It’s getting increasingly easier for people to dream up of ground breaking ideas and concepts in this era driven by technology. What these people need is a developer to breathe life into their ideas. However, the sad reality is that between 25 to 55 percent of software development projects never make it past the drawing board. What this number fails to tell us is how many of these ideas were scrapped initially but reused in some other way in a different application. If you don’t want to become a part of that statistics, below are ten common mistakes developers and project managers should avoid while working on a project.
Finding the right people
Just like there are different chefs for different types of cuisines in a restaurant, there needs to be a different developer for the different kinds of jobs. A good developer doesn’t come in a one size fits all package. While one developer may be able to see the bigger picture for one project, they may not be able to do so for another. The same application could need different developers for the front and the back end. However, finding someone who sees the bigger picture isn’t the only thing you need in order to develop a software. They need to have a strong coding background in order to make the project run smoothly and for the software to look as good as it possibly can.
Team sizes when developing
The concept behind “too many cooks spoil the broth” is one that applies not just for the kitchen but for software development as well. Like writing a script, it needs to flow from the beginning to the end and having a lot of people in the process might actually elongate the process. Have a small team that work well together on different component of the software that can then be put together as one in the end.
The planning Phase
We at Macquarie IT cannot emphasise on this point more than anything else on this list. Although it may seem easier to just immediately jump into the project, doing so might spell doom due to problems you haven’t prepared for. If you go through a proper planning phase, everything becomes easier down the line as they help create a guideline for the future processes. It also helps you remember what you need to do in a step by step order, helping you stay on track as you code and move along in the process.
Time management and Communication
Most of the times when clients come with a proposal for an application, they have no idea what it takes to develop it or the time it may take to incorporate all of their ideas into an app. Therefore, the burden of responsibility lies with you. You should never underestimate the time it takes to develop an app, or a website. If you are facing delays due to a particularly vicious bug, communicate what is happening with the client and tell them why it is taking longer than what was promised. More often than not, talking to them puts both your minds at ease and it becomes easier to concentrate on the task at hand without rushing to meet the predetermined deadlines.
Justification of the idea
It is a good thing to be passionate about a project you are working on, it shows in the output of the project. However, it isn’t a good idea to justify what you are doing to yourself from the very beginning. Always look at your project critically and do the simple things to find out if the application works the way you and your client imagined it would. Be flexible to change, if one idea doesn’t seem to be working don’t continue to justify it and try to make it work, try to find ways in which to tackle it differently and learn when it is time to let go of something.
Not Identifying users
One of the biggest things you need to determine is who your user base is going to be. Creating multiple writing personas, or fictitious people who are interested in the system you are making can be a big help to get all the information you need on your potential client base. You will need to conduct some form of research on the personas to make sure you understand and include all the aspects of the persona. An example of a persona is “Sam O’Connell, 35, works as a software developer at a major IT company. Married, has a 2-year-old and likes to read and workout in his spare time.” You can then understand these personas and make an application they would use.
The Minimum Viable Product
Don’t spend a long time on what you think will be a good idea and what you think the public will like. Launch a version of a product, with the minimum features you need to make the application work as soon as possible. Have the product tested by the market so that you receive feedback from very early on in the process. It is easier to modify the concept as you go than to rewrite the entire thing because it wasn’t received the way you wanted it to be. This will save you from having to entirely scrap a project after having spent months on it.
Launching without a roadmap
Launching a product without an inclination of what you are going to do next could be an issue. It is hard to capture the interest of people to make them use a program and have them keep using it without any new features to keep them engaged. Always have a plan to improve it, roll out bug fixes and add new features. This will keep the people engaging in your product and won’t lead them to delete the app. Only 6% of people have never deleted an app in their life, and a resounding 51% have in the past 2 weeks. You have to keep recapturing the interest of the people.
Not Marketing the product
You could have the best product in the market, but it wouldn’t matter if you didn’t market the product well. You can’t sit back and expect that people will discover the product without any marketing strategies, today’s market is very competitive and only the ones that can make themselves stand out will be able to retain consumers.
Not knowing when to call it quits
It is necessary to not be stubborn about the program you are creating and know when to let it go. Not all programs that are developed need to go out to the market, especially as developing is a learning process. Nothing you create is ever truly lost. It may be useful or give you valuable insight on another project you work on. If the original plan doesn’t work for you, be open to pivot to a plan that will.
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