Software development is a complex process. Creating a fully functioning application takes a lot of planning and preparation even before the first line of code is written. There are several factors that can throw a wrench in the software development process, including economics, talent sourcing, technology changes, and so on.
We list 8 issues in software development and solutions to help you overcome each of them in your development process.
1: Failing to Properly Define Ideal Users
Failing to properly define the app’s target audience can be a critical flaw in your software development process (echoed in this Forbes article).
While the software itself might be well designed and functional, if there isn’t a need for it in the market, the time and resources spent building this application might have been put to better use elsewhere.
A good way to prevent this is to do a market analysis before the development process starts, which includes defining the target user and conducting market research.
2: Time Management Challenges
Time management is one of the most common issues in software development. In the early stages of a software development project, many companies overestimate their capabilities and underestimate the time it takes to launch an application. This causes problems with delivery that later lead to delays, quality issues, and budget overruns.
Many teams often fail to develop a detailed plan on how the development process will go and underestimate the time they'll need to test, fix bugs, and iterate before launching an application, which has downstream effects on the final product.
A good way to avoid this problem is to plan the software development process in detail, break large tasks into small and more manageable chunks, and use a project management tool like Github, Asana, or Basecamp to track how task completion is progressing.
Frequent, scheduled team meetings also support good time management. Some development teams have daily scrum meetings. Scrum is an agile development methodology based on a fast and flexible iterative and incremental process. These meetings provide an opportunity for each team member to share progress they’ve made, discuss what they’re working on next and raise any risks or blockers that may threaten the project plan. This helps to ensure each team member is spending their time on the right tasks.
3: Understanding the Importance of Testing
Quality assurance (QA) is a vital process in software development that often gets overlooked. QA isn't just testing for bugs and potential issues with the code. It's about ensuring that users’ expectations are met and the final product is reliable, secure, and stable.
Developers sometimes complete tasks hastily to meet tight deadlines without leaving enough time to thoroughly test every feature.
To solve this problem, a company can outsource to QA testers who would ensure that the final product meets all standards and expectations, and that it’s ready to be introduced to users.
4: Lack of Communication Between Customers and Development Teams
Lack of communication between the software development team and the customer is a common issue in software development that causes delays and underwhelming quality of the final application.
When the project doesn’t have sufficient documentation and project teams aren’t communicating frequently, there is a risk that software development teams can misinterpret the requirements. When these misunderstandings go undetected, it results in an app that doesn’t meet the goals of the business. If these misunderstandings are realized, it generally takes additional time and budget to make any necessary adjustments, resulting in delays. Clarifying ambiguity through frequent, precise communication and thorough documentation helps minimize this risk.
The best way to prevent this problem from arising is to ensure open lines of communication through weekly meetings and communication tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. Asking lots of questions and coordinating frequent check-ins during development to ensure alignment are important as well.
5: Failing to Find and Retain Skilled Developers for the Project
Sourcing quality talent is probably one of the most difficult issues in software development. The high cost of hiring, shortage of qualified workers (particularly for specialized coding skills in a specific language or platform) and plenty of competition in the field contribute to this.
To compete, businesses must offer competitive compensation packages, a positive work environment and interesting work.
Occasionally, talent may leave during a project, putting timeline and project knowledge at risk. To hedge against this, businesses should focus on upskilling their current talent, cross-training team members and thorough project documentation.
6: Including Too Many Features Within the App
One of the biggest challenges in software development hides in a desire to put too many features in one application. This tends to result in an app that tries to do everything, but lacks rich functionality and performance in the most important features.
To prevent this “scope creep” from happening, businesses need to focus on making an app that specializes in one to three key features, rather than making a seemingly robust app that covers several different functions. By maintaining a healthy product roadmap, businesses can organize future development around key features and themes.
7: Lack of Resources to Complete the Full Development Cycle
Lack of budget is another frequent software development issue that usually arises due to the unexpected complexity of software projects. This can happen when the project was initially underestimated or when unexpected challenges arise during the software development project.
Thorough estimations and detailed project planning at the start of the project minimize the risk of unexpected challenges that can cause a project to exceed the budget. During development, using free resources like code libraries, APIs and scripts also help keep costs low.
8: Problems With Integration into Other Apps
Problems with integration are yet another common software development problem that can put your project scope, timeline or budget at risk. This can happen when businesses do not anticipate which hardware and software their users are working with. For instance, you might build an app for iOS then later realize your ideal user base is mostly on the Android operating system. Another way this problem shows up is when your app integrates with a third-party API but that API doesn’t offer the functionality you need, or it isn’t ready on time. Delays in co-development with a third-party API can delay your overall project timeline if proper expectations around timeline and functionality are not set.
We hope that helps you understand what it takes to avoid common pitfalls in the software development process.
Businesses must plan their projects meticulously, research their target audience to develop useful products users will like, and specialize in one area rather than being too broad in their development process. Furthermore, more focus needs to be on finding and retaining good talent that will successfully bring the project to completion.
All teams involved in the development process need to work together on addressing these potential issues, and we hope our insights will help lead your next project to a successful launch.