Saas Startups

10 Signs Your Software Development Project is
Doomed to Fail and What to Do About it.

Being a software developer isn’t just about innovating a new app alone; you need to know the factors that could affect your project’s success in the industry and marketplace. 

You must identify the little and underrated factors that might spell doom for your project and find a way to solve them as soon as possible. 

Unfortunately, many software developers focus only on technical issues without knowing that factors like unrealistic deadlines, unstable requirements, poor budgeting, and poor team spirit can stop their exciting projects. 

Therefore, let’s discuss the 10 signs your software development is doomed to fail and how to solve or prevent them. 

1. Unclear and Ever-changing Software Requirements 

Software requirement is a comprehensive list or document containing the app’s features, specifications, and functions. 

It is a detailed document that gives the developers a clue of what the software should look like and how it should operate.

However, unclear and constantly changing requirement ultimately sets the team up for failure.

Adverse Effects 

The primary effect of unclear and ever-changing requirements is that it makes it very difficult to estimate the volume of work required to produce good and quality software. 

Hence, a poor work schedule is inevitable as it is impossible to determine the level of work to be done. 

Additionally, inconsistent or unstable software requirements will affect the team’s ability to monitor the work progress, thereby making it hard to determine when the software is ready to be launched. 

Another effect of unclear and ever-changing requirements is that it causes division among the developers. It will distract the team, and affect their level of concentration and productivity and the project will take longer time than expected.  

Meanwhile, all these effects of unclear and constantly changing requirements will eventually result in poor overall quality of the software. 

Prevention / Solution 

Get comprehensive and stable requirements that clearly state all the specs, features, and functionalities before embarking on the process. 

Don’t alter the requirements without any genuine reason. 

2. Unrealistic Deadline And Work Schedule 

As much as you want your software to enter the market when the demand is high, setting an unrealistic deadline and schedule could affect the outcome of the project. 

Adverse Effects 

An extremely short deadline put the whole developing team under unnecessary pressure.

And the software’s quality and efficiency will be affected while the team is trying to beat the unrealistic deadline. 

Likewise, this could lead to health issues among the team members due to burnout caused by a cumbersome work schedule with little or no breaks.

Another damaging result of an unrealistic schedule is that it could lead to an increased budget and expenditure. That’s because the team will more likely spend more money in their quest to make up for the lost time. 

Prevention / Solution

It’s very easy to prevent unrealistic deadlines. First, create a comprehensive software requirement. 

The team should consider all five crucial pre-launching software development stages, the size of the software and its functionality, and the workforce to determine the best work schedule. 

You can now choose an attainable date after reaching a consensus with every member of the working team. 

Meanwhile, it will interest you to know that it takes 10-12 weeks to develop quality small-sized software, 23-25 weeks for mid-sized software, and 35-38 weeks for large-sized software. 

3. Poor Team Spirit 

Poor team spirit will ultimately end your dream of creating a piece of software that stands out from the rest. 

A poor team spirit can exist in different forms, such as ineffective communication, poor collaboration, and the inexplicable urge to be the team leader. 

Adverse Effects

Lack of good communication among team members will often make the members of the team hold back useful information that could make the project successful. 

Poor team spirit will create a toxic working environment with endless misunderstandings and conflicts that will eventually delay or terminate the project.

In an ideal team, there should be a division of tasks among individual members. But, when there’s poor team spirit, no one knows what task the other is doing. Hence, two or more persons can be found doing the same tasks. When this is happening, it’s a sign that the software project will not be successful.

Prevention/ Solution 

Promote a lively and healthy atmosphere where the team members are eager to be involved without any resentment. 

Create an atmosphere that encourages feedback and opinions from everyone, regardless of experience and expertise. 

Ensure effective collaboration, fluent communication links, and mutual respect among all the team members. 

This will make everyone happy and determined to give their best regularly. 

The project manager must organize friendly workshops where everyone can share their opinions, and learn how to ensure healthy working relationships. 

