Businesses of all sizes — from small startups to well-established enterprises — rely upon software to support their operations and enable innovation. As we have discussed in previous posts, custom applications can provide advantages in terms of boosting productivity, enhancing customer service, reducing operational costs and quickly leveraging new opportunities. As a result, an effective, efficient application development process is often critical to business success.
However, poorly managed application development wastes time and money and fails to deliver positive results. According to a study from IDG Research, about half of all application development projects fail outright, more than a quarter fail to meet deadlines, more than 20 percent go over budget, and 16 percent don’t meet end-user expectations.
The biggest culprits behind the failure of application development projects can be traced to a lack of communication and alignment between IT and business operations. More specifically, a lack of user input and involvement in the process is a common problem. Sometimes a project is ordered by management without buy-in from end-users, who end up having no say in the process. When they are involved, users often struggle to articulate what they need until they actually see and use the application. Requirements are unclear and end up changing over the course of the project, which wastes time and money.
In many cases, the application doesn’t do what the user needs it to do or the interface doesn’t meet user demands for simplicity, intuitiveness and aesthetically pleasing design. If the user experience falls short, adoption of the application will be slow and painful, or users will look for alternatives. In order to correct user experience issues, additional fixes are needed, the project scope and timeline are expanded, and budgets are busted.
Finally, most testing processes are rushed and inadequate. Organizations need to balance the value of making a new application available based upon how critical it is to business operations with the value of ongoing testing for bugs. While testing needs to be thorough due to the complexity of today’s applications, it is impractical to test every line of code and how it works with other lines of code. As a result, developers should follow industry best practices for code reviews and tests to minimize the number of defects that exist when an application is released.
Organizations can increase the rate of application development success and accelerate adoption by working with developers who take the time to understand their unique requirements. There also must be a process for development and testing that enables and encourages collaboration. While input from senior management will help to clarify overarching business goals, there must be input and ongoing communication with end-users in order to maximize the business value of each application.
SSD’s software development team follows well-defined processes that emphasize communication with all stakeholders and an iterative approach to application delivery. Let us help you avoid the software development pitfalls and gain a custom app that’s a valuable asset to your business.