What to do when your software project goes off track

When software projects run into difficulties or are not delivered as you expected it can be a stressful and frustrating time. Lines of communication can break down and if your project is going nowhere, fast, it is time to stop and take stock.

There can be many reasons why a project runs into problems some of which are:

  • Software not completed to requirements
  • Poor business analysis on requirements
  • Unmanaged change/scope creep
  • Business Objectives not met
  • Unclear or poorly defined requirements and scope
  • Poor quality software
  • Project ownership and responsibility not clearly defined
  • Poor communication
  • Lack of transparency
  • Developer skill sets do not match requirements for project
  • Lack of budget controls
  • The developer or development team are no longer communicating with you.


Ideally, you will try to get moving and re-communicating with your current developers to agree a finishing out plan,  particularly if it is at an advanced stage. You can always move to a new development team after your project has launched.

But if you reach a point where you feel it's not going to work with your development team, there are steps you can take to move your project forward to a successful conclusion.

When you engage a new company you can expect that they will break down the project into several areas for investigation which include: 

  • defining the overall project requirements and business objectives
  • defining outstanding issues and requirements
  • a review and health check of the code and designs already complete
  • a plan for moving forward

Often the budget will be depleted and there are limited resources to complete the project. Part of the planning process with your new development team will be an assessment of the outstanding work and features for the project - This can then be measured against the remaining budget. The goal should always be to create a minimum viable product. This may mean pushing some features out until the next release of the software, but you will get your software up and running. 


Software projects often run into trouble mid-build and it can be a very worrying and disappointing experience. In fact over 30% of projects never reach launch, over 80% run over time and over budget and over 50% fail to meet all of the original requirements. 

However by taking a step back and re-evaluating the situation it can be possible to carve a way forward to successfully completing your work and launching a viable website or application. 

A clearly defined plan based on your needs and requirements is essential to building a website or application that works for you, read more about how to plan for successful software.