Secrets!of Successful !Custom Software Projects!From Steven A. Lowe CEO @ Innovator, LLC!10!
Successful customsoftware project practices are likecommon sense.
Successful customsoftware projectpractices are likecommon sense.Which explains theridiculously high failure rate.
The common culprits?
It’s the way weknow how to do it.
Fear ofchange.
Old and outdatedstandards.
Unconvinced that new ordifferent methods will work.
What’s the definitionof insanity again?
I neversaid that.
If you’ve worked on more than a coupleof software projects, the odds are thatyou’ve been on a project that
You know all too well what doesn’t work. So let’s talk about what does.
of successful custom software projects that notonly meet their goals, but remain in service formany years. 10! Secrets!Her...
Without clear objectives, it is difficultto know what “success” looks like,or, when you’ve actually arrived.Clear Objective...
Software projects are not a spontaneous vacation where the journey is the reward.
It is about the destination.
Only with clearly definedbusiness objectives is itpossible to lay out a clearlydefined roadmap on how toget there …
… and deal with obstaclesthat appear along the way.
Commitment!A custom software solution is not a decisionlightly made and easily changed. 2!
Commitment!A custom software solution is not a decisionlightly made and easily changed. It requires a commitment to the pa...
The rewards are well worth it, but only for those that persevere with clarity.
A change in business goals or executivesupport, conflicting objectives, marketchanges, loss of key personnel, failingto per...
… all can easily derail a project and waste a lot of money.
Measurable ROI!If you cannot estimate, much lessmeasure, the return on investment(ROI) of a custom software project, itpro...
Projects without apersuasive businesscase will not receiveadequate resources,support, or withstandthe challenge of change.
Stakeholder Involvement!People resist change that is done to them,but embrace change that they are a part of. 4
Stakeholder Involvement!People resist change that is done to them,but embrace change that they are a part of. Make sure al...
Unengaged stakeholders lose interest and stop contributing.
Project Champion!A project Champion is a seniorexecutive with financial authority whobelieves strongly in the purpose andpa...
Projects without Championsare difficult to start, andrarely finish.
Adequate Budget!Custom software development costsmoney. Sometimes, it costs a great deal ofmoney. It is also often the cor...
Remember to budget forsupporting software,required and replacementhardware, training, andongoing maintenance.
Budget overruns area key factor inproject failure andabandonment.
Planning and budgeting for every scenario greatly minimizes risk.
The Right Team!The right system cannot bedeveloped by the wrong team. 7
The Right Team!The right system cannot bedeveloped by the wrong team. Make sure the development teamhas the appropriate do...
If your team has knowledge, or skill-set gaps,add qualified members and arrange access tosubject matter experts.
Realistic Expectations!Rome wasn’t built in a day; your customsoftware system won’t be either.Software development is part...
Realistic Expectations!Rome wasn’t built in a day; your customsoftware system won’t be either.Software development is part...
Be patient, and workwith the developmentteam to ensure thatboth sides have amutual, realisticunderstanding of theprocess, ...
Training & Maintenance Plans!Once the software is completed, who will use it? 9!
Training & Maintenance Plans!Once the software is completed, who will use it? How will they know how to use it? 9!
Training & Maintenance Plans!Once the software is completed, who will use it? How will they know how to use it? Who will m...
Training & Maintenance Plans!Once the software is completed, who will use it? How will they know how to use it? Who will m...
Include plans forthese issues early inthe project.
Otherwise, a very costlyand time consumingsoftware project couldend-up like this cute,abandoned child’s toy.
Which brings us to #10
10! Lifetime Support!Custom software systems can remain inservice for decades.
10! Lifetime Support!Custom software systems can remain inservice for decades.Make sure your plans include provisions forp...
ChangeRequestChangeRequestChangeRequestChangeRequestChangeRequest ChangeRequestNew hardware, changes in externalinterfaces...
The softwaremust grow withyou, not on you.
A custom software systemwithout planned and fundedlifetime support will loseend-user satisfaction, notperform as intended,...
Custom software systems …
Are long-term, strategic investments:know the reason youre doing it.
Can be disruptive to the status quo:so get everyone affected involvedand excited.
Must learn and grow with thebusiness: so plan for the system tolive long and prosper.
Steven A. Lowe@nov8r!Know any secrets that we haven’t shared here?Click to join in the conversationInnovator, LLCnov8r.com
10 Secrets of Successful Custom Software Projects
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10 Secrets of Successful Custom Software Projects

  1. 1. Secrets!of Successful !Custom Software Projects!From Steven A. Lowe CEO @ Innovator, LLC!10!
  2. 2. Successful customsoftware project practices are likecommon sense.
  3. 3. Successful customsoftware projectpractices are likecommon sense.Which explains theridiculously high failure rate.
  4. 4. The common culprits?
  5. 5. It’s the way weknow how to do it.
  6. 6. Fear ofchange.
  7. 7. Old and outdatedstandards.
  8. 8. Unconvinced that new ordifferent methods will work.
  9. 9. What’s the definitionof insanity again?
  10. 10. I neversaid that.
  11. 11. If you’ve worked on more than a coupleof software projects, the odds are thatyou’ve been on a project that
  12. 12. You know all too well what doesn’t work. So let’s talk about what does.
