Software Product Development Challenges & How to Avoid Them

The demand for software products in 2023 seems to be ever-growing. Whether it is your first software startup ever or your debut software development project, it comes down to getting every step of the process right and avoiding pitfalls.

Imagine the development department has already established and well-tuned processes, sprints, and plans, and yet another product development challenge kicks in without warning. It could need a rapid fix so that it doesn’t affect the team’s efficiency and quality of the final release. It takes time and effort to create a streamlined product development cycle alongside splendid solutions.

The majority of software companies face dozens of software development hurdles throughout all the stages, from planning to maintenance. This time, we are going to cover those project bottlenecks that won’t necessarily ruin your applications instantly, but rather slowly push them back, resulting in a loss of revenue, time, and market opportunities. So let’s figure out these hot issues and steps to handle them. Or how not to give up on a startup.

1. Planning the solutions, but not strategizing well enough

This pitfall in product development can be mentioned endlessly. It happens that ideas and strategies are often poorly understood or unviable. Then it’s worth asking, does the team understand the purpose of the product well and who are the users? If the process is stuck at this stage, a project discovery will help out massively. This five-step process will allow you to define business goals, success metrics, and user research, as well as specify the customer journey and learn your competitors all the way through.

What makes up a good project discovery approach?

Key players list

This one refers to product owners, investors, developers, and others who create and use the final product.

Business goals detection

To help you fulfill the main mission of your business solution, identify the problems you want to solve within the discovery to increase corporate productivity or revenue.

Success criteria design

What comes into play here is a clear vision of the final product and the exact milestones to make the project deliver. The team should talk to other project members regularly to verify all criteria are met as efficiently as possible.

Building a customer journey

This step will serve your technological solution development well and help engage and retain the ideal customer so that your software product will perform with the right financial returns and last as long as possible in the tech world.

Who’s behind project discovery?

Once all stages are done, it’s time to put together a team that will attain the goals of the project discovery. So, let’s see who is involved in this process from the company’s side.

Business analysts. They collaborate with clients to create use cases and project requirements. This also includes the project’s major business objectives, user discovery, and scenarios of software product implementation.

UI/UX designers. They make the user experience and user interface according to the project goals discovered. A good software design is about easy navigation, intuitive design, and a visually appealing interface. Wireframes and prototypes help the team fulfill the product vision and make sure the target users instantly get how to use the software.

Developers. Not just a team, but a technical engine. During the discovery phase, software architects, and developers closely monitor what technologies will need to be applied from the start to the final stage. This also applies to software maintenance. They work to ensure that technological solutions are best suited to solve the client’s business problems and the software’s stability for the user.

Project Managers. Their job is to keep communication between all stakeholders running smoothly, plan the scope of work, and track project progress.

Product owner. That’s the person with the initial product idea and vision from bottom to top. PO is definitely one of the driving forces in software product development, but his tasks are more strategic, while the bulk of the analysis, design, and development is delegated to other team members.

Once you have made it through the project discovery, you won’t have bloated budgets, uncontrollable work scopes, or overwhelming deadlines. Building software that matches your company’s strategy is the first and most important step you can take. Its effects and outcomes are well worth the time and investment. For a future-proof software product development company, this is a must-have practice so that developers have a clear, detailed vision of the products they create, and their target audience.

2. Fine-tuning endlessly

Sometimes it’s a casual thing when the development team receives continuous change requests, from managers and clients who have something to offer every minute. There is still a lot to improve, too. If the team and clients don’t establish clear requirements in software product development from the get-go, then it’s likely to cause various misconceptions about the app’s appearance, functions, and UI/UX. Inaccurate time and cost estimates also come from unclear visions.

The duration and cost of software product development service shift from project to project. It’s based on difficulty, the total number of features, and the diversity of related technologies. So, gathering insufficient requirement specifications means facing impractical shortcomings of an imperfect product: financial losses, bugs, low user engagement, upset clients, stakeholders, and suchlike.

