You and your team have been working on a software project for months. It is a unique proposition, and you are sure about its success. However, upon launch, you find that your project is hardly making any buzz. What could have gone wrong?
This is not a standalone scenario. In today’s competitive world, many software project managers face similar setbacks.
The Annual CHAOS Report found that nearly 66% of software and technology-related projects tend to fail because of the numerous challenges they face. However, by identifying the challenges, you can prepare to tackle them beforehand.
In this read, you will discover the eight common challenges affecting software project management. You will discover and understand how you can overcome them.
The common challenges and how to avoid them
In this section, we have rounded up the challenges that inevitably arise in software project management. They range from technical ones related to outsourcing and finding skilled personnel, to more generic challenges, like setting unrealistic targets.
1. Staying ahead of the game
The advent of globalization has transformed the market into a level playing field. Consequently, there is high competition from start to end. This includes procuring the parts needed for software development and reaching customers before the other companies.
Staying ahead of the game is the need of the hour. Efficient software project management calls for extensive homework on competitors, similar projects, market scenarios, and more.
Once you have this data, you need to integrate it into your software project management plans. Rest assured, you will be better prepared to tackle the global market and its various players.
2. Pitching your software
In 2011, Sony was hit by a massive cyberattack. To curtail the damage, their entire PlayStation network went offline for 23 days, resulting in a loss of over $250 million. All companies, big and small, face software infrastructure issues.
This is where how you pitch your software to clients and stakeholders becomes very important. To earn their trust, as a software project manager, you need to communicate clearly.
Give them an honest and entire picture of what your software can do and why it is better than the others in the market.
3. Shortage of skilled personnel
According to a report, currently, there is a shortage of 40 million skilled workers at the global level. Moreover, Data Analytics and the IT industries are the worst hit by this shortage.
One of the biggest challenges facing software project managers is finding and hiring personnel with the required expertise. This challenge becomes more acute as the complexity of the project increases.
One way to work around this is by creating a job opportunity that is lucrative enough to attract talented workers. Alternatively, you can invest in training and upskilling your existing workforce.
4. Multiple needs
Nowadays, many businesses and companies are looking for a single software that can cater to their multiple needs. Further, this software will likely be used by employees with varying levels of access.
The challenge lies in developing genuinely versatile software that seamlessly caters to all needs and accommodates varying user-access levels.
During the planning stages, software development managers and their teams should keep this in mind and design services accordingly.
5. Integration issues
Given the numerous benefits of system integration, most firms opt for software solutions offering the flexibility to accommodate applications of their choice. Let’s say that you are catering to a bank’s software requirements.
In this case, you and your team might have to integrate the software with a SQL database management system. This will require you to be well-versed with the application, apart from possessing the ability to affect a seamless integration.
According to Chalmers Brown, integration issues are widespread. He believes that “You (company) need to find ways to make the product compatible using APIs or by partnering with other brands, to work together.”
To tackle this, it would be best if you anticipated the integration needs beforehand. For instance, if you know that your software is meant for banks, you could make provisions for integration ahead.
In this way, you will save much time and minimize challenges.
6. Testing and more testing
We all know that every software, no matter how well-designed, needs to be tested before dispatch. Furthermore, testing can open up an entire can of worms that you were better off without.
As a software project manager, you should ensure that there is no compromise on the testing aspect. Additionally, it would help to prioritize getting all the issues resolved before the software is available for use.
While extensive testing and subsequent issue resolution can be very time-consuming, it has an advantage. A survey reported that many testing managers believe software testing costs account for around 50% of the total project budget.
You wouldn’t want to double that expenditure, would you?
7. Attaining the ideal ROI
It is only natural and fair for you and your team to expect the project to yield a healthy ROI. More often than not, it is more challenging to achieve than it seems.
This is because there are many factors involved, including sales metrics, HR metrics, operations metrics. Add the unpredictability of markets to the mix, and you’ll understand what we are saying.
So, how can you tackle this? First, you need to determine a realistic ROI. Then, you can take concrete steps to address the issues that might hurt the ROI.
Alternatively, you can try to derive satisfaction from your ROE or Return on Effort. Here, you can gauge your software’s success from a set of intangibles. They include – the happiness of your customers and employees, the degree of compliance with regulations, etc.
8. Unrealistic deadlines
This is a challenge that plagues all project managers, irrespective of the industry they operate out of. All aspects of software development require time, effort, and planning. So, it is essential that you set reasonable deadlines.
Try to accommodate a buffer period and provide enough time for resolving issues and tackling unexpected challenges. By doing so, you won’t compromise on quality.
Software development managers face many challenges daily. However, a few of them are very common. These include the struggle to stay ahead of the game, recruit skilled personnel, overcome integration issues, and many more.
However, with adequate measures and proper planning, these challenges can be easily overcome.