Why projects fail and how to succeed

Code Inspiration team is an international custom development company, having 7 years of experience developing different projects our management department always meets new clients  and help their project  to become successful. In this article we decided to share team’s thoughts why many projects with great ideas behind finally fail on the market and don’t reach the goal and rapid-results, in spite of all the initiative and efforts of their team members.

Why projects fail at the stage of market research

Of course, each case and project is unique. However, there is a formula of success, which helps most of the teams to avoid failure planning their activities and helping to reach the final goal of the project:

product success

What we have noticed is that many teams, especially startups or groups of individuals, willing to move on with a project, fail anyway on the stage of the research. A plan to spend some money and efforts on the first stage, to get to know whether others share your team’s enthusiasm regarding the project success  is always a good plan.

Keep in mind, that today, there are several ways to do the research for your team with a very little budget. Make a concept or a simple prototype of the project and share it in social networks and communities, where potential users might be located. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other channels will help your team to get a feedback from people, and as the practice says, at this early stage, they will already provide you with additional ideas or points of view you have never thought about.

Of course, if the budget of your team  permits, you can plan tests using some groups of people (so called usability testing of the project), providing members of that group with a questionnaire, to monitor their efforts to use the functionality and understand the main stream of the project’s idea. The main idea is, don’t use only your team members in order to reach rapid-results in testing.

As the practice shows, on this early stage of the project, your team will already see the potential feedback about the project, will have ideas how to improve your management, development and marketing strategy. You might also get a bit disappointed seeing that your team’s initiative doesn’t meet expectations of your potential users. In this case, your team will see at the early stage the risk of failure anyway; however it will save you from spending more time, efforts and budget on the plan that is likely to be a complete failure on the market.

Why projects fail at the development stage

Let’s move to the second point. How and where can your team find a good development team and how to avoid failure of the project at this stage.

Having thousands of custom development agencies, with different members and multiple proposals, someone who has never worked in IT might be lost.

Here are some tips for your team, which will help you to plan the management of your project appropriately and will help you to avoid mistakes most of the teams do at this stage moving forward to rapid-results:

  • First of all we will advise your team members to pay attention to the management department and manager who will be working with you on your project. Management approach and initiative manager, who is planning the development team appropriately and who is on the same wave with your team will bring the project to success.
  • Pay attention to the price. If the price is 3 or 5 times less than general price of other teams’ proposals, 99% something is wrong. It is very likely it will be a fake which will swipe all your efforts in management of your project and the risk of fail will be extremely big.
  • If you are looking for an outsourcing company because the price on your local market is too high – pay attention to the language barrier, if you already don’t fully understand each other at stage of basic activities it is likely that the software would not meet your expectations.
  • Plan to check reviews from previous customers, paying attention to the management approach and managers’ characteristics. The most popular resource which provides with full information about the projects the company worked on with clients is clutch.co. They do their personal research and provide proven information regarding manager’s initiatives, activities, planning, goals, risks and rapid-results reached with the development company. For nowadays, it is considered to be the most verified resource for outsourcing companies and for local development agencies.
  • Don’t risk signing the first version of the contract for the project; check well the contract signed with the development company or freelancer selected.
  • Manager who applies agile methodology on the projects is considered to be a very good practice. According to Agile you have 3 weeks iterations and you are flexible to stop works in case you see that something goes wrong. In this case you will close the invoice only for the iteration which is already done and will avoid the situation when half of the budget was spent as a prepayment and nothing was done at all.
  • Try to find a company with a flexible approach to your project and initiative people in the company with whom you will be comfortable to work with. In case you are in the very beginning, it might make sense to choose a little company rather than a big one, in little companies you won’t go from manager to manager in case of an issue at the stage of project’s launch. All communications and additional activities in most of big companies are chargeable as well, so a proven little company might be a better choice for you to start in order to reach the goal.
  • If you are planning to move forward with the project and you have decided to work with a freelancer, remember, relying only on one individual or two is very risky, he can be ill, might need to leave for a weekend or might have any other activities, so if a company can guarantee you maintenance of your project and be responsible for maintenance plan it might be a better choice for you.
  • Many companies refer to the right selection of the technological stack, however, as the practice shows, most of the software is possible to be developed using different technologies and they will operate well, so pay attention, when someone will advise you a certain technological stack in most cases it may be simply the necessity to load developers. Or if you are hiring a freelancer, he will use the technologies and frameworks he already knows for the project. So all those initiatives, plans and activities around the technological stack in 50% of the cases turn into the goal of loading developers. And it is not that bad, because the plan for the project is to make it operate well, and for many projects it is possible to reach the rapid-results using different technological stack.

This list can be long and if there would be interest from the side of our readers we will proceed sharing our research regarding each point in details, providing you with more and more possible activities and recommendations on each stage of your project’s lifecycle. For now, let’s proceed to the last point, which is progressive marketing of your project.

Why projects fail at the marketing stage

In this article, we want to draw your attention that at this stage the following situation is really “popular”. The client is out of the initial budget for the project, because the expenses on the development took all the initial funding of the project.

Here let us outline few situations we have had working on different projects. The client started doing marketing research on the stage of development and saw a great list of changes which should be applied to the project, in order to apply those changes the development company needed to redo lots of logic of the software in order to achieve rapid-results. In the end this initiative led to the situation, when the budget for the project grew bigger than had been estimated initially.

The customer wanted to start with an MVP of their project, but in the end it turned out that some of the “potential investors” were willing to see more features in the basic version of the project. Not willing to start with an MVP project the customer decided to add those features paying them from the initial budget in order to attract those potentially interested investors. However, something went wrong, and they changed their mind to invest into this project in the end.

So, the advice is, better start with something little, but working well and spend some money on marketing. This will help you to reach wide audience and attract investments for the project.

If your project’s budget permits, there are lots of proven marketing agencies, which will help you with the consultancy and add their value so that the product reaches its users.

The last advice we can give you in this article, be patient, give your project time to attract customers, don’t make the software expensive the first time you launch it, provide discounts or even better keep it free for some time, until people get used to it and will be ready to pay. There are also many other ways of monetization for the project, such as advertising in your software, for example, or paid features together with the general functionality which you can use for free.

We believe that we have outlined particular cases why do projects fail.

Finishing the article, we would like to add, if you are in the very beginning of making your idea come true – pay attention to the details at any stage and keeping in mind this simple formula we outlined in the very beginning. Bringing your product or service to success is a hard work, however, if you have started, do everything possible and impossible to reach the goal.

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