3 Signs Your Client's Development is Headed in the Wrong Direction

October 10, 2014

By Mike McAuliffe

3_Signs_Your_Clients_Development_is_Headed_in_the_Wrong_Direction__Outsourcing a software development project is often an ideal choice from both a monetary and a timeline standpoint as well as supplementing any technical skills your agencies team might be lacking.

More often than not, when you outsource software development projects to a specialized team, you will find that your project was completed on-time, within budget, and offered a seamless transition for the end user or consumer. However, no matter how smoothly the project seems to be going, it is important that you stay on top of things and watch out for any red flags.

Unfortunately, without the right software development team your development project can quickly take a turn for the worst. To ensure that your client’s software development is headed in the right direction, be on the look out for these three red flags.

1. Development Team is Learning Throughout the Project

When a development team is learning throughout a project, the project becomes prone to delays and potential unforeseen errors within the code.

In order to determine if your hired team is learning on the job, you should be on the lookout for the following items:

  • Delayed results
  • Poor test results on both the automated and manual testing
  • Poor Quality Assurance (QA) testing results
  • Failure to continuously deliver items within the allocated timeline and budget

It’s not bad for a company to oversell its skills…to a degree. It shows their ambition and desire to grow: all good qualities. But that means you must be attentive throughout the process, ensuring they are meeting necessary markers. Anything less than this and your project could be headed for disaster.

2. Poor Communication

Poor communication can be a concern bigger than security or the safety of your intellectual property. Keeping in touch with your offshore team is critical to the success of your clients software development project. The idea seems pretty simple, but when you factor in accents and time zones, your ability to effectively communicate can diminish.

Poor communication can lead to the following repercussions:

  • Lack of general project understanding
  • Difficulty discussing problems and subsequent solutions
  • Uncertainty of expectations and deadlines
  • Missed opportunities to innovate
  • An unhappy team, which leads to less than ideal project work and results

To ensure clear, effective communication foster a culture where your “virtual door” is always open. In general, this means bringing your outsourced team as close to your in-house group as possible: schedule periodic video conference calls, share successes and challenges, solicit their opinions on the project and ideas for improvement, etc.

3. Deliverables Aren't Meeting Deadlines

One of the typical perks to outsourcing software development projects is that they are completed on-time. However, in order for a project to be finished on-time, it is important that all of the previous deliverables meet their deadlines. Missing one deadline makes it easier (and possibly more likely) for your partner to miss a second deadline and a third.

We see clients take the attitude of, "It is ok that we missed one deadline. It was small anyway." Unfortunately, this type of thinking will soon find you with a project that is so far behind schedule that it is now too costly to continue the development work.

In order to avoid this scenario, we suggest that you practice the following steps:

  • Address the importance of deadlines at the outset of the software development project
  • Make sure that you provide timely feedback at all deliverable stages
  • Let the team know of any consequences for missed timelines (This can usually be built as clauses within the initial contract.)
  • Provide praise and show an appreciation when deadlines are met on-time or ahead of schedule

Conclusion

By keeping an eye out for the above three signs, you will not only be doing yourself a favor, but you will be taking a few simple steps towards ensuring that your clients software development project is delivered on-time, within budget, and exceeds both yours and your clients expectations.

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