5 common mistakes in IT projects

The customer is always right. It’s true, but when you finally became a client, it turns out it’s not that easy. Being a decision-maker in a software development project involves enormous responsibility. Learn about 5 common mistakes you can avoid in app development projects.

TL;DR:

The most common mistakes in IT Project Management:

  1. Vague project scope
  2. No Product Owner
  3. Poor communication with the dev team
  4. Ignoring the process
  5. No performance indicators

When you’re a customer

When developing your mobile or web application, you need to focus on the project goals, requirements, features and deadlines. You are as responsible for the success as your dev team is. Being aware of these 5 mistakes may help you gain success.

1. Vague project scope

Scope should have strong boundaries

The project scope consists of specific goals, deliverables, tasks, costs and deadlines. It should be quite specific so as to avoid communication errors (even if it’s just the MVP for a startup). When everyone involved in the project understands its specification, work is going more effectively and quickly. Because instead of continually asking questions, everyone can focus on their tasks.

In addition: the better the scope, the easier it is to make changes! It’s natural that features of every project can change during the process. That’s why I like to work in agile lifecycle management, which is always ready for changes (you can read more about agile SCRUM methodology here).

2. No Product Owner

It doesn’t matter whether it’s yourself, someone in your company or even in your software agency. There are several characteristics of a good Product Owner:

  • It has to be someone who is tech-savvy and understands IT language
  • Understands end-customer needs
  • He’s there for the team during planning and reviewing
  • Is able to quickly approve/reject implemented functionalities
  • Not someone you saved money on

A lack of Product Owner in the project is a recipe for disaster.

3. Poor communication with your team

There’s one most important rule in Process Management: regular meetings with your team. It’s critical for the project to keep everyone informed about decisions, exceptions, changes and so on. Good communication prevents mistakes and errors, which can damage your budget.

4. Ignoring the process

Make sure that you can see the process

It’s very important to ensure that a project is process-driven and is using a Project Management methodology (for example Agile PLM). Make sure that the process is clear and understandable. The best way to follow is to get access to the tool that is being used by your team for project management. Then you can evaluate how your team works and control the budget.

5. Lack of ways to measure success

Try answer these questions at the very beginning of a project:

  • What will make the project successful?
  • When and how will it provide value for end-users?
  • How can I evaluate my team work?

If there are no ways to measure success, you won’t be able to assess whether the work is already done, how well it was done or if end-users are satisfied etc.

Summary

When you’re the client in an app development project:

  • Make the project scope as specific and clear as possible
  • Designate a Product Owner for your web or mobile application development
  • Be in regular contact with the software company’s dev team
  • Make a habit of checking project workflow and budget
  • Determine ways to measure success at so you can evaluate the project at the end

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Originally published at blog.zaven.co on August 5, 2016.