If you are a business executive, you know how important your digital strategy is if you want your company to be successful. Even so, with all of this focus on building effective digital strategies, some leaders are still struggling with failing digital projects and don't understand why. To help them troubleshoot and come up with a solution to ensure the success of their digital projects, we have created this list of some of the more common reasons digital projects fail and how you can avoid them.
The two main causes of failed digital projects are missed deadlines and blown budgets. There are many factors that contribute to this and these are the most common:
This is one of the easiest factors to avoid but the one that most business owners fall victim to. If your team is focused on the cash value of the project and wants to "talk details" later, your digital project could be doomed for failure. Understanding what each project entails is key to meeting deadlines and not going over budget.
This quote has been used more times than any of us care to count, but the facts of it still hold true. If you don't put any time into planning your digital projects, you could be setting yourself up for failure. While there are many companies that may say they never plan out a project and "just run with it" they are only fooling themselves. You need to plan for delays, obstacles and anything that could slow down or stop the project altogether. Make a plan, have a process and stick to it.
We all want to make our clients happy. That is, after all, why we opened our own business. But letting the client push your deadline up or create deadlines that you know your team cannot make is sure to lead to project failure. This can be a toxic problem with some clients, who will work you and your team into the ground with ever-decreasing turnaround demands. Sometimes it is worth the risk of pushing back to develop a healthier, more honest relationship with your client. A healthy client relationship brings with it a happier, more enthusiastic and productive team. You know how long it will take to complete a project and you know that your client may be pressuring you to "speed it up" but you need to remind them that quality work takes time and rushing any digital project could be detrimental for both your brand and the client's.
Many clients will ask your team to cut back on the testing phase in an effort to save time and money. We all would like to save money so that is understandable but not completing product testing is not the way to do it. If the product is installed and fails due to lack of testing, more money and more time is often spent by both the client and the digital service provider. Every project can have its fair share of bugs and properly testing the final product is one of the most important aspects of any digital project.
Although mobile should be at the forefront of any business owner's mind, many still tend to make it an afterthought. There are still some digital agencies that disregard mobile making it a low priority in any digital project. Whether you are on the client end, or the provider end, mobile ability should be one of the first things built into any digital project.
Consideration for a mobile platform needs to be at the heart of every web development project, even if your client's industry is not typically one in which potential clients come from mobile devices. Customers' needs change and they will begin demanding more from your client's brand. Although they are using mobile platforms today, there is no reason they won't next year. Including a mobile option in every digital project is important for both you and your clients.
Waiting until a project is complete before introducing it to your clients will ensure they receive a bug-free project that has already been tested and revised. This "big reveal" that so many digital project teams focus on may not be very helpful at all. Giving the client early access to a digital project lets them make any changes while the project is still in the development stage and the changes can be made quickly and easily. Once the project is complete and the client wants changes, it will be much more difficult and time consuming and the project will require more testing and more debugging.
Getting your clients involved as early as possible in the development of their project enables you to get them to sing off on wireframes, designs, HTML and more. It will also make them feel more included in the process and give you a chance to produce a better end result.
Effective and successful digital projects need more than just good developers. They need a team that works together as a unit, one that follows best practice processes and one that doesn't compromise on the steps it takes to deliver a quality end-result. These three teams also need to be one and they need to be able to do their job properly without any last minute distractions that could cause the digital project to fail.