4. Inexperienced And Uninvolved Project Leadership 

The role of leadership in a software development project involves providing moral and financial support for the team to achieve their set goals. 

However, inexperienced and uninvolved leadership can frustrate the developers and other people involved in the project. 

Passive leadership reluctantly makes necessary decisions and communicates apathy to the team.

Adverse Effects

As stated above, inexperienced and uninvolved leadership reduces the pace at which work is done due to poor and untimely decisions. 

Inexperienced leadership will drastically slow down the project because it lacks the technical and man-management skills needed to inspire and motivate the team. 

Stakeholders will seek to take advantage of the inexperienced leadership to influence the project in their favor, even if it reduces the objective of the software project. 

All these effects will undoubtedly result in delay, scope creep, poor-quality software, and a failed project. 

Prevention / Solution 

The project manager spearheading the software development project can prevent leadership issues by confirming stakeholders’ motives, commitment, and passion before reaching an agreement with them. 

5. Unclear Project Objectives 

A lack of clear vision and objectives is another sign of looming doom for any software development project. 

You can’t develop a fast-selling software without a clear vision of what it offers to the public. 

Adverse Effects 

An unclear objective guarantees total failure because no one knows the level of work required to make a successful project. 

It will be very difficult to set deadlines and good work schedules without clear objectives as there are no clues about what features to include in the app. 

It will be impossible to measure the progress made by the team without a clear objective and vision. 

Similarly, the unclear objective will lead to misappropriation of funds and a poor budget for the project. 

It will equally discourage the app developers from giving their best as there is no clear destination or mission to achieve. 

Every work done by the team will look like wasted time and effort due to a lack of clear objectives and vision for the software. 

Lastly, an unclear objective could cause conflict and confusion in the development team if there are different interpretations of the objective. 

Prevention / Solution 

A clear objective is one of the first documents you should provide together with the scope of the software requirements. 

Write clear and concise project objectives. Clearly state the purpose of creating the software and its targeted customers.  

Ensure the objective is a SMART (Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) one. 

6. Poor And Inadequate Planning Stage

The planning stage of a software development project is very crucial to the outcome of the project. 

This phase goes beyond deciding the software’s appearance or its mode of operation. It involves intensive market research and feasibility studies to know the potential competitors. 

It will give the team a better idea of how to create quality software at the right time without breaking the bank. 

This explains why inadequate planning might pose a significant threat to the success of the project. 

Adverse Effects 

Inadequate planning might affect the software’s marketability because the team didn’t consider the public’s behavior during the project. 

It could also cause a late delivery because developers have little to no understanding of what to do and when to do it. This can frustrate and discourage the team. 

It gives room for scope creep as there might be a need to include more features in the course of the project. 

However, adding new unplanned features to the project requires more funds. So, it’s safe to say that inadequate planning will also lead to an increased cost of production. 

Considering all these factors, it’s a certain conclusion that poor and inadequate planning will ultimately affect the software’s overall quality. 

Prevention / Solution 

Perform a quick market survey, and ask questions from potential customers. 

Get all the important facts, and eliminate all forms of guesswork during the project. 

7. Conflicting Roles Among Members 

The reason for a failing or failed software development project can also be traced to conflicting roles and responsibilities among developers. You must avoid it to achieve success in your project. 

Conflicting roles and responsibilities among the team members will occur when there is no specific function for everyone. 

Adverse Effects 

Conflicting roles create confusion in the team as no one knows his roles and duties in the team. 

The hardest part of the job will be inappropriately done as no one will be held responsible for the incompetent job. 

Conflicting roles will inevitably lead to conflict and disagreement because everyone will want to dominate all aspects of the project. 

It will eventually lead to a toxic working environment if it’s not controlled as soon as possible. 

Incessant conflicts and disagreements can make the team miss deadlines, while incompetent work done will affect the quality of the software. 

Solution / Prevention 

Clearly state everyone’s roles and responsibilities in the team. Share them across the different app development stages, according to their experience and expertise. 

