Fraud Blocker What are the Steps to Rescuing a Troubled Project?

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What are the Steps to Rescuing a Troubled Project?

The post-mortem meeting is the most crucial step because it gives everyone involved in the project a chance to learn from what went wrong.

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Front End

Before we start with the steps to rescuing a troubled software development project, we first need to understand the PROBLEMS.

If your software development project is not going as planned, it’s nothing new.

Your case is not the world’s first case of a troubled project.

Since software development projects are complex and various factors and components determine their scope, they tend to move away from expectations.

So, let’s look at the common problems with software development projects, followed by the steps to resolving them.


1. Inattentiveness by the Developer

Custom Software needs attention to detail for it to have any reliability. Developers need to stand behind their product 100% for it to succeed at its intended purpose. Most developers work long hours upfront developing to develop to get this product out the door as soon as possible. However, quality could be improved because of time constraints placed on them by upper management or clients.

2. Inattentiveness by the Client

Custom Software clients need to realize what goes into creating a custom application, leading them not to understand or appreciate the full scope of what was developed. Software development is not just about writing code, but it includes processes that are necessary to ensure proper testing and security so that an application can be properly maintained.

3. Lack of Scope Communication

Customs Software developers need to understand their customers’ goals for a project so they can best serve them. Developers need to know what they are building, why they are building it, and who will be using it (and how). Any other requirements are required to design and create products people will operate regularly and successfully.

For example, if you want someone who works 40 hours weekly on coding your project, that might equate to 160 hours (40*4) per month. Once again, this varies by company size and the developer’s hourly rate.

4. Unrealistic Expectations

Customers tend to view custom software as something with infinite possibilities; if you want it done right, then build it yourself. They need to understand that custom software can be complicated and costly to re-design once created and take considerable time. They expect more than what they are willing or able to pay for and then become disappointed when the final product fails to meet their expectations because of the costs involved.

5. Shortage of Resources

Custom Software is often used in business-critical applications which require highly skilled personnel for its development and management. There may only sometimes be enough experienced staff available, negatively impacting the cost and timelines of developing these solutions. Clients need to realize that the project will suffer from delays due to resourcing issues if there aren’t enough qualified people available.

6. Lack of Support

Custom Software is often part of a more extensive system, therefore, requires integration with other systems. This can become difficult if the output or input to custom software products often changes. The developers are typically not involved in different development projects, which could bring about change requests that impact their current tasks. Custom Software clients must understand their responsibility to support custom software product development after the project ends customcustom software product development after the project has ended.

7. No Documentation

Customer Requirements are essential for any product to meet its needs. Still, this documentation should be clear and thorough enough that anyone who uses it will have no problem meeting those requirements. Customers should take some time during the initial scoping process to develop specific use cases or scenarios, which will help determine how they should be designed. Customers also need to follow the software development process to get the most thorough documentation for their Custom Software Products.

8. No Infrastructure

Custom Software needs proper infrastructure to maintain it over its lifetime, including version control, change management, and quality assurance testing. Failure to have this in place creates custom software products that aren’t secure or reliable because changes or updates cannot be tested adequately before being released into production systems, leading to costly downtime and security breaches. Clients need to understand that these processes take time but greatly benefit their overall product life cycle so they are not constantly having support issues with their Custom Software Products.

Now that we have listed almost all the possible things that can happen to a software development project, it’s time to introduce some remedies. And here they are – step by step.

Step 1: Re-Assess the Project Goals

The first step to rescuing a troubled software development project is re-assessing the current project’s goals. If any changes have occurred in the expected deadlines or specifications, then a reassessment of these goals is required. For example, stakeholders may request additional features that were not initially planned for, which can turn into an unexpected schedule slip and budget increase.

Step 2: Assign Responsibility

Once the initial assessment has been made about how it will affect client or user requirements and expectations, then you will need to assign responsibility for fixing any issues that arise with the goals. This could include giving someone on your team responsible for ensuring tasks are completed on time or assigning someone to communicate with the client about any changes that may occur.

Step 3: Hold a Post Mortem meeting

A post-mortem meeting should be held after the initial problems have been identified and resolved. This involves all stakeholders, users, team leads, managers, etc., to discuss what went wrong in the project or where changes could be made to avoid future issues. The goal of this meeting is for everyone involved to learn what could be improved upon so they can take action before another troubled project occurs.

Some possible discussion points include…

  • What caused schedule slips?
  • What will be done differently next time to avoid them?
  • Which features were requested by stakeholders but not initially planned for?
  • How will you re-assess their importance now?
  • Was it due to underestimating their use?
  • Did communication or client involvement cause problems in the project?
  • How will these issues be avoided in the future?
  • What can be improved upon when it comes to managing client expectations?

Step 4: Use Lessons Learned

After the post-mortem has been completed, there should be a list of lessons learned that could make your next project more manageable. These things you’ve noticed went well in the past and didn’t work. This list can help improve communication between team members, managers, etc., so everyone is on the same page about goals and requirements moving forward. There may also be suggestions for new processes or tools that could facilitate more organized development. Any changes should include input from all key players involved in the project to ensure everyone’s input is heard.

Step 5: Communicate Changes

Once new processes or tools are introduced, it is essential to communicate what will be done differently moving forward. This involves informing users about any changes made to keep them informed and up-to-date on how their needs are being met and deriving a consensus among stakeholders about issues that may arise with the new process. Stakeholders should also be involved in deciding what changes need to occur, so they can support whatever improvements are being made.

Final Thoughts

Fortunately, troubled software development projects can be rescued by following the abovementioned steps.

The post-mortem meeting is the most crucial step because it gives everyone involved in the project a chance to learn from what went wrong with their current project and implement changes for future success.

By treating troubled software projects like just that, instead of failures, everyone involved can learn from what went wrong and improve for the next project.

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