11 Causes of Software Project Delays

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One of the worst nightmares for any software company is the project delay. It causes a severe headache that invites many other problems. Even though challenges and risks are inevitable, there are certain times where they cause the project to fail, which is something anyone would want to avoid at any cost. So, a project manager must always be prepared and resist these incoming issues by understanding the causes of the software project delays.

Tons of causes obstruct the delivery of software projects on time. Some are within the control, whereas some are not. And it is the responsibility of a project manager to know about these.

So, below we have listed the common causes of software project delays.

11 common causes of software project delays

Improper planning and estimation

Improper planning is one of the biggest causes of software project delays. Without knowing what and how to do the tasks and how much time it will take to finish, complications are bound to arise. When you don’t have proper planning and estimations, it will be challenging to achieve success.

Even minor issues can be deadly enough to delay the project. Failure to do a task can hamper the following activities, which again need extra planning to estimate.

Besides, in each phase of the development process, you need a solid plan. Without it will be impossible to gather requirements, estimate, delegate roles, etc. To avoid software project delays, you need proper planning and estimation.

Unrealistic deadlines

Delivering projects on time is vital for any business. However, sometimes, the unrealistic deadlines from the clients make it hard for the development team to finish it on schedule. Sometimes, to make a good impression, the project managers set impractical goals. So, they overpromise, making it difficult for them to accomplish each task.

To avoid setting unrealistic deadlines, the project managers must communicate with the clients before becoming the victims. Moreover, the project managers must do estimations correctly before pitching them to the clients.

Lack of communication and teamwork

If there isn’t any teamwork, then project delays are bound to happen. And one of the leading causes of lack of collaboration is miscommunication. What if team members aren’t knowledgeable about their roles? What if they are doing the same task?

If team members aren’t aware of their responsibilities, the project will be behind schedule. Consequently, it will be challenging for the team to complete everything on time. Moreover, the quality of the project might not be as expected.

So, as a project manager, you should ensure that everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities. You need to define a proper communication channel to make sure that every member is up-to-date about the project.

Requirements/priorities challenges

Not every software project delay is from the side of the development team. Sometimes, clients are also responsible. Sometimes, they come up with new requests to be implemented in the project, which needs extra planning and time, causing delays. Priorities will change. Then, the development team has to come up with a new plan, timeline, etc.

To avoid such an issue, the project managers must communicate with the clients about changing requirements while signing the contract. They have to ensure that they need extra time and pay to handle it if such a situation arises.

Technological challenges

Not defining the proper communication channel is one of the technological challenges that cause project delays. Besides these, not being well-equipped with technology is the most significant reason. In the IT industry, everything comes down to tools and software. Without these, it is impossible to start a project. They make your work easier, faster, and efficient.

Moreover, the software fails to work sometimes, making it difficult for you to progress. Plus, the IT industry is rapidly growing, so the emergence of new technology and updates isn’t a new thing. However, using the same old version and the inability to use the latest tools causes project delays. They won’t work the way you want and may not give you the results.

And there are issues with integrating third-party apps. If you are unfamiliar and don’t know how to use the technology, you will face many problems ahead, which takes additional time.

To avoid this issue, your technology should be up-to-date. And if you face any problems integrating third-party apps, you should research thoroughly about them or take help from an experienced team member.

Uncommitted clients

One of the most significant causes of software project delays is uncommitted clients. Client involvement is crucial for the project’s success. However, they sometimes are uninvolved, leave everything to the development team, and wait for them to deliver the software. They don’t communicate regularly. And this troubles the team.

When this happens, the development team won’t be able to contact clients if issues arise or they want to know about the requirements. Thus, they will keep developing. And when the result isn’t as expected, the client will be dissatisfied with the work. As a result, the development team has to start all over again, which causes the project delay.

To avoid this issue, the client should be a part of the development process. As a project manager, you should ensure that they are involved in every phase.

Unexpected risks

Sometimes software projects get delayed due to unexpected risks. Mainly technical ones. There are two types of risks: known and unknown. You can mitigate the former ones, but the latter are beyond your control. They are likely to occur during the development process.

The unexpected risks can be market changes, the government’s new policies and regulations, etc.

To avoid such an issue, you must account for such a situation priorly and make estimations accordingly.

Lack of resources

To complete a project successfully on time, you need to plan your resources properly. However, sometimes, poor estimations and the inability to assess team skills cause the project to get delayed. And sometimes, there is a budget problem needed to hire sufficient staffing to complete the tasks.

The entire development process needs to be seamless. Even if one of the resources is inadequate or missing, it will hamper the whole project, causing the delay.

To avoid this issue, the project managers have to know if they have enough resources before signing the contract.

Inability to track the progress

The project managers have to shoulder many responsibilities. And tracking the project’s progress is one of them. It is their role to check whether the project is on the right track or not. If it isn’t, they have to communicate with the development team for the best approach to bring it back on the correct path.

Sometimes, the requirements change, so do plans. To ensure that these changes don’t hamper the overall project, the project managers have to communicate regularly with the team members and get adequate information. They have to make sure that everything is going according to plan. Otherwise, it will delay the launch of the project.

If the project isn’t delivered on time, then everyone will point at the project managers. It shows their inability to manage and control everything. It shows how inexperienced they are as a project manager.

To avoid this issue, the project managers have to regularly communicate with the team and monitor and verify the progress. They can work in Sprints where everyone will be focused on the tasks they are responsible for.

Employee turnover

It isn’t always the case that employees will work in a company for many years. Some leave after six months. Some after one year. Other times, they work for two years. At the same time, some projects run for months and months. So, what if a member leaves the company or falls sick in the middle of the project?

If you lose one of your key members in the mid-way, this will cause project delay. Even if you hire someone, learning about the project, building synergy and relationships takes time, which might be too late to complete the project on time. Moreover, the productivity rate might decrease.

So, to avoid this issue, the project manager or the company must ensure that the current member is present until the project finishes. And if someone is leaving, hiring a new one should be done as quickly as possible. Moreover, the company must have a backup plan if such a situation arises.

Lack of testing

Testing is a must in every phase of the development process to ensure that the bugs are fixed on time and results are promising and as expected. What if errors occur just before handing the final product to the clients? Not only will it require additional time to work and fix them, causing project delay, but your reputation and image will also be down.

It takes time to track the bugs and fix them, so the product must go through several test cycles.

To ensure that the product passes the quality test, the project managers must make sure that it goes through reviews and acceptance testing. Before every release, testing the project is a must.

Also, check out 15 Common Challenges in Software Project Management.

In Conclusion

Meeting deadlines is very crucial for every business. It boosts your reputation and ability. However, software project delays become inevitable sometimes. So, to avoid such a situation from arising, solid planning, realistic estimation, adequate resources, and communication are a must. By focusing on these factors, you will be able to deliver the project on time.

However, eliminating every risk is not an easy task. But with the correct planning, you can. So, to make your every project successful, be sure to look out for the above causes.

At Truemark, we make sure that every project is delivered on time. We regularly communicate with the development team to delegate roles, monitor the progress, and report it to the clients. We research every tool and software needed to complete the project priorly and ensure that everyone is well equipped. Moreover, we have experienced project managers to do proper planning and ensure everything is under control.

If you need any suggestions or want to work with us, please feel free to contact us.

References: Adamo Digital, Soltech

Cover Image Credits: Stories from Freepik

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