Jul 9, 2018 Written by David Barlev
white woman understanding why dev projects fail

At Goji Labs, one of our specialties is taking on rescue projects. That is, projects which never make it to launch because of management or development issues. Rescue projects require us to take a step back with our clients and look at the big picture to understand why dev projects fail. What went wrong and how can we forge a new path to success?

Over the years, we’ve found common patterns between these projects and developed ways to reduce the risk of those failures happening again. Here’s our list of the top four roadblocks to look out for.

understanding why dev projects fail

1. Lack of Vision

Entrepreneurs who don’t see the value in testing their products often find it difficult to make clear and consistent choices for their product. Without user feedback, there is no data to suggest which features might work better than others or which overall direction would play better in the marketplace. This leaves their product open to subjective opinions and shifting priorities.

2. Refusal to adapt

MVPs often reveal more about a product’s users than some startup leads are comfortable with. Perhaps their product doesn’t meet the needs of its users. This can feel like a failure. However, flexibility and a willingness to pivot is key in the path to success. And the entrepreneurs who can move past discouraging news and adapt to the needs of their users are the ones who end up on top.

3. Inexperienced development team

It seems obvious — using an inexperienced development team leads to a buggy, poorly functioning product that is difficult to maintain. But there are even bigger risks than that. Often, these teams don’t have the expertise necessary to determine the right technology for a particular product, which can lead to a finished version that won’t be able to scale as the company grows.

4. Not utilizing developers to their full capacity

Startups work hard to build good teams around them. Because they run lean in the beginning, their team members wear many hats. But those hats shouldn’t include managing a development team. Experienced developers excel at building software and technical project management, so having someone manage them in-house isn’t the best use of resources and can significantly slow down the development process.

Overall, it’s important for startups to take a step back and envision the big picture. How can their product serve its target market? How can they shape their vision based on user data? How can they best utilize their team and the resources around them? Answering those larger questions and staying on track is what ultimately leads to success.