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Top Software Project Delays, and What to do About Them

August 11, 2010—On time, on budget. This is the mantra of software project managers everywhere. How often are projects completed on time? Certainly not as often as we’d all like.

Let’s take a look at a few common reasons software projects are delayed, and what you may be able to do about it:

  1. Securing project approval. Especially with complex projects, this is an extremely common issue. There are often many stakeholders and many resource and budget concerns. However, by delaying the decision-making process too long teams risk losing resources to another project, or worse, employee get frustrated and lose motivation from delays. Build a sense of urgency by helping management understand the risks of a lengthy approval timeline.
  2. Waiting for resources. As mentioned above, losing resources to other projects is a major risk in delayed approvals. This is a larger issue when projects need a specialized, in-demand skillset. Ask yourself whether the organization has the resources to complete all projects successfully. Consider whether you need to work with an outsourced service provider—especially when you’re short on specific skills and expertise.
  3. Moving target: requirements. While some may feel the need to have all their ducks in a row before starting a project, let’s face it, requirements change. Even if the requirements are set before start—they are likely to change, so help stakeholders understand that and get started!

Understand the source of your project’s schedule delays and work to change the situation. While some things may be out of your control, you can help educate and communicate with stakeholders to get your project started more quickly and increase the chances of on-time completion.

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