Common Challenges in Development Projects

Web and mobile app development projects do not always go to plan. In fact, 31.1% of software projects do not even make it to completion. Every development team is faced with many challenges throughout the course of the project. What allows the project to succeed is how they respond to these challenges.

Handling situations properly has a lot to do with their level of preparedness. This article gives you a heads up on the challenges you may face during a development project. It further gives tips on how to best overcome a challenge and proceed with the project as planned.

Unclear requirements

There is little that is more difficult and counter-productive than answering a wrongly asked question. Lack of proper and effective communication results in unclear requirements that may delay the project. The scope of the project needs to be clearly defined before any coding work begins. All the parties involved must be aware of the goals, schedule, and budget of the project.

Poor communication

Poor communication can cripple a development project before it has really even started. The most common form of poor communication is a lack of proper verbal and written communication skills. This can be a result of people having to have a long conversation only to drive home a single point.

However, lack of proper discussion channels can delay communication which impacts the project negatively. There are a number of communication and collaboration apps that development teams can use in order to communicate effectively. I have listed two of them below but there is a dozen more that you can find and use.

Slack

Slack allows you to create many teams. You can have different teams depending on the projects they are working on. The desktop, mobile and online app also allows you to communicate privately or publicly. You can either communicate via channels or private messages. It also allows you to view and search old messages that the team may have sent each before you arrived on a project.

Trello

Trello allows you to organize your work in boards, cards, and lists. You can build your team and assign tasks. You can then monitor the progress of your team members.

Scope creep

Scope creep is caused by additional work making its way into a project that was not initially agreed upon. The best way to go about it is small work "sprints" and stick to them. This allows you to complete the whole project in small "packets" that cannot be changed.

The whole idea of work sprints is to avoid making changes to the overall project scope. This helps you to stick to the budget and deadline.

Bad architecture/coding

Bad architectural decisions can ruin a good development project. Luckily, there are several ways to work around this. You have probably heard that there is no substitute for experience. You should bring on board at least one experienced and senior developer to manage and oversee the project. This will allow the project to proceed faster with fewer coding problems.

You can also instigate a recurring process of code reviews. This gives you a window to pick up any problems in the code early on. Your team will also get the chance to improve the code earlier on.

Lastly, you can implement pair programming. This involves having two programmers working together on the same task. One of the programmers will be coding while the other one will be observing the code. This allows the code to be reviewed in real time. It also promotes team learning and longer-term productivity.

For more tips on productive developer relationships, you can check out our article Tips for Productive Startup-Developer Relationships.