4 Obstacles to New Software Product Development & How to Overcome Them
Software product development is crucial for businesses of all sizes and industries. Going from the initial product roadmap to a developed software application means you can successfully envision and deploy new, innovative ideas to capture and sustain customer interest.
However, developing software projects isn’t without its challenges. Many software development teams face significant obstacles that can hinder or prevent them from effectively building and releasing new software applications in the real world.
Understanding and surmounting these roadblocks is essential for any software product development company. In this article, we’ll review four of the biggest obstacles to new software development so you can overcome them in your next project.
Obstacle #1: Resource Allocation
Problem: New software product development requires a dedicated team of developers, testers, and a technology leader—resources that too many businesses don’t have access to.
Most companies’ existing IT, software, and technology teams are already focused on core projects to support an existing product. On the other hand, organizations that don’t have these internal teams will need to hire from the ground up to start the software development process. Building a new product idea typically requires at least three team members, and often five or more for larger or more complex software applications.
Hiring tech talent is especially challenging in 2023. Despite the waves of layoffs, companies still struggle to find developers with the right combination of skills and experience. What’s more, the average time to fill a tech job opening is more than two months, and it can take even longer for a new team member to go through onboarding and training and get up to speed. This lengthy hiring process can delay the software development process and slow companies’ time to market.
Solution: Consider offshore development teams to quickly enhance your engineering capabilities without the drawn-out process of hiring each role individually.
Instead of hiring in-house team members, many businesses would be better served by turning to an external software development firm. The right software development partner will already have developers and testers with the skill sets and experience that you’re looking for, saving you the time, money, and effort spent on hiring internally.
Obstacle #2: Lack of In-House Expertise
Problem: Companies without substantial experience in software development will struggle to hire effectively. You don’t know what you don’t know, so it’s hard to identify what skills you need when filling team positions.
The software development process is particularly challenging for organizations that have little to no experience with developing software before. Some of the pain points throughout this process may include:
- Knowing which questions to ask candidates when hiring
- Successfully communicating the product vision between technical and business audiences
- Managing a team of software developers, testers, and other technical experts
This is especially true when the new software product leverages emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud computing, or data analytics. Building software with these functionalities typically requires advanced, specialized skills, making it even harder for inexperienced companies to find the right candidates. This is a sign that it’s time to invest in software development consulting.
Solution: Work with a trusted partner who can guide you through the process, acting as a liaison between stakeholders and your technical team.
Businesses with little software development experience can particularly benefit from working with an external partner that offers software product development services. These providers can give advice about how to manage software development teams and which development tools to use (such as a management platform to keep track of tasks and milestones). The best software development partners can also use their elite tech talent to enhance your capabilities, without the high costs associated with hiring these experts in-house.
Obstacle #3: Scope Creep
Problem: As the software product development process continues, the product’s scope can grow beyond what was initially planned, leading to delays in the release and increasing development costs.
“Scope creep” is an all-too-common occurrence for software development teams, especially those without prior experience bringing a product to market. The term refers to a situation in which a software project’s goals and requirements expand or evolve beyond the original mission, often without increasing the project’s budget or timeline.
Improper handling of scope creep is one of the most common reasons software development projects don’t succeed. In one survey of 60 software project managers, 92 percent say they believe their projects failed due to poor scope creep management. Without proper planning or communication, scope creep can lead to missed deadlines, higher costs, and a final product that doesn’t align with the original project objectives and design document.
Solution: Leverage an MVP development process to focus only on the core features of the software. Cut out bloat and test the concept in the market before committing to an extensive, costly roadmap.
The best remedy to scope creep is to begin with a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP is a version of a software product that contains nothing more than the software’s core features and functionality. By launching an MVP before working on the full product, developers can quickly assess the software’s potential, identify users’ most important needs and preferences, and rapidly iterate to make adjustments before investing further in product development.
Other techniques to avoid scope creep involve feasibility analysis and agile development:
- Feasibility analysis is the process of evaluating a proposed software product’s practicality, including user demand and technical requirements. Performing feasibility analysis can help businesses identify which software features and functionality are truly essential and which are merely “nice-to-haves” or even unnecessary boondoggles.
- Agile development is a flexible software development methodology that involves fast, iterative development cycles called “sprints” to deliver new features. Because agile development emphasizes continuous feedback between developers and project stakeholders, all parties can regularly reassess and readjust the project’s requirements, helping identify and confront scope creep early on.
Obstacle #4: High Risk
Problem: Creating a new software product requires extensive time and budget. Additionally, companies may be concerned about a poorly received product devaluing their brand.
Releasing new software products is a high-risk, high-reward endeavor. Even the simplest of projects can take months and requires the knowledge of highly qualified, technically skilled workers—eating into your budget.
Spending all this time, money, and effort can be disappointing if the final product fails to gain a foothold in the marketplace. In addition, buggy or unwanted software products can have an especially painful landing, harming the company’s reputation and credibility.
Solution: Identify alpha and beta testers from a select group of partners and customers, and gather feedback from these users before launching to a general audience.
To lessen the risk of product-market misalignment, use an iterative development process to deliver meaningful solutions to your core audience. Identify the likely core audience for your product and collect detailed information about their beliefs and opinions throughout the development process.
Pairing this approach with MVP development allows you to “fail fast” without sinking tons of resources into a doomed project. By working with an MVP partner, organizations can build a minimum viable product without the time investment of hiring a developer the traditional way. This approach helps free up internal resources and helps fill skill gaps to maximize your product development while minimizing your development timeline.
How KMS Technology Can Help With New Software Development
Although businesses face several obstacles to new software development, the good news is that they’re not insurmountable. In many cases, the solution is to work with a software product development services partner that can help guide you along the way and provide exactly the tech talent you need for the project.
The question then becomes: how can you find the right custom software development partner? KMS Technology is a skilled, experienced software development provider that has worked with countless businesses to successfully execute new software projects. We follow a four-step process for all new software product development:
- Discover: We work with you to clarify your needs and objectives, deciding on concrete business outcomes to establish a successful collaboration.
- Elaborate: We determine the best solution that fits your business requirements and develop a plan of action to execute it, including design, staffing, and delivery approach.
- Build: Our skilled team of software developers and testers efficiently carries out the plan and validates the solution, providing iterative delivery and constant communication.
- Operate: We continue to implement and support the final product, using defined metrics and key performance indicators to support continuous improvement.
Ready to learn how KMS can help expedite the time to market for your next software product? Get in touch with us today for a chat about your business needs and objectives.