4 Common Reasons Why Web Development Projects Fail

By Ashley Orndorff, aka Marketing Geek business meeting with laptops, charts, and papers on a table

Starting out on a web development project is an exciting move for your business. Whether it’s a new website, a web app for your customers, or a custom function to make life easier, successfully completing a web development project can seriously improve your business and/or your customers’ experience. But, there are also a lot of reasons why web development projects fail or can go wrong.

Partnering with an experienced web developer or agency can help get a lot of things right. However, there are still things that can throw things off-track. Knowing what these are can help you avoid them and ensure both you and your development partner come out on top at the end of the project. Here are a few of the common reasons why web development projects fail:

1. Poor Planning

Any project that is poorly planned is often also doomed to fail. Because web development projects often have so many variables, unknowns, and moving parts, it’s important to spend some time planning out the project and scoping it appropriately.

An initial meeting to solidify needs, objectives, and goals for the project can help you and your developers get on the same page regarding the project. A discovery phase where developers can access things behind-the-scenes is also a big help in accurately scoping out a project and planning it.

Skipping these things or limiting access to necessary information can result in unexpected obstacles and challenges later on.

2. Not Enough Budget

As a client, you want to make sure what you put into a web development project is working for you and that you get a return on your investment. But, it’s also important to be honest, upfront, and realistic about your budget and what your project requires.

When it comes to web development, it’s not generally a good idea to go with the lowest bidder. As the cliche goes, “you get what you pay for” and sometimes that’s not a good thing. A web dev project that requires a lot of custom functionality, complex integrations, and more is going to cost you.

Depending on what you need to accomplish with the project, there may be ways to reduce costs. At the same time, there will be elements where you cannot cut corners without causing the project to fail or cause issues for you later. A good development partner will be able to discuss these things with you.

3. Scope Creep

Scope creep is an issue for any type of project across various industries, but it is a common issue with web development projects. When things are added on top of the original project when it is already in progress, that’s scope creep. And, if left unchecked, scope creep can cause a web development to drag on, miss deadlines, or even fail.

A good discovery process that identifies potential obstacles before a project begins can help reduce scope creep. Also, setting expectations at the beginning on how out of scope requests will be handled can be a big help in keeping scope creep to a minimum. Some things may be unavoidable and will need to be taken care of immediately. Other things may be better suited to a phase two roll-out or ongoing support after the original project is complete.

In some cases, allocating new additions or changes to post-project updates can be cheaper. It all depends on what the changes are, how they fit within the project goals, and more. Here, too, a good development partner will be able to address and discuss these things with you and present recommendations for how best to proceed.

4. Lapses in Communication

Regardless of the nature of the project, there are going to be approvals and communication that needs to happen in order for the project to continue and launch. Lapses in communication can cause a web development project to miss deadlines and stay stagnant in a state of incompletion.

Expectations regarding communication should be set before the project begins. Your developers should know about anything on your side that could affect communication regarding the project. At the same time, you, as the client, should know what is going to be required of you in order to keep the project developing smoothly.

Changing Priorities Mid-Project

One of the things that can often cause lapses in communication is when priorities are changed mid-project. If you decide this project is less important than something else and you want to redirect efforts towards that, the original project can sometimes fall by the wayside.

At the same time, if, as a client, you have to allocate people and resources to another area of your business, you may not have the capacity to also deal with communication regarding your web development project.

Although this can result in missed deadlines and the launch date getting pushed back, you should be able to communicate these things to your development partner so they can accommodate as much as they can.

Disappearing Contacts

Personnel changes on either side can also cause lapses in communication. If it happens on the development side, a good development partner will be upfront about it and handle it accordingly to make sure it doesn’t negatively affect the project.

Hiring freelancers can sometimes be a good solution for some businesses. But sometimes they disappear and stop responding to you. This can cause a web development project to fail.

If it happens on the client side, it can disrupt communication. This is particularly true if the necessary information is not passed on to remaining personnel or no one lets the development partner know who they should contact instead.

These are just a few of the common reasons why web development projects fail. But, with a good team and good communication, you can help ensure your project is a success. If you have an idea for a web development project for your business, contact us for a meeting of the MINDs! After learning a bit more from you about your needs and objectives, we can talk about how we can help bring your project to life.

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