Custom software development comes with certain challenges. While the word ‘challenge’ is often used as a synonym for ‘problem’, this time it’s not sugar-coating it. We’re talking about obstacles that developers often happen to run into. You could experience them as well, but fortunately, these hindrances are 100% conquerable.
Before we start, let us just say that we didn’t write this to frighten you about the difficulties you might experience. Rather, we did it to help you prepare and avoid them altogether. Everything you’ll read below is based on our own experiences as custom software development professionals. Fireup.pro is well past the learn-from-your-mistakes phase, and we have a pretty optimized workflow.
We’d love to save you the time you’d need to discover something that’s already been found. So, without further ado, here are the 5 biggest challenges related to custom software development.
1. Communication difficulties
For some teams, including our fellow Polish developers, these are caused by the language barrier; but in these cases it’s an obvious and instantly detectable issue. However, by ‘communication difficulties’ we mean something else. Firstly, the difficulties your team may have with understanding who does what, and why, and how. And secondly, the dialogue between you and your client.
It’s easy to forget that communication, both internal and external, actually has to be managed,; preferably by a single designated person who will: keep track of the meetings, take notes, and update everyone about any course corrections. Otherwise, your software development house won’t be a single ship following a treasure map, but a dozen boats going in random directions.
2. Miscalculated deadlines
This challenge often isn’t caused by any kind of mismanagement or negligence. It’s just a fact of life that the time frame for any custom software development project is hard to estimate.
The factor that plays the most important part of getting it right is your method of project management. From our own experience, Scrum works best in most cases, combined with developing the MVP first. It’s simply much more manageable to split your project into smaller pieces and then proceed step by step, instead of trying to achieve far-flung goals.
3. Unbalanced budget
Any software development studio absolutely needs to know their budget. As we mentioned, it’s important to start with the MVP. However, making a proper MVP is possible only with established finances. If you know how much you can spend, you will be able to focus on creating a prototype that represents the actual core value of the product.
Your budget will force you to come up with creative alternatives and compromises—and that’s a good thing! You will have to build less, and finish your work sooner. After releasing the initial version of the product, you’ll learn a lot from the feedback. This will help you plan the next phases of development as well as fixes—with the money you need still in your pocket.
Remember that you don’t necessarily have to budget the entire project. Start with the first stage, and plan with your developers, not around them. Their input could be priceless.
4. Incoherent vision
Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile the colorful vision of the client with hard technical solutions. It’s not that it can’t be done—it usually can. The problem is, it might be harder than it seems, and you’ll need some workarounds or clever solutions. For your client it might seem like the software development team is going in another direction, while they’re actually trying to find the best way to reach the goal. Or maybe they did misunderstand the client, or he didn’t really get why there’s the need to maneuver. This happens, and it’s a valid reason for the client to become upset and/or worried.
This is when soft skills and your development team’s experience comes in handy. Knowing what to do is one thing, but explaining it to your client is something else. And you need to do this. They trusted you with their money, and want to be sure that you know what you’re doing.
5. Changes during the development
The Agile Methodology actually expects that changes will be necessary, but this comes with an asterisk. Changes are good when they’re justified, well planned, and budgeted. Uncontrolled additions, such as new functions or sudden design revisions implemented on a whim, are the easiest way to derail your project and delay it.
If you want to succeed, you need to have an expertly prepared game plan for the first stage of development. Every step should be laid out until you reach the MVP. Only then can you collect feedback and decide what changes or improvements are necessary.
What’s the most important takeaway?
There isn’t just a single key point that your custom software development team should focus on because every project is unique. This is true for Polish developers as well as our colleagues from other parts of the world. Sometimes communication comes naturally and the development is silky smooth. But other times, it’s the opposite. Your CTO should remember that there are risks associated with all of the above-mentioned areas. After all, forewarned is forearmed.
Written by fireup.pro