  13. 13. of successful custom software projects that notonly meet their goals, but remain in service formany years. 10! Secrets!Here are
  14. 14. Without clear objectives, it is difficultto know what “success” looks like,or, when you’ve actually arrived.Clear Objectives!1
  15. 15. Software projects are not a spontaneous vacation where the journey is the reward.
  16. 16. It is about the destination.
  17. 17. Only with clearly definedbusiness objectives is itpossible to lay out a clearlydefined roadmap on how toget there …
  18. 18. … and deal with obstaclesthat appear along the way.
  19. 19. Commitment!A custom software solution is not a decisionlightly made and easily changed. 2!
  20. 20. Commitment!A custom software solution is not a decisionlightly made and easily changed. It requires a commitment to the path and awillingness to see it through. 2!
  21. 21. The rewards are well worth it, but only for those that persevere with clarity.
  22. 22. A change in business goals or executivesupport, conflicting objectives, marketchanges, loss of key personnel, failingto perform a risk analysis …
  23. 23. … all can easily derail a project and waste a lot of money.
  24. 24. Measurable ROI!If you cannot estimate, much lessmeasure, the return on investment(ROI) of a custom software project, itprobably doesn’t have any, and shouldnot be done.3!
  25. 25. Projects without apersuasive businesscase will not receiveadequate resources,support, or withstandthe challenge of change.
  26. 26. Stakeholder Involvement!People resist change that is done to them,but embrace change that they are a part of. 4
  27. 27. Stakeholder Involvement!People resist change that is done to them,but embrace change that they are a part of. Make sure all of the stakeholders areinvolved in the project, and that their goalsare in alignment with the project goals.4
  28. 28. Unengaged stakeholders lose interest and stop contributing.
  29. 29. Project Champion!A project Champion is a seniorexecutive with financial authority whobelieves strongly in the purpose andpath of the project, and will fight to getit funded and completed. 5
  30. 30. Projects without Championsare difficult to start, andrarely finish.
  31. 31. Adequate Budget!Custom software development costsmoney. Sometimes, it costs a great deal ofmoney. It is also often the cornerstone of astrategic advantage and the lifeblood ofoperations. 6
  32. 32. Remember to budget forsupporting software,required and replacementhardware, training, andongoing maintenance.
  33. 33. Budget overruns area key factor inproject failure andabandonment.
  34. 34. Planning and budgeting for every scenario greatly minimizes risk.
  35. 35. The Right Team!The right system cannot bedeveloped by the wrong team. 7
  36. 36. The Right Team!The right system cannot bedeveloped by the wrong team. Make sure the development teamhas the appropriate domainknowledge and skill levels to besuccessful.7
  37. 37. If your team has knowledge, or skill-set gaps,add qualified members and arrange access tosubject matter experts.
  38. 38. Realistic Expectations!Rome wasn’t built in a day; your customsoftware system won’t be either.Software development is part science,part craft, part art, and hard work. 8
  39. 39. Realistic Expectations!Rome wasn’t built in a day; your customsoftware system won’t be either.Software development is part science,part craft, part art, and hard work. 8None of these should be rushed; to doso sacrifices quality and risks failure.
  40. 40. Be patient, and workwith the developmentteam to ensure thatboth sides have amutual, realisticunderstanding of theprocess, timelines, andgoals.
  41. 41. Training & Maintenance Plans!Once the software is completed, who will use it? 9!
  42. 42. Training & Maintenance Plans!Once the software is completed, who will use it? How will they know how to use it? 9!
  43. 43. Training & Maintenance Plans!Once the software is completed, who will use it? How will they know how to use it? Who will maintain it? 9!
  44. 44. Training & Maintenance Plans!Once the software is completed, who will use it? How will they know how to use it? Who will maintain it? How will they know how to maintain it? 9!
  45. 45. Include plans forthese issues early inthe project.
  46. 46. Otherwise, a very costlyand time consumingsoftware project couldend-up like this cute,abandoned child’s toy.
  47. 47. Which brings us to #10
  48. 48. 10! Lifetime Support!Custom software systems can remain inservice for decades.
  49. 49. 10! Lifetime Support!Custom software systems can remain inservice for decades.Make sure your plans include provisions forperiodic maintenance, incidental andemergency support, and someone to care forand enhance the system over its entirelifespan.
  50. 50. ChangeRequestChangeRequestChangeRequestChangeRequestChangeRequest ChangeRequestNew hardware, changes in externalinterfaces, and requests for enhancedfunctionality place demands on customsoftware not considered during the initialdevelopment.
  51. 51. The softwaremust grow withyou, not on you.
  52. 52. A custom software systemwithout planned and fundedlifetime support will loseend-user satisfaction, notperform as intended, andfail to support changingbusiness needs.
  53. 53. Custom software systems …
  54. 54. Are long-term, strategic investments:know the reason youre doing it.
  55. 55. Can be disruptive to the status quo:so get everyone affected involvedand excited.
  56. 56. Must learn and grow with thebusiness: so plan for the system tolive long and prosper.
  57. 57. Steven A. Lowe@nov8r!Know any secrets that we haven’t shared here?Click to join in the conversationInnovator, LLCnov8r.com

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