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Programming Project Mistakes to Avoid

There is a lot that can go wrong with any technology project, and in many cases overlong delays, overstretched budgets and complete failures do occur. In the software industry, it is certainly not news when a implementing a project plan doesn’t go as smoothly as originally intended.

Here are five of the biggest project mistakes to avoid:

1) Hire a team of inferior developers

Conceptualizing, creating and implementing new software is challenging work, to say the least, and many so-called programmers simply aren’t up to the task. It would behoove anyone planning to initiate a new project to develop a comprehensive series of tests that will be able to ascertain, with a high degree of certainty, the level of competence for each programmer hired for your team. Just accepting someone’s resume at ‘face-value’ is no good. Demonstrated competence in specific program areas should be the absolute minimum during the hiring process.

2) Create an unworkable schedule

Unlike building a house, developing software is a task that requires day-to-day adjustments with plenty of feedback. Schedules that span weeks of time are therefore no good at all because they will fail to account for many small details that will ultimately end up costing a lot of time and money. As the leader of the team, you need to know, in a time basis no longer than two days, or so, what the immediate goals for the project are. Nothing else will suffice. Homebuilders can get away with longer schedules, but they will mean pure death for your budding software project.

3) Set an unrealistic deadline

It is a very empowering step to set a deadline for a project. That is what most reference materials focused on the steps to running a successful project recommend. Thus, doing so is no problem, unless that deadline is not feasible given the project parameters. Part of making sure that the project is carried to completion is getting down to the minutiae and plotting just how long each step is estimated to take. That way, you can arrive at a reasonable estimate of when the project will be completed. Create non-realistic deadlines and your projects will certainly suffer.

4) Balance assigned tasks

It is a natural inclination to transfer work from an overburdened programmer to one that doesn’t have as much to do. That way, the workload is more or less shared on an equal basis. In theory, this sounds good but in practice it doesn’t work so well. This is because in transferring a specific number of tasks to a new programmer, it will take this person time to get up to speed after being briefed by the previous programmer. That ends up wasting everyone’s time and it’s actually better to allow your programmers to continue to work on their originally assigned tasks because they know the ‘ins and outs’ of their own coding and, even if temporarily overburdened, should be allowed to complete their initial ‘to-do’ list.

5) Work overlong hours

For most people, seeing someone work long hours to complete a task is a praiseworthy accomplishment. How many friends do you have that brag about the long hours they’re putting in at work? How many games of ‘one-upmanship’ are played during Friday night Happy Hours, when someone working 70 hours per week is eclipsed by the guy with bags under his eyes who touts his ability to work 90? Unfortunately, research has shown that working an obscene number of hours does not produce effective software any faster. Indeed, by forcing programmers to maintain an unrealistic level of focus over an extended period of time, you’re doing nothing but creating huge problems for your overall project. Tired brains need rest, and a refreshed programmer will work far better than one who is tired and apt to miss important coding details. What will result is software that contains plenty of coding mistakes and bugs that will later have to be found and dealt with.

How can you tip the odds in your favor for running a successful software project? Do the exact opposite of all of the points noted above. Although the measures might sometimes seem to be counterintuitive, they will work out for you in the end.

At EcomSolutions, Inc. we make sure to employ programming methodologies that ensure the best possible end-products for our clients.


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