Why Software Development Projects Fails?

Why Software Development Projects Fails?

According to the 2013 CHAOS Manifesto by the Standish Group, only 39% of IT projects succeeded in 2012.

The possibility of software projects failing can be attributed to various reasons - costs, scheduling and quality issues, and/ or achievement of objectives. This poses a serious threat to companies wishing to outsource their software development needs, as software project management failures often cause huge losses in time and money, and can prove to be detrimental to a company's growth and development.

While each project has its own unique reasons for failure, most can be connected to these areas:

Limited planning :

You have probably heard some iteration of this quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” If project management is the practice of turning ideas into reality, then it is vital to know the goals and parameters of the idea before you start. With a detailed scope, projects can follow a clear direction and progress can easily be tracked.

Poor Budgeting

Money has a big role to play in the eventual success or failure of a project. Even the most financially savvy entrepreneurs and IT managers can find themselves on the receiving end of a failed project due to financial reasons.

Start-ups and entrepreneurs, by nature, are generally financially limited, especially in their early stages. While some start-ups may receive some initial financial help, the needed investments to fund the entire development process are hard to come by, as most venture capitalists require a working or near-complete application before they hand over large sums of cash.

Undefined objectives or requirements

Detailed project specifications and requirements are essential to any successful software project. A standardized project management methodology will also allow the team to scope and plan development tasks accurately. We heart agile software development, but a project isn’t doomed nor surely successful based on the development methodology chosen. Moreover, adopting a methodology that integrates well with the development tools slated for the project could result in greater efficiency and lower costs.

Lack of Communication and Transparency

A survey conducted by Spike Cavell shows that 57% of project failure due to poor communication.

Having open channels of communication throughout the planning, development, and deployment phases cannot be emphasized enough, as a breakdown in communication is one of the easiest and fastest ways for a project to fail. Both parties (client and developers) need to work closely to ensure that the ideas and requirements from the client are clearly passed onto the development team.

Assumptions and a lack of client involvement lead to developers producing an application that is far different from the one the client had in mind, and it’s important to remember that a failed project isn’t just defined as an inoperative application. If the application doesn’t meet the client’s requirements or produce the results it’s supposed to, then it will definitely not be labeled a success.

Chasing Technology

Some are lured into the benefits of the latest available technology and try to use it for their ongoing projects. This forces them to gravitate from the planning done at the design stage. This leads to the failure of the whole system, change in objectives, or failing to complete the project on time. Embracing change and being open to new things can have a great impact on the project.

Lack of Periodic Assessment

Lack of client induced and developer mandated assessments, and failure in smartly establishing milestone points leads to improper assessments, which leads to irreparable or catastrophic failures. Having regular check-ins is vital to the health of your project. By doing so, you can spot risks before they develop into bigger unyielding problems. There should be a periodic tracking of the targeted milestones so that one can have a clear idea of how the project is progressing.

If it’s behind schedule, you will have time to course correct and inform stakeholders well in advance.


Managing projects is tricky business. However, if you know what to look out for and make mitigation part of your process, your projects will be better for it.

Make use of the right tools and software to help you plan, track, schedule and manage your projects as efficiently as possible, and you’ll be on the right track to project success.