All founders need to have a certain level of belief to start a company, a confidence that they have hit on the sort of idea that could grow, that will become profitable, and ultimately succeed via an IPO. But the harsh reality of the startup landscape paints a different picture, with nearly 70% of all tech startups failing. The numbers are even rougher in aggregate, with 97% of startups failing or becoming “zombies”. However, rather than discourage entrepreneurship, these misfires should serve primarily to educate and guide prospective CEOs as they navigate a tricky landscape riddled with potholes. Startups can fail for any number of reasons, and usually multiple, but here are a few of the development roadblocks we’ve encountered most frequently.
Founders have a lot on their plates and people frequently misunderstand the full scope of managing a team of devs. To manage a large scale software project, normally, an experienced project manager is in charge of managing timelines, keeping devs honest about where they are in their progress, choosing the tech stack etc. Frequently, devs will suggest or recommend a language they like to work in, or are most proficient in, without considering the larger scope of what technology will ultimately work best for the business. A good project manager has to monitor the entire process, it is a full-time job and most founders are spread pretty thin to begin with.
Nothing can hamstring a company like poor communication. Whether between the customers, the users, or the development team, good communication is key to the success of the company. Communication breakdowns lead to confusion and missed deadlines. Be careful of each team becoming siloed and losing track of the whole project.
Developers are frequently optimistic about the time it will take them to finish a project, and clients always want their project delivered ahead of schedule and under budget. This can create a culture of overpromising which encourages partners to move the goalposts in the middle of development, underplan the design and rush straight to code and cause quality assurance to suffer.
These are just a few of the flaws we have noticed in our 10 years of software development. Learn from others mistakes and watch your project thrive!