Many of the new clients who come to us have horror stories about custom software development projects that went way over their original and intended budgets. Nearly all of them have at least heard about these kinds of nightmares. As a result, they come to us feeling understandably worried about the costs associated with programming something new.
In order to help calm their fears, we typically do offer two things. First, we show them our long track record of success with delivering new pieces of software on time and under budget. Second, we explain the biggest reasons why so many custom software development projects end up costing more than they should.
Today, we want to lay out a few of those issues here…
The most common reason it’s difficult to complete a custom software development project for the right fee is the programmers really didn’t understand the scope of the job to begin with. In other words, they heard what the client asked for, but didn’t necessarily understand all the various features and functions that had to be incorporated. They didn’t ask enough questions (or not enough information was provided), so the project just seems to get bigger and bigger with each passing week.
Project creep – the phenomenon where clients and/or their programming teams keep adding new features to the list of deliverables – can be a real issue, too. This occurs when a management team asks for one thing, but then treats the resulting software project like a Christmas tree, adding one new idea to the list after another until the whole thing falls down. An experienced programming partner can help keep this from happening, but the best way to prevent project creep is by simply being aware of it.
It’s unfortunate, but some custom software development companies will knowingly under-quote a project to get a client’s business. Then, they’ll add to the costs as work moves along, knowing that a business owner or executive is unlikely to find a new vendor once the job is underway. Obviously, you can mitigate this somewhat by being careful about agreements and invoices, but it’s better to simply avoid firms that don’t have a great reputation in the programming industry.
This is somewhat less common but can actually be a good thing. If, in the middle of your custom software development project, you spot an opportunity to spend a little more and make the resulting product even better or more profitable, then why not go for it? If you come up with an idea that’s a winner and fits into the framework of what you are already planning, adding something a little extra to your contract – and getting a better business tool as a result – can be a good value.
At WebRevelation, we have decades of combined experience in planning, designing, and programming new pieces of software. If you want to work with a vendor that will take the time to understand your project, and then deliver just what you need at the right price, contact us today so we can get to work for you!