In many of our blogs and articles, we have addressed the common risks associated with custom software development and the times when high-profile projects have gone wrong. At the same time, it’s important to note how often custom software has succeeded in creating new profit opportunities, offered ways of maximizing existing profits, and added value to end-user experiences for the companies that invested in it.
In their book, Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects, authors Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister make the point that the companies who invest in new technology and custom software often achieve more than those who do not.
A case in point is Merrill Lynch. It looked long and hard at the so-called trend of on-line trading . . . and decided to ignore it. It crossed its fingers in the hope that the era of the full-service brokerage (with fat fees and brokers who could keep you endlessly on hold) would come back, that direct trading would be only a passing fad. What a forlorn hope. Today, the full-service brokerage is as much a thing of the past as the full-service gas station. And today, Merrill Lynch offers its customers on-line trading at a reduced fee. But it took the company nearly a decade to catch on. Merrill Lynch was the latest of the Late Adopters.
The Early Adopters were Fidelity, Schwab, and E-Trade. E-Trade and its look-alikes were new companies, created to exploit the change. So, if on-line trading had turned out to be only a passing fad, E-Trade would have gone belly-up with no loss beyond the capital the company had raised explicitly to put at risk. Fidelity and Schwab, on the other hand, were well-established companies with a lot to lose. In this sense, they were not so different from Merrill Lynch. But Fidelity and Schwab were willing to take the risks.
While the risks of delayed delivery times and cost overruns may always exist in the software development industry as a whole, EndPoint Modeling offers a proven way to mitigate—or eliminate—them and succeed in achieving your project vision. Here is our list of the 5 most common issues that can be mitigated at the start of your next project.
Exceeding The Scope of the Project
One of the major risks in custom software development is that of ‘scope creep’. This is where new features are added in the middle of a project which jeopardizes the existing timelines and budgets. To be successful, custom software projects need to be fully defined, in terms of features, functionality and UI/UX requirements before the developers start writing code.
This is one of the reasons why EndPoint Modeling is such an important part of what we do. Speaking with all of the stakeholders and guiding them through the logical process that will determine the final shape of the project is what enables us to create a blueprint and a prototype that everyone can agree on so that the scope of the project remains consistent through to delivery.
Lack of Transparency
Lack of transparency and lack of communication create the next biggest risk to the on-time, on-spec and on-budget delivery of your custom software project. To ensure that we understand what you want, and how you want it done, we organize our projects into sprints and seek approval at the end of each sprint, billing you by the milestone, not by the murky calculation of time and materials. In this way, we protect you, and ourselves, from mismatched expectations.
While even the most well-respected software houses can sometimes encounter delays, most missed deadlines are the result of errors in the project feasibility study or errors in the project’s blueprint. To mitigate this risk, we guarantee our feasibility studies and assume the cost of budget overruns, so the cost of failure is always on us, not our customers.
The risk of cost overruns is often the primary reason why companies try to avoid custom software projects. An EndPoint Modeling workshop elimates this risk through a thorough and logical process resulting in a detailed blueprint of your next project. Nothing is left to chance.
We lay the groundwork for the successful adoption of your new software project through our EndPoint Modeling workshops. Following our logical methodology, we create consensus and invite buy-in early in the development cycle, so that when the product is delivered, all of the stakeholders are invested.
Do you have additional risks that you’ve identified in field of custom software development? Feel free to leave your stories and advice in the comments. We love hearing from you.