It takes a variety of resources such as people, money, time, and materials to build a successful software package. The size of a software package doesn’t matter as all of the activities mentioned below are taken care of during the development process.
Since computer science began in the 1950’s to present, it has been found that 85% of all software projects are failures.
Many reasons contribute to failed software.
- Breaking project schedules
- Busting time and materials budgets
- Not completing a project
- Successfully delivering software but the client doesn’t use it for lack of quick reference documentation.
In other statistics and through personal experience, I’ve found this to be true, 35% to 75% of an allotted schedule should be contributed to the planning of a successful project. However, in reality, it seems that barely 10% to 25% of a project schedule is spent in preparation, and the rest is in coding, debugging, and too many rewrites.
Software Package Headaches
Despite my personal preference to get coding quickly, I dislike writing bad code over and over again from the lack of comprehensive specifications and guidelines. Yes, I’ve learned the hard way that even on a 10-hour project, I should spend a couple of hours planning so that it doesn’t become a profit losing 20-hour project.
The following activities are all components of efficient software package development.
- System Specification
- Requirements Analysis
- Architectural Design
- Detailed Design
- Coding and Debugging
- Unit Testing
- System Testing
When followed sequentially or through a mixed cycle, a project’s success will significantly increase. Please understand, though, a successful project needs commitment and buy-in from all parties involved. Otherwise, a creeping may come into play and morale drops from lack of a clear end point.
When working with a client and first discussing a web development project I use the below as a quick way to discuss with them functions that need to be considered in the long run for a triumphant project.
- Testing and Delivery
Through these and the explanation of various Internet technologies out there; I help clients understand that a website does take more work than just typing it in Microsoft Word and uploading it as an HTML document. A site can be built that way, but many limitations are thereby set in place.
A first-rate project no matter how small nor large is not cheap, but can come inexpensively through the use of Open Source code bases. Fortunately, the days of $250/hour coding are passing and becoming a much more reasonable $35/hour to $125/hour depending on project complexity and technologies being used.
In closing, I’d like to emphasize the fact that good projects take resources, through planning commitment and project specification commitments, though, expenditures are minimized.