Michael Gobbo, Universal Studios
Los Angeles, California
Software projects fail at a ridiculous rate, with some studies claiming upwards of 70%. That statistic is sobering, and it is an embarrassment to our industry. Why does this happen? In the 20 years that we have been developing software, we've formed some pretty strong opinions on the topic. Most project failures can be linked to three core issues. Poor communication, poor oversight and poor developer skills. Any one of these can pose a serious challenge to a software project. Combining all of them is the kiss of death. Let's take a closer look at each.
By the way, that's Rob and his daughter Brit vacationing in Turkey.
Communication is probably the most important factor in the success of any custom software project. After all, if you don't understand the basic problem you are trying to solve, nothing else is going to matter. Software projects often fail because the software developer doesn't understand your business, your software needs or your priorities. Depending on your developer's location, they might not understand English, either.
Failing to supervise and manage the work being done is the number one reason most software projects fail. If nobody is looking at the software architecture, or periodically reviewing the source code for problems, the odds are good that a real mess is in the making. This is a potential problem with freelance software developers. Who's checking their work? If you guessed "nobody" you are probably right.
If you think that all software programmers are the same, we have some oceanfront property in Arizona we'd like to sell you. Nothing negatively impacts a software project like a poor computer programmer. The number of ways a software application can be constructed is almost limitless, including the number of bad ways it can be done.
The first step is to perform a comprehensive review of your software. Don't worry, it's free.
Next, we put a plan together to address whatever we found. Yeah, that's free too.
And finally, we are going to have to get our hands dirty and start fixing the issues. That's not free.
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Nat Wallen, BellaRuby
Charleston, South Carolina