Top 7 Challenges in Software Development Projects

If you are a project manager or a software developer in a project, you’ll have to beware of specific challenges that can arise at any stage in development. Luckily if you know what you are looking for, there are things you can do to mitigate challenges or even avoid them altogether.

Avoid Problems Early with Software Development Tools for Project Managers

Before jumping into a few typical problems, starting a project on the right foot is best. This means, for example, putting tools in place that help you manage your project and track issues. For example, if you have a digital tool that can give you a 360-degree view of what’s happening within your project at any given time, you’re much more likely to avoid or at least spot issues early. Bitband, for example, has a handy and easy project Management App that makes it simple to keep everyone on the same page while increasing project and task visibility. Getting started is easy and creating your first project is a breeze.

Once you have a project management tool in place for your software development project, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively, avoid getting sidetracked with unrelated tasks, and manage time. And as you’ll soon see, these are essential aspects to control early and often.

Common Problems During Software Development

While each project in and of itself is unique and has its own distinct goals and deliverables, that doesn’t mean typical problems don’t pop up over and over. Instead, let’s break down the most common issues and discuss how to address or avoid the underlying issue.

Communication

Communication is vital throughout a project. The challenge, however, is there are so many ways to communicate. There are in-person, in-app, chat boxes, on-the-phone, and more. With so many avenues for communicating, teams can quickly get confused. For example, two people may share the same thing or give slightly different details. A manager might email instructions one day and then start a line of communication in a Slack channel the next. Developers have to code and keep track of dozens of different conversations, and information can begin to become de-centralized.

That’s why it’s important, early on, to be clear about how a team will communicate. Whether via email or on a specific app, make it clear where communications go and centralize them as much as possible to keep details (and access to them) as uncomplicated as possible. 

Time Management

Most projects need to be very careful with time management. Often, deadlines for tasks and deliverables live and die by how well-thought-out time management is. Before a project, and all the way through, ensure your team understands how much time they have to deliver on tasks and make sure you are allocating enough time to get things done. 

Many project management tools will also have time management features that allow project managers to assign tasks and give them time frames. Many will even be able to alert or highlight when tasks are due or overdue and which to prioritize so team members can clearly see what needs to be done and when.

As a project manager, it will also be essential to keep track of everyone and their workload to adjust tasks and time accordingly. Having visibility (via a project or time management app) will allow you to ensure you aren’t over or underloading team members with work and evenly distributing tasks. This gives team members the time to get work done without feeling overwhelmed or falling behind.

It’s always a good idea to check in offline to ensure that team members aren’t overwhelmed by due dates. Having a conversation from time to time about workloads throughout a project will help you get a sense of if a team member is feeling bored or burnt out and adjust expectations accordingly.

Scope Creep

While project managers do their best at the outset to get a clear picture of a project’s goals and expected deliverables, there is always the concern that scope creep could derail the entire endeavor. Scope creep is dangerous in two significant ways: it can increase the cost of the project and/or it could increase the time it takes to deliver the final product.

Project managers must keep a close eye on scope creep, which often comes from outside sources, such as stakeholders. They should try to act as a buffer between the developer and the stakeholder to negotiate a resolution if a change is required. 

By keeping track of various outside requests for new features or extra bells and whistles, or a general change in design, a project manager can support the project on track while navigating what the change is and what the addition might result in (extra cost/hours). A project manager should lay out all the facts and options for the stakeholder, take time to understand the new directive, and factor in changes (if any) to the project timeline. Only when it is clear if a change is necessary and should be made should a developer or development team be notified. This way, time, and costs are accounted for, and a plan is also in place if a pivot is required. 

Low-Quality Deliverables

Expectations for quality code should be declared at the outset of a project. However, quality might slip over time, and a project manager needs to be on top of everything. 

Quality can drop if there’s complacency in delivering half-baked work. However, that might not be the only reason for a drop-off during a project run. When developers are overworked or out of their comfort zone, they may start delivering lower-quality code, which can quickly become a problem if bugs multiply across the system. Luckily, most software development approaches have checks and balances that help avoid poor deliverables. This includes dividing big pieces of code into smaller tasks, having developers check each other’s code, and working in small sprints, so the team isn’t biting off more than they can chew at once. 

That being said, it’s crucial to monitor the work and dig into issues early. For example, if a star developer suddenly makes too many rookie mistakes, it could be an issue with time management. It’s your job as a project manager to circle back to see the underlying problem and how you can rectify it.

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