’t, then be too quick to commit to your design and estimate. The designing process is sometimes so complex that it might expand the original estimate of money and time by orders of magnitude.


6. Writing Clean and Efficient Code

Designing and coding the software are two different skills. Sometimes the person who is designing the site doesn’t know how to write the code and vice versa. You might structure your team by hiring only one person who knows both; coding and designing or might keep them separate. Make sure that both individuals collaborate with each other frequently to understand what units must be coded and how they will fit the design. To resolve the queries quickly, it is important to write clean and simple code which is understandable with very little programming knowledge.

7. Maintaining the Software

It is easy to under-invest in processes that are related to the ongoing maintenance of your project’s codebase. Document work as the code is written and remember what you did and why. Developing the project is not just enough for successful software development, but it is also important to maintain the software even after the completion of the process. If you avoid maintaining your user software, there will be a compound effect of technical debt that may arise in the future and it will add stress to your development team.

Maintaining the software, fixing the issues, updating new features, and enhancements to your existing software projects are also important.


Final Thoughts


Hire a robust development team and make them aware of the user requirements. The main role of the development team is to validate the code in various environments. So that all the features included in your software projects function properly. Contacting the top-notch software development company helps to enhance the quality of your software with robust and modern features. If you want an affordable development process that handles your entire project, then consider software development outsourcing. It will guide you throughout the development process and maintain the projects even after the completion of them. The development project is an art that requires in-depth knowledge and related expertise for good execution and planning.

In this article, we discussed the common reasons why custom software development projects fail and also learned how you can avoid them. So that it becomes easy for you to build and schedule a successful project in the future by eliminating the loopholes.

Are you planning to complete the project using modern technologies and tools? If yes, then start searching for the custom software development company with the best development team which delivers out-of-the-box expertise in working with complex and large projects and avoiding the failure of software development.

Written by KH

Kibo is a full-time tech enthusiast who believes sharing is caring. She has also contributed her bylines at many places.

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