Good product development deliverables should align with the expectations and agreed-upon requirements for the processes. To achieve this, defined communication will be a great bridge between the client and the development team, and clearly defined processes will minimize constant edits and change releases. To make software product development service more seamless and streamlined, take note of the following:

  • Determine and coordinate the project scale
  • Do not take on all the requirements of end users and clients at once
  • Discuss all the development steps and stages, expectations, and KPIs in detail with all the teams engaged. A solid software startup will simply be gone without it.
  • Involve users in beta releases straight away when you start rolling out updates from the very beginning of new product development
  • Agree on a product requirement document with the client to stay on track and have a common vision of the software development life cycle

3. Neglecting extensive, user-friendly workflow documentation and software manuals

One of the most common software development challenges is internal and external knowledge base. Yet if project documentation management is so important, why does it often become a back burner when there is a strong need for proper, structured development and software guidelines? Any software project must have hands-on documentation, and this goes beyond simply providing user manuals. It also covers things like the rationale behind your decision to choose a certain strategy or technique, any trade-offs or restrictions you may have run across, and more. This not only helps preserve the code for developers, but it may also foster learning from errors today so the team won’t make them again. To master smooth workflows and clear software product guidelines, there’s still the way.

The team should make it easy to get and keep everyone posted before any changes take place

Think of a unified location to keep the knowledge base growing and make it easy to handle each team member, regardless of their location. It also could require a solution to notify all parties when someone makes a change.

Prioritize clarity and accuracy over quantity

Perhaps it’s not the first time when piles of documents and manuals are buried in archives, aren’t they? Keep your project documentation clean, concise, and relevant if you don’t want it to end up the same way. Writing with the users in mind will help them perceive the documents as a point of entry when digging into the software. For new team members who want to catch up on the development tricks, on-point guides will come in handy as well.

4. Putting personal software development goals above the client’s needs

Let’s go deeper into what happens when you are centered on a software startup you’re proud of, but it gives somewhat less excitement to the clients. A list of professional skills and knowledge of the widest technology stack possible is at the top of a software developer’s wish list. And when the dream becomes a reality, the urge to implement the most sophisticated solutions overweights the actual needs and requirements of the customer. Sure, it’s far beyond cool to have a drive for new technologies to create something out of the box, but this isn’t always about showing off when it comes to project revenues and company growth.

Rather than listening exclusively to the demands of their business or their personal aims, companies should be all ears for the needs of the target audience and maintain the development process accordingly. Focusing on the users and linking them to the problems your business is trying to solve, that’s the goal. As for an entrepreneur, customer values should come before building the perfect interface or writing the perfect code.

To make it happen, companies and teams should be receptive, refrain from imposing, and pay close attention to what the client wants to express. It will be much less complicated to create a great software product and user experience with customer interactions.

5. Mixing up the development and prototyping stages

The software is expected to attract a large number of users, and the time spent will be well worth it. So, you have a big budget, and a strong team of designers, developers, and UX specialists. And without further ado, development begins. It’s in full swing.

And then there is the news: the long-awaited product will be out in a few months. Despite the shortcomings, everyone is delighted with the development outcomes. So far, at least. Because the team’s belief that “there is no software flawless at launch” causes them to release the masterpieces without first prototyping them. Then the bad dreams begin: the reviews are harsh, and the product is criticized for flaws.

So how do companies know whether to proceed with prototyping or not?

It is up to the company to choose in every situation whether it will be useful for a particular project to use prototyping in software development or not. Here’s when building a prototype first would be a better solution :

  1. The team doesn’t fully get the software requirements
  2. Larger-scale projects have tight deadlines
  3. Software specifications require too many changes
  4. Applications are complex and resource-intensive, with little room for risk and experiments

Depending on the software prototyping method, it works great for testing new concepts beforehand and bringing in changes before the team puts a lot of time and money into it. It’s a design thinking approach, where developers create feasible solutions to challenging tasks.

6. Ignoring the distance between IT and business departments

A related survey on this subject tells us that many executives believe the biggest hurdle to digitization within the company is the lack of collaboration between the Business and IT units. To succeed in the current market environment, CEOs should be able to break through this barrier in their tech startups.

Another common bottleneck in building effective communication across departments is that specialists from diverse “worlds” struggle to reach each other. All this contributes to miscommunications, stalls workflows, and breaks deadlines, significantly impacting overall performance. So the solution is about distributing feedback between all specialists on time, creating clear project requirements, implementing an Agile approach, and maintaining good relationships within the team.

Close collaboration between business and IT can provide a company with a competitive advantage in 2023. After all, achieving mutual understanding between technical and non-technical professionals aids in bringing digital products to life faster.

Key points to take over

Software development is never a simple job. Especially if it’s your first time with a startup and app development. A lot of software development projects face challenges. These usually revolve around the next issues: missing a business or product management plan, too low market and user research, misguided recruitment and management decisions, as well as too fast scaling. After all, a lot of background work should go into the software development life cycle (SDLC) before the starting point. So the companies can act more proactively for every forthcoming product development challenge in 2023 by getting a step forward on the major issues confronting the software industry.