How to Avoid Business Software Delays and Abandonment

JP Lessard
September 7, 2016
7 min read
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Get the Most from Your Business Software Development

When adapting new technologies for your business, you want to achieve your end goal with as little friction as possible. However, when implementing new solutions, it’s not uncommon for your current business processes, people, and productivity to be affected by the transition to new solutions. This transition period is reason enough for many businesses to think twice about implementing a new solution or continuing on with a current project.

While transitions can temporarily have a negative impact on your business, the end result should be a newly implemented solution that makes your business better and more efficient for the long-run. The longer your business waits to implement the necessary changes, the more drastic transitions become and the larger the opportunity cost will be.

The cost of not moving forward will become more harmful to your business the longer you wait, so it’s important to keep up with research and development in your industry that will allow your business to innovate, thrive, and keep your eye on your long term goals.

So what if you’re already in the development stages of your new solution, but your testing or transition isn’t going as expected? When is it worth delaying the implementation of that project? At what point should you abandon a project, if ever? And how can you salvage what seems to be a lost cause? Just because your project isn’t going as planned, it doesn’t mean all is lost. Here we’ll break down your options:

Is it Worth Delaying Your Software’s Implementation?

When you or your users first start testing out a new solution, you will almost always find flaws in what has been developed. Whether they are a result of missed requirements, changes in the way your business runs, problems or bugs with the system itself, or any number of other reasons is an entirely different subjectthe bottom line is, you are where you are and need to decide how to move ahead.

You have a timeline, and now you’re thinking that maybe you should delay that in order to address some of these issues. While you certainly want as smooth a transition and as little business disruption as possible, you also want to calculate the cost of delaying the new project. Know which issues are deal breakers — things that will stop you from serving your customers or operating your core business on a daily basis — and delay the project in those cases until they have been resolved.

Other issues may be minor inconveniences or irritation, such as a clunky process or a new way of doing things, and for those it is probably worth considering living with them for a short time while they are addressed.

Realize that implementation will be a bumpy road, yet there is a smoother road ahead. The sooner you start down the bumpy road, the sooner you’ll reach smooth pavement. When moving forward with your software development, always consider the potential cost of not having the necessary improvements in place versus the costs of any transitional issues that may occur in the short-term.

How to Salvage a Software Implementation When It Seems Like a Lost Cause

There are ways to salvage projects, turning them into business solutions that positively impact your business, even when it’s clear they won’t yield their originally intended results. Instead of abandoning or scrapping the whole project, try to narrow the project down to what gives you a good return on investment.

If you’re focusing on five things and it’s not working, focus on one. Developing new solutions is an ongoing process, so start with the process that is the most crucial to your success, and add on the others when business conditions allow for a smoother transition. Don’t expend your business resources to the point of no return—sometimes there’s no direct route to recovering, but you need to take a step back in order to see and set a new path.

Letting a failing project go on, instead of refocusing the solution or scaling down the current project to something more manageable, will continue to make things worse. Dissect your developing solution and take what is working and use what you’ve learned to start a new foundation.

When Should You (If Ever) Abandon Software Development?

The bottom line is this: you should abandon a project when its value isn’t worth further investment. This often happens when businesses jump from problem to solution without fully considering the constraints and context of their business. Without proper planning, businesses can get in over their heads by creating features they don’t necessarily need, requiring resources they don’t have, or underestimating how long development will take.

If your project no longer seems like the long-term solution you need, you’re better off investing your time and money into either realigning your current project, if possible, or starting from scratch. There’s always a cost to changing your systems and your approach, especially when people have become accustomed to using processes in a certain way. You need to be able to afford that cost of change.

If your project no longer fits your goals or the cost of change is too high, not all hope is lost. Take the time to reevaluate your solution. Just because your project isn’t going the way you want, doesn’t mean it’s totally a lost cause.

Start Your Software Design from Scratch

Think about why you abandoned or need to salvage a previous project. Was the project too ambitious considering the resources on hand? Did you run into unforeseen development problems? Or was it improper planning that led to a poor solution? Turn the problems that led you to abandon your original plan into a better starting point for the next project.

Many solutions built from the ashes of a failed project end up succeeding well beyond the original vision, so don’t give up just because you’ve had one bad experience! If the issue was created internally, your next move should be to look outside of your organization for help. Hiring a professional technology team rather than an individual employee or freelance developer will help ensure your project has all the support it needs. If you’re still considering delaying, salvaging, or abandoning a project, we can help!

With our proven methods of software development, our IT and support teams are waiting to walk you through your next project every step of the way. From business discovery and analysis to development, staff training, and support, we make sure your project is a success from start to finish. We hold over a 99% implementation success rate — that’s 17% above average!

Meet JP Lessard

JP Lessard Headshot

JP has been part of the Miles IT team since 2001 and has spent over 20 years collaborating, consulting, coaching, and looking for better ways to accomplish more through the successful combination of people and technology.

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