UX and UI designers should be in the designing phase of the project, handling everything related to designs. 

Experienced programmers in the team should focus on the development stage where their coding expertise is needed. 

However, everyone should be willing to render help when and where necessary. 

8. Poor Management That Makes Developers Pull Out Of The Team 

It’s one thing to have a dedicated team of experts but it’s another thing to retain them for a long period. 

All members of the team must be respected because of their role in the project. 

This is why it’s important to have a good project manager who will give the right order at the right time.  

Adverse Effects

No doubt a software project is destined to fail if developers keep leaving the team due to poor management.  

The work rate will drastically reduce if there is no one to take charge of the coding and design responsibilities. 

The project will collapse if experts suddenly stop working because the project manager lacks good communication skills. 

A project with an incompetent manager who doesn’t have a positive influence on his staff is bound to fail. 

A project manager who doesn’t keep close tabs on the team to know who’s working will do more harm than good. That’s because hardworking members will eventually leave for a place without partiality.

A manager’s inability to resolve issues in the team is bound to make him lose his capable hands. And when there are no longer competent team members, the software’s quality will drop or there will be a waste of time while trying to add new hands.

Prevention / Solutions 

Every project manager must have good communication skills, and the ability to motivate his workers. 

The management must learn to settle issues as soon as possible to prevent unhealthy relationships in the end. 

 9. Average Quality 

It’s one thing to develop software, it’s another thing entirely for users to love the project. 

Hence, your project is doomed to fail if the features, interface, appearance, and overall quality aren’t convincing. 

Adverse Effects 

A low-quality software won’t solve the public’s problem, and this will lead to poor patronage. 

The lack of interest from the public will translate to a significant loss if nothing is done to increase the software’s quality. 

And upgrading poor quality software to a better version will indirectly lead to more funding.

You may need to hire better engineers to fix the initial defects in the software, which means you will increase your budget for the development project. 

The only exception is if you choose to ignore the software. However, that would be a bad move as it will translate to a huge financial loss. 

Meanwhile, poor quality software will affect workers’ reputations as they will be remembered for developing ineffective software. 

Prevention / Solution 

Thankfully, you can prevent this problem if you take advantage of the testing stage of the software development project. 

The testing phase gives the platform to test the newly-developed app and see if it works effectively. 

Carry out Unit tests, UI tests, and integration tests so you can correct bugs and other unwanted issues that could affect its marketability. 

Apart from preventing poor quality, testing the software before launching it also reduces future maintenance costs. 

 10. Lack of Public Interest 

A piece of software is a failed innovation if it doesn’t command high interest from the public despite avoiding all the nine issues above. 

Every software developer wants to see their innovation listed as one of the most downloaded software.

A successful software should enjoy regular downloads, feedback, and encouraging ratings. 

The software development project is doomed if the numbers aren’t encouraging after existing for one or two weeks. 

Adverse Effects

Poor customer patronage means bad business for the stakeholders, while it’s a waste of time and effort for the team. 

Insufficient user remarks make it difficult to know what to change or improve if the team decides to upgrade it. 

Prevention/ Solution 

The best way to solve this problem involves advertising your new software across social media platforms. 

Start publicizing the software from the prototyping stage so people will discover more about the soon-to-be-launched software. 

Similarly, endeavor to share the launching date with your followers. Let the world know when the innovation will be available, reveal the pros and purpose, and why they should download it. 

This will drive many people’s attention to the software, while some will end up installing it. 

Additionally, explore the release stage of the software development project to make the required corrections and amendments. 


All the signs mentioned above, including inadequate planning, uninvolved leadership, poor public interest, and average quality, indicate that a software development project is doomed to fail if no one prevents or solves them. 

Meanwhile, most of these signs are avoidable with competent management and laudable team spirit. 

Competent management will ensure conducive working conditions for all the team members, while ethical team spirit promotes unity and oneness among the developers. 

The team will be willing to work collectively to achieve their goals and objectives within the set period.