Developing software is not easy with technologies constantly evolving. Learn about the biggest software development challenges companies face today and what they can do to overcome them.
Technologies and industry standards are constantly evolving and changing, and in that context, developing software is never an easy job. However, we are used to it, and this is part of the business and how the industry works today.
The IT and software industry is dynamic, vast, and of course, highly complex. New developments, implementations, infrastructure-related projects, migrations, upgrades, and enhancements are a constant within this industry. Underneath all that, there are several determining factors that contribute to these activities.
Knowing this, we want to uncover the main challenges we should face in software development projects and some advice to keep them from silently appearing. Let’s be prepared for them!
Take a look at this reading: When a software development project becomes essential
1. Complex by default
When you develop new software, find and fix issues, or update one that already exists, there is a very important aspect to consider: the system will always be complex. The main reason for this is that there are multiple factors involved throughout the development process, in every stage, from both the client and software team sides. The people working on the project, diversity of required skills, often limited budget and time, different ideas and contexts, technologies, changes within the companies or industries, interactions, infrastructure, behavior of the market, priorities, tools, culture, time zones, communication, etc. All these elements will need to be aligned and organized practically.
2. Interactions with other software systems
There are multiple cases of software being collaborative with each other. These cases include software running based on an operating system, software running in isolated containers, or simply logging on to an application with the user’s credentials created in another application, just to mention a few. Although this situation adds more complexity to what is already complex, having different systems and programs interacting and working with each other is an excellent way to obtain a long list of features and possibilities. As expected, several software systems working simultaneously will increase the complexity even more, which sends us back to item number one.
3. Manage the changes
One of the most common challenges you will face in software development projects is keeping up with the changes that will likely appear during the process in terms of software design and requirements. When the application is being created from scratch, the challenge becomes more frequent. Developing software is not a static effort. Rather, it should be constantly updated, and we must be prepared for that. Implementing a plan to manage changes is an essential factor for success, which will help the team understand how those changes affect the design and usage of the software.
4. Oriented to users
Some people have the rule of “Don’t make it any more complex than it needs to be,” but this is not enough. There is a need to go further; therefore, “Keep it simple” should be added to the rule, especially when the application is widely used. In addition to that, to obtain great value, some items should not be underestimated, such as the importance of a beautifully designed and comfortable user interface. Moreover, adding small details to make navigation and accessibility easier can positively impact productivity and people’s satisfaction.
5. The right people to build it
Be sure you have the right professionals to develop the software project. Look for people with the skills required for your specific needs. Even more important, look for people eager to constantly learn new capabilities so they can move with the flow of changes, typical of the industry as we have mentioned. If you are thinking in the long term, consider that today’s skills required might not be that important in the next three years. If you do not have the right team (internally) to deal with the development, then you can start thinking about outsourcing. Choosing the right software development company is as effective as having the right people within your company.
6. Learning curve
The learning curve has a considerable impact on software development and is unavoidable if you add new technology to the project. The learning curve should be addressed in a controlled environment with proofs of concepts (PoC) before you start using the technology. Later, all the findings and results should be exposed, both positive and negative aspects, so the entire team can benefit from the insights collected.
More insights: 8 leadership soft skills to thrive in your projects
7. Time and budget limits
Last but not least, we need to add the two crucial elements that every project has implicit: time and budget. Every single project was, is, and will be determined by these two limits. Software development is an expensive time game. Everything takes time — a productive database migration, developing a new feature, bug fixing, and creating a fresh new application. Projects can last months or even years, and we need to be prepared to deal with them.
When working on software projects, we must bear in mind these challenges to prevent possible problems and obstacles during the development process. Properly tackling them will define the path of success or failure. These may not be the only ones, but they are a solid starting point to work on. Remember to always embrace teamwork, encourage the learning of new skills, make an effort to manage problems when they come, and analyze all the variables and factors that can affect the final product. Have you found other challenges in your software development projects? How are you handling them?
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