Every Software Development company faces different challenges throughout its daily operations. In this article we have summed up the most common problems that companies encounter and we have also listed possible solutions.

Clear Initial Requirements

Before starting any development project one must clearly know what the client’s requirements are. Unfortunately sometimes what the client wants is not what the client needs. It is the job of the system analyst to identify the requirements. This does not mean that the client does not know what he wants from a system but it’s often the case that the clients describes the system how it can solve the current problem. The system analyst must make sure to clearly understand the problem, the workflow that is leading to this problem and to identify ways how the system can work to solve the current problem while optimising other workflows.

The solution is to have one person who is in charge to write the requirements document, have it signed by the client and explained to the development team prior of starting the project. The solution here while it seems very simple in nature, it is sometimes taken for granted due to time constraints or budgets.

Software Development - Clear Requirments

Schedule Work and Keep Track of Project Timelines

Software Development is all about tasks, milestones and the duration of each one. The problems lies in keeping up with the hours allocated for each task. There are various reasons why a project can exceed the allocated time and the important part is not to tackle each of these reasons, but to identify if a task is going to eventually end up exceeding the time allocation prior to doing so.

To do this you need a project management solution where the project manager and the developers keep it updated daily with time logs and with the ability to issue time tracking reports. It is important that you have a project manager review tasks on daily basis to identify if something is going to take more than time stipulated. Giving ownership of the project to a specific person would give responsibility to schedule time to check on the project and keep management and the client updated with the project status.

Software Development - Project Timeline

Stick to initial requirements

Every development company will tell you that when the initial requirements are changed during development this will affect the delivery time almost every time. With an outsourcing company this will cause other projects to be delayed since projects are scheduled one after the other. The solution is not as straight forward as the others since every company would like to please their client especially if it is a new client but on the other hand a company cannot accommodate all requests. This is why it is important that during quoting and in the analysis document a project timeline is sent and the client is informed that any changes in the requirement can result in delay of the project.

Clients must also be made aware of this if a change request is sent during development, especially if the change request will take days to implement (normally for a couple of hours you would not delay the project delivery). The task to identify possible delays should be given to the Project Manager as part of his responsibilities. The project manager has to communicate with the developers if the change requests can be done and if it will affect the delivery time or the logic of the system.

Software Development - Stick to Requirements

Testing, Testing and Testing

This section is something that most developers think that testing is the process of checking that the system works. While that is the general idea, testing involves more than just that. While the system might be bug free that does not mean that the system is ready to be given to the client. User Experience and Usability testing is the process of testing how the system will be perceived by the user.

To do User Experience testing it involves to get individual users and they are observed carrying out tasks that are given. This is very important especially if the end user is someone that might not be very familiar with technology, which will be used for the new system. User Experience testing might be a very expensive process and not a lot of companies have the budgets to invest in this. However this can be solved by getting people that will be using the end system to test for you. For example if you are developing a mobile sale system you can try to get a sales person from the client for a couple of hours to run some tests and get feedback.

Software Development - Testing

Communication

Communication between all parties is a must when doing software development projects. It is important that the client is informed about the current status of the project. This can be done either through a project management system where the client can review current status or the project manager sends regular updates. It is also important that developers and the project manager communicate on a daily basis about the project, this can be done by doing a 15 minute stand-up meeting in the morning.

Lack of communication will cause parties to doubt if the project is on time, if it will be delivered and if the system is going as agreed. This is why one must make sure to have the framework and procedures in place to keep everyone updated with the project status.

Software Development - Communication

Conclusion

The problems that were mentioned in this article are common problems faced daily by software development companies. It all boils down to creating procedures and clearly identify who will be doing what within the company. It is also important to automate processes using systems available that will help you in managing projects and clients. This will reduce time done on daily project management and focus on development, testing and getting new clients.