Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Hi Bracha,

I really enjoy your articles and learn so much from them. My husband and I are at a loss, and I’m hoping you can provide us with some insight. We employed the services of a development company to create an app for our business. The app was supposed to be completed four months ago, but it seems the developers still have a long way to go.

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When we spoke to our point of contact in the company and expressed our frustration, he explained that this is the way tech works; delays in tech should be expected. I’m just wondering: Is that true or is something else going on?

M.K.

 

Dear M.K.,

Without knowing more details, it’s difficult to determine the real issue. Are you dealing with a local team or an overseas team? Are you in contact with the owner/salesperson/account executive for the project or are you dealing with the project manager and developers directly? Have you changed your requirements since you gave the company the go-ahead?

Since I don’t have the answers to these questions, I will attempt to comment more generally. Technology projects can be completed on time, and many reputable developers and development companies do, in fact, finish when they say they will.

That said, software projects are often delayed. Why? There are many reasons:

Sometimes, it’s because the business owner’s requirements change or were initially unclear. Other times, third-party integrations or technology challenges get in the way. Still other times, it’s the lack of QA (Quality Assurance) reviews, so software glitches and errors are caught late in the game and cause delays.

The culprit can also be lack of time or a lack of experience necessary to create an initial comprehensive and accurate software plan. Finally, staff changes can account for significant delays. Developers often work on a project-basis and if a developer leaves, finding a replacement with the right expertise can sometimes take several weeks.

Here are some suggestions that may help you feel more confident and speed up the process in the future:

  1. Be very clear on your requirements: Every time you change your requirements, you change the time frame. So be clear about your non-negotiables from the onset.
  2. Be as involved as possible: Being involved means providing the development company with the information it needs, such as completed designs, as soon as it asks for it. It’s also best if you can get invited to its communication platforms. Every development company uses a series of tools to communicate, such as Jira or Azure for task management, InVision for design, and Slack or even Skype for internal communications.

While the development company may balk at your request to join, it will allow you to have a better understanding of what’s happening on the ground, as well as give you the ability to monitor the project’s progress. A more informed consumer has a better chance of being satisfied with the final product.

  1. Schedule periodic demos: Scheduling periodic demos with the development team gives you the opportunity to understand exactly how your product is doing, ask questions, and, when necessary, voice your concerns. It also puts pressure on the project manager and the development team to show progress by fixed deadlines.

I hope this was helpful. I wish you much success with your app!

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