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May 21, 2019

5 Ways to Avoid Custom Software Project Stalls

To get your custom software project developed on time, scope and budget, it takes a team of experts – developers, designers and project managers – to make sure your project is on the right course to completion. Seems easy enough, right? Let’s take a step back and throw down a superb metaphor to help you avoid custom software project stalls on your next big development project.

A Symphony of Software

If you will, imagine your custom software project is a beautiful symphony. It takes every instrument in the orchestra to play their part correctly and in sync to create that melodious end product. The instruments here are developers, UX/UI designers and quality assurance engineers. You also have a conductor, the project manager. And finally, the sheet music; an agile software development approach keeping all processes collaborative and smooth.

With all those components in place, you should be making beautiful music, yes?

Well, most of the time, the answer is yes. Most of the time, the symphony concludes and you get a standing ovation. In custom software development, only 34% of projects receive the thunderous applause with roses thrown at their feet. You read that correctly! Sixty-six percent of software projects stall or come to a screeching halt, costing the client time, money, potential investors, and could increase the gap between development and time-to-market. In those cases, the symphony doesn’t even begin; in fact, the concert hall goes up in a fireball.

So how do you ensure that your custom software project becomes a perfect concerto? (Yes, we’re still using metaphors). You put in a series of checks before you even begin searching for your custom software development partner. Vet the instruments, the conductor AND the music prior to signing that contract.

Vetting the Orchestra

Here are five ways to ensure your custom software project produces sweet, sweet music with the right custom software development partner.

Demand Experience

Find a company that has a real track record. They need to have experience in more than just writing code; your ideal dev shop should have experience leading projects from concept and implementation to support.

Ask for References

Get a few client references to contact. You definitely want to vet your dev shop with more than just a few Google reviews. Make sure they can point to a client that can say, “they were professional and the quality of their work was spectacular.”

Demand Value

Rather than demanding cost, (ie. going straight to a cheap offshore or ultra-cheap, nearshore dev shop) find a dev partner whose cost/benefit ratio is balanced out. You never want the cheapest value, but you never want the most expensive guy. Sure, you’ll pay 1/10th the build cost going offshore, but typically offshores deliver strictly ‘the build’ – no discovery, no strategy.

Demand Communication Skills

Writing is the superpower of any credible vendor. If a dev firm can’t communicate or explain clearly in business nomenclature – not solely tech speak – what it is they’re offering and how the client is going to benefit from partnering with them, they can’t execute. Oftentimes, working with devs who don’t share your primary language can often create a disconnect in communication and concepts.


A lot of custom dev shops sell clients the A Team, but when the project is acquired, clients get assigned the B team. This classic bait and switch is all too frequent in this industry. Demand you’re getting the A Team and make sure you’re getting a dedicated project manager to oversee the process, scrums, communications, etc. Use this guide to help you get a clear understanding of a project manager’s role.

Using these five points as a baseline to finding your ideal custom software partner will help you avoid potential pitfalls along the way; pitfalls which can cause your project to stall, or worse, stop indefinitely.

Ultimately, you want your custom software project, whether it be a custom mobile app or a website, to play sweet, sweet music. Putting this guide to the test will help you weed out a flat trumpet or a sharp flute. Okay, we’ll stop with the metaphors now.

Give us a jingle

Do you have any questions about these pointers? How can we help? For a free consultation about your idea or project, email [email protected] or call 559 560 3300 today. Prepare for your consult with this handy dandy guide.

If you’re interested in uncovering the tech possibilities available to your organization or want to find more ways to increase your ROI with technology, click this link to schedule some time with one of our experts.