8 Custom Software Project Pitfalls and What Zyris Does Differently to Prevent Them
1. Missed deliverables and deadlines
Project delays can be caused by any number of reasons. At a high-level, they can be caused by either the developer or customer. Even the most minute delay can result in extensive capital loses and negatively impact your return on investment.
The key to mitigating the risk of delay is to adopt and operate under a strict proven process. At Zyris, we’ve developed a process that works specifically for custom software development projects. The key to ensuring that our process works is transparency. We tell our customers everything about their software project, and we ensure that we have all of the information that we need about their software needs. For over a decade, the Zyris team is proud to say that 100% of our projects have been completed on time or ahead of schedule.
2. Scope or Feature Creep
Custom software projects have a tendency to include too many features. From the original concept, visionaries and stakeholders can sometimes be wooed by the allure of adding or changing features as they see things start come together. This can happen particularly in cases where software features can be amended throughout the project. Additionally, evolving business needs or a changing market landscape can also affect feature aspects of custom software.
In these instances, some companies refer back to product scope documentation as a guide to ensure that the project doesn’t succumb to scope creep. At Zyris, our process ensures that all requirements are thoroughly signed off on before work begins. In the rare event that a critical piece of functionality was identified after development has begun, all development is halted and the project is returned to our ‘pre-design’ phase to eliminate most problems that can occur as a result of scope creep.
3. This is Not the Software We Asked For
It’s like opening a present! You were totally expecting that one thing you’ve always dreamed of. You untie the fancy ribbon bow, tear the perfectly patterned paper wrapping, open the fresh box package and in all of its glory, the object inside was…
…just not what you were expecting at all.
This is the main reason to adopt or create a process. At Zyris, right from the beginning, in our pre-design phase, we meet with our customers to ensure that we completely understand not only their software needs, but the motivations, goals, and stakeholders behind any software we design, develop, or customize. This process, combined with the fact that we rigorously document every aspect of the project in a project proposal, ensures that the final product not only suits our customer’s needs exactly but also exceeds their expectations.
4. Where did my Developers Go? I Haven’t Heard from Them in Weeks.
No one likes a nag. What’s worse is when you feel like you’re nagging the team that’s building your software for you because you’re never sure what’s going on with your custom software project, or what stage of the project they’re working on. Sometimes, even those regular status meetings that got scheduled in your calendar get missed or pushed out for one reason or another. At the end of the day, you just don’t know what’s going on.
Behold, exhibit A. The custom software development process. As well, behold exhibit B. The detailed design documentation. At Zyris, our process requires we document every aspect of the project in a proposal before we begin any work—all aspects of the project are visible in this proposal, minimizing any potential for communication breakdowns. Additionally, since we create detailed designs during the design phase which eventually is what we build during the development phase, we ensure maximum transparency throughout the project.
5. My Software is Full of Bugs or Doesn’t Work at All. Features are Missing
The end result of broken or buggy software happens all too often. It’s always a challenge to hire the right experts to help your business build the custom software product that you’ve envisioned for your business. Even those most experienced software development companies get this wrong sometimes. This can happen due to shifting development priorities, poor internal project management, in-comprehensive testing practices, a misunderstanding of the business requirements, or a plethora of other reasons.
There are two primary ways to ensure that your custom software project hits the expectations target accurately. These are both the responsibility of the development team to lead. We utilize a combination of our internal development processes and a proprietary custom software development framework called, ‘The Zyris Framework’ that ensures that all software we design and develop is stable and working as expected before ever being put in front of a user. The Zyris Framework was designed from the ground up to support extensive testing whereby even the smallest bug is found quickly and efficiently during development. In addition, The Zyris Framework is one of the only software development frameworks that offer full stack unit testing, minimizing the potential for any unexpected bugs or malfunctions.
6. This Software is Way Too Complicated. It’s Highly Over Engineered for a Simple Solution
It’s like opening up a DYI project from the store, and the instruction manual is not only written with bad grammar, but there seems to be a few steps missing in the process. How do they get the peanut butter in the middle of that Reese Peanut Butter Cup?
At Zyris, our primary goal when designing, developing, or customizing software is to ensure the final solution meets our client’s needs exactly. It’s because of our process that we ensure every solution we propose and eventually implement for our customers suits the current and future needs without unnecessary or expensive complexity.
7. My Company Doesn’t Own the Source Code?
Have you ever tried to untangle some string, or that pile of extension cords that was rolled up nicely at one time? That’s what it can be like untangling what code you own and what code you don’t with a lot of custom software projects.
There are numerous existing frameworks built by software development firms that offer customers minimal cost savings but little to no ownership of the developed codebase. As a result, companies who choose this approach to save a few dollars ended up unintentionally transferring ownership of their intellectual property to the software development firm, who then turned around and licensed the same software to the customer’s competitors, increasing their own bottom line. With The Zyris Framework, this is not a concern. Every project—small or large—developed utilizing our proprietary framework belongs to you, our customer, and not us. In essence, you own what you pay us to build for you, no exceptions. The only ownership we maintain is over any functionality bundled with The Zyris Framework, which is clearly documented and licensed annually to our clients.
8. My Software Isn’t Secure. My Company Data is at Risk
Software security is no joke. The number of potential vulnerabilities to your data grows by the day, and every piece of new software that you connect from the outside world to your internal infrastructure puts your company at further risk. You need software that you know is monitored, well kept, and maintained.
Most software development firms focus heavily on ensuring that they’re making their target margins with the lowest cost possible. In most cases software security is typically added after the fact or worse, after a security breach.
This is not the way we do things: at Zyris, security is a critical part of development from day one. This initial consideration for security greatly decreases the potential for vulnerabilities that could be present in any developed software. We frequently update The Zyris Framework and software solutions that we build for our customers to meet or exceed industry standards for application security, ensuring that all of our customers that utilize our framework receive ongoing protection as new vulnerabilities or attacks are discovered. Additionally, customers with active licenses for The Zyris Framework receive unlimited updates as they’re released, ensuring they’re always protected without the need for additional capital investment.
Concluding Thoughts and the Way Forward!
We understand that custom software development is a tricky business—but with a carefully planned and thorough development process, with rigorous documentation detailing every step taken, as well as meticulously tested and maintained code, all of these common challenges in software development can be avoided.
At Zyris, we want to make sure our clients are with us, every step of the way. With The Zyris Framework, our clients can be assured that every piece of the puzzle, every cog and every gear, every step of the development process is accounted for and made transparent.
Custom software development is a vast and deep field! For more information on other challenges (and solutions to those challenges) within custom software development, please contact the Zyris Software team!