Saturday, June 25, 2005

10 Success Criteria For Software Development

The 10 QA traps mentioned in a previous post (10 Critical Quality Assurance Traps) had a major emphasis on test activities. However QA is much more than Quality Checking. Let's illustrate this with the results from the CHAOS report from the Standish Group.

Software never comes in on-time or on-budget, and it always breaks down. Software development projects are in chaos.

The Standish Group research showed a staggering 31.1% of projects are canceled before they ever get completed. 52.7% of projects cost 189% of their original estimates. Lost opportunity costs are not measurable.

On the success side, the average is only 16.2% for software projects that are completed on-time and on-budget. In the larger companies, the news is even worse: only 9% of their projects come in on-time and on-budget.

A whopping 61.5% of all large company projects were challenged: over-budget, over the time estimate, and offers fewer features and functions than originally specified.

Almost a third of the challenged and impaired projects experienced cost overruns of 150 to 200%, time overruns of 200 to 300%, and deliver less than 50% of the original features/functions.

Project challenged factors

1. Lack of User Input
2. Incomplete Requirements & Specifications
3. Changing Requirements & Specifications

Success criteria

1. User Involvement
2. Executive Management Support
3. Clear Statement of Requirements
4. Proper Planning
5. Realistic Expectations
6. Smaller Project Milestones
7. Competent Staff
8. Ownership
9. Clear Vision & Objectives
10. Hard-Working, Focused Staff

In order to make order out of the chaos, we need to examine why projects fail. Each major software failure must be investigated, studied, reported and shared. Failure begets knowledge. Out of knowledge you gain wisdom, and it is with wisdom that you can become truly successful.

Are the software development projects in your organisation successful? If there is room for improvement do you use the top10 above to identify the improvement areas to focus on?


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