When software project development delays occur, customers have several pain points in addition to their frustration. Addressing some of these pain points can alleviate their difficulties and fix the project in a feasible manner.
Primary Pain Points for Customers Caused by Delays
The first and obvious pain point for customers is when QA teams are behind on the project timeline that had been communicated with their sales and management teams. This causes blame and frustration from both sales and management which affects the customer and the QA team involved.
Communicating the accurate timeline for a project can prevent these issues related with delays significantly. Trying to aim for a zealous and unrealistic timeline will only result in delays and difficulties. It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver in regards to the timeline.
Another customer pain point is relaying the risks of the project before delays occur. Product managers should explicitly go over all the risks associated with a project and explain what instances can cause a delay in a project.
If the customer and the QA team are on the same page in regards to considering risk, this will make delays more understandable. In addition to risks, product managers should also mention all possible concerns they have with a project. Communicating the potential concerns early allows the QA team, product manager and customer to incorporate ways to address the concerns in a plan. This gives everyone a response plan in case the possible concerns arise in a project. If product managers state concerns, risks and improve communication, this will address the majority of the pain points customers have with software project development delays.
How Should Project Managers Navigate Anticipated Delays?
Project managers can do several things to manage software project development delays. The first and most important aspect of managing delays is transparent communication.
Involving all stakeholders in the project like the customer and QA team is necessary to minimize frustrations and finish the project quickly. Clearly communicating the exact reasons why a delay is anticipated to occur is crucial so the involved team members can accommodate for the work needed from them.
After communicating the cause of delays, it’s important to continually update all the stakeholders in a project of the progress the team is making frequently. This frequent communication is necessary to produce the project at its earliest time and it lets everyone know what their responsibilities are.
Next, project managers should also gather any resources required to tackle the delay. Assessing the current resources project managers have is necessary because some teams simply do not have enough time or staff to finish a project in a timely manner. It’s the project manager’s responsibility to evaluate whether additional staff are needed to complete the project. Additional temporary staffing can help alleviate the operational pressures in a cost-effective manner and avoid software project development delays.
How can Project Managers Prevent Software Project Development Delays?
There are several preventative measures project managers can take to prevent software project development delays.
First, the project manager must communicate when specific features and components will be available for release. This simple clarification can prevent misunderstandings, frustrations and delays significantly. If the customer is aware of exactly when features will be released, this prevents delays significantly.
Project managers must also ensure that QA teams are being highly productive, so they can develop more features. Ensuring the productivity of teams allows product managers to gauge the progress of projects and how much more work their teams can produce.
Project managers should also compliment the customer’s analysis of requirements. This means that project managers should ask questions on documentation and find gaps in the requirements and user stories. By doing this, product managers will ensure everyone has a clear understanding of the functionalities.
Project managers should emphasize establishing and improving the testing process. The testing process can be very time consuming if there is not an established procedure that allows for adequate testing before the release of a product. Testing quickly, documenting the process and improving it repeatedly is needed to improve the overall testing process.
In addition to testing, managers should not report invalid bugs. Reporting invalid bugs will make the customer have more work to triage all the defects. This additional overhead will slow down testing processes and contribute to the delay of a project.
What Are Customer Preferences in Project Development?
In project development, there are several preferences customers have when working with project managers to ease processes. One of the primary preferences customers enjoy is having the flexibility to adjust to their priorities.
During the beginning stages of a project, a customer will outline their general goals, deadlines and expectations. The flexibility they request doesn’t mean unreasonable deadlines or a complete shift, the flexibility refers to minor pivots in the project to accommodate for unseen circumstances. Additionally, customers like defects to be well-documented; well-documented defects are necessary to meet project deadlines
With well-documented defects, the customers can accurately address the defect and allow for proper defect management. The customers also prefer that project managers take a holistic approach and take care of the entire product instead of just their own particular portion. When project managers take ownership of the entire product, the team can find problems that are hard to predict. Product ownership helps managers approach projects with a long-term approach; with this vision, product managers will take the best approaches long-term instead of focusing on avoiding minor day-to-day obstacles. Other customer preferences include:
- Catching errors ASAP to prevent software project development delays
- Elimination of duplication, waste and inefficiency
- 0 customer-found defects
- Suggestions/recommendations from product managers
- Clean defect backlog
If you’d like more information on how to prevent software project development delays, I’m happy to talk with you at any time.