Software development can be expensive and time-consuming, even when the project is successful, and that’s not always the case. A recent report revealed that the combined cost of unsuccessful development projects undertaken by US firms rose 46% from $177.5 billion in 2018 to $260 billion in 2020.

That’s a lot of wasted money, possibly due to more businesses rushing to digitize without a clear idea of what that means. How can this be avoided? A survey of 13,000 software agencies by DesignRush gleaned the following insights.

1. Establish a Clear, Common Vision

Communication is key, and it’s especially important for software. In the concept and design stage, software is notorious for ‘bloat’–so many proposed features that a single application can’t do it all. This leads to delays and problems when building it.

To avoid this, all stakeholders should discuss and establish a shared vision with clear goals about what the software needs to achieve. It should be specific and targeted rather than all-encompassing and vague so that the dev team can focus on what’s important.

2. Work with a Software Engineer from the Get-Go

Software engineers are sometimes overlooked, but good engineering can make all the difference to a project. Software engineers with experience in lead and architect roles are especially valuable, as they can guide the team to choose the best technologies and tools to build the software before they get started.

3. Don’t Rush Prototypes

Too many projects are wasting time on prototypes before they have clearly defined the project requirements. The survey highlights the importance of using an agile methodology and focusing on the user experience most of all, taking into account user stories and market research before prototyping.

4. Choose Your Project Manager Carefully

The role of project manager is a crucial one, and companies should hire one that has knowledge of the specific IT domains associated with the project, as well as experience with software development. A good PM will provide oversight of the whole team and has the perspective to spot any potential problems at an early stage.

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