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We’ve learnt the hard way how important it is to scope and manage software projects properly. In broad terms this means being pessimistic and a control freak when all you want is to be creative and think about the finished product! If you work to avoid these 3 mistakes, your software or web project is bound to go smoothly.

GLOSSING OVER 3RD PARTY PROVIDERS

Even when working on a bespoke software project, there are times when a 3rd party API or solution makes the whole thing possible. If you are using any 3rd party (or, indeed, open source) products then make sure you have everything researched and confirmed during the scoping stages. That means any tiny aspect that could fall down from their side needs to be documented: might their company ownership change? Who will deal with you if your main contact leaves? When are they planning their next patch or new release? How willing are they to meet custom requirements? You get the idea.

NOT PROTOTYPING THOROUGHLY ENOUGH BEFORE STARTING DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

Wireframing is not very sexy. Not glossy or exciting, it doesn’t even look like the fabulous product you can’t wait to launch. But… by failing to create thorough, fully functional prototypes you are likely to waste a lot of your project’s budget for no good reason. Scope it, prototype it, test it, tweak it, test and test and test it some more. After that, the design and build will be a cinch, without any inefficient to-ing and fro-ing during these more labour-intensive project stages.

ALLOWING SOFTWARE SCOPE CREEP BECAUSE OF INSUFFICIENT PLANNING

It’s a heart sinking moment when half way through a project you come up against a difference in opinion around a software feature. One party assumed that of course that feature would be included I mean it was core to the whole idea, right? The other party has never heard mention of this feature and sees that it is not advisable for this stage of the business. Of course, it is irrelevant who is right or wrong. The point is that by creating the right documentation and having thorough scoping sessions from the outset, everything gets put on paper and agreed by both parties. No nasty surprises. Skydiving pic’ thanks to Wales Gibbons http://www.flickr.com/photos/9678460@N07/

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