How to rescue a failing software project

Since our childhood, life has been giving us many lessons and telling us, unfortunately, that not everything in our lives will be successful. The most important part is to learn from our mistakes and keep on trying. There are many reasons why plans and projects fail and there is always something to blame and always something to be corrected. But the world of software development is sometimes more complex in that it makes it more difficult to fix the mistakes and save the project. It is possible but it requires certain knowledge, patience, and motivation to rescue and complete the project instead of abandoning it. If you see a chance that your software development project might fail, evaluate your decisions and processes, learn from mistakes and get your project back on track. Begin with figuring out the reason why your project is in this certain point. You can find a few of the most common reasons below.

  • Disappearing partner
    Unfortunately and surprisingly, a very common scenario in failed development projects is the key developer leaving. Sometimes external partners disappear from the market or go out of business for some reason. Maybe a key consultant decided to exit the project or your internal key developer decides to resign from the position. It can be easily avoided in the very beginning of the project by double or even triple checking the external partner and making a conscious decision about who to trust.

  • Conflict with partner
    It is impossible to collaborate if there is a conflict and tensions hiding somewhere under the surface of the collaboration. There could be a disagreement from a previous project or, simply, many people have different views and ideas for the solutions. It is easy to start blaming one another when the project is falling behind with deadlines or functionalities. This way the project does not have a chance to be successful or even be completed.

  • Low quality software and code
    The low quality of software is a very common reason why software development projects fail. Systems may be poorly designed and not be implemented with crucial issues. It happens often when the external company was not checked properly or the price was more important than quality. Many low-cost and fast-delivery promises turn into an end result that does not fulfil our needs and is poor quality. The same thing with a low quality of code. It should be transparent and clear to work properly and be able to be modified and maintained.

These are just the basic problems that sometimes become the reasons for the failure of the projects and you should always double check your project and partner. For more reasons why software development projects fail, check out this article. When you see the early indications that your project may fail in the future do everything in your power to rescue it. Below you can find four basic activities that make up a typical rescue plan.

  • Analysis
    The starting point for you, after noticing that there is something going wrong, should be checking the existing source code. It should be done precisely to minimise the errors and to be sure that the quality is high. Also, questions concerning other issues should be asked. What does the documentation look like and is it complete? Are there the necessary databases? What does the current situation look like? Evaluate the whole work and draw conclusions.

  • Dependency evaluation
    Another important part of rescuing the project is understanding any dependencies within the source code. A previous developer could make a mistake or program an inappropriate response. Dependency issues may include third-party libraries that require licensing, proprietary software or even specific user agreements with previous developers what can limit the work and performance in the future.

  • Source code support
    Every IT partner in rescuing the project should provide you with support in servicing the existing source code. You should pay attention to this fact during the process of choosing the partner. Your IT supplier should fix all the bugs and in case the source code is lost or broken, bring back missing lines or rebuild it so that it is possible to work on it again. Sometimes modernisation of source code is necessary and it looks different every time. Sometimes it is enough to turn old databases to maximum performance and sometimes it is necessary to replace the old source code with a new one.

  • Maintenance
    This part should also be included in the contract between you and your IT software development partner. Maintenance is important both during the repair process and after the project is back on track. It is important to keep the software updated with new technology. Over time you may need to add features, fix errors or replace old source codes with a new one and the maintenance from a professional partner can be vital for the whole software solution and the whole project.

To sum up

Unfortunately, not all of the project can be rescued from a certain stage and it is not easy to get the project back on track but sometimes the sacrifice is necessary and worthy. You must know when to perform changes and when to give the project up. As you might see there are many issues depending on your software development partner and that is why you should pay a lot of attention to it. Read this article in order to know what to look for during the search for a perfect IT partner for your project and company.

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