How To Lead or Manage Software Development Projects

Part 3 of 7 in the Series: How To Become A Project Manager
How To Lead or Manage Projects

How To Lead or Manage Projects

Statistics show that the majority of software development (web, IT, desktop, mobile…) projects are doomed to fail from inception.

The challenges facing technical leads, project managers, software development, IT managers or project sponsors are often under-estimated leading to less than successful projects.

While some software teams may argue or live in-denial of the risk facing their projects, the facts are that more than 60% of software projects fail!

The effects of poorly managed software projects are also obvious. They include:

    High turn-over rate
    Buggy or defect ridden software
    Unhappy customers
    Cost or budget overruns
    Late time to market or overly long shipping cycles
    Burnout, firing or layoffs
    Demoralized workers
    Loss of productivity
    Loss of revenue
    Loss of market positioning

This series is designed to help “software or web development teams” increase their chances of success by shedding light on the hidden art of software project management.

Why Software / Web Development Projects Fail

You may be thinking: “if software projects fail so often, “why is it that no-one is talking about it”? The shocking answer is that software project failure is now the norm. But we really don’t have to accept that!

Let’s start by examining why software or web projects fail …

  • Failure to manage scope, time or budget changes

    Customers, stakeholders or project sponsors change the scope or add to the requirements without increasing the time-line or resource allocation.

  • Incomplete or poor business requirements

    The team does not eliciting the help of a business analyst in gathering or documenting the business requirements for the project.

  • Inadequate software testing

    The software testing or quality assurance is an after-thought because the only thing that matters to the software team is writing code.

    Leaving the software testing to the end of the development cycle or not putting as much thought or planning into it as into the actual coding signifies that you will get buggy code.

  • Leadership failing to delegate or empower

    Not empowering the technical lead, project manager, business analyst or quality assurance lead to do their jobs but second guessing them or over-riding their decisions.

  • Weak Communication

    Have you ever worked on a project where the developers or business analysts were frequently kept in the dark because they didn’t need to know?

    Keeping the web or software development team in the dark is unfortunately a mark of an insecure or authoritative leadership team.

    The software development team need to be in kept in the loop through consistent and timely communication.

    The same goes with the stakeholders or the project sponsors. They need to be approachable or available especially to the project manager.

  • Inadequate Budgeting

    Budgeting mistakes happen more frequently than they need to be..

    The budget may be insufficient because it was approved without having a good understanding of the project or product scope.

    The budget may also be insufficient because customers are asking for a product with more features than they can afford to pay.

    Regardless of the reason, starting a project plan with an in-adequate staffing budget is a recipe for disaster.

By starting a frank discussion on how to get software projects done successfully, I hope to improve quality of life for software development teams facing daunting challenges or death matches.

Are you living in denial or are you up for an open, frank, no-holds barred discussion on why so many projects fail?




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