The Cheeky Monkey Media Blog

A few words from the apes, monkeys, and various primates that make up the Cheeky Monkey Super Squad.

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There are a number of reports in the IT world trying to quantify the percentage of software development projects (including website projects) that succeed or fail. The percentage of successful projects can be somewhere in the neighborhood of 32%. The remaining percent and majority of projects are either complete failures, abandoned or challenged by budget overruns, blown production timelines, or customers finding errors.

Miscommunication between the customer and the supplier accounts for approximately 66% of failed, abandoned, or challenged projects. If we look at this in the context of online software development and website development this seems so ironic. Many of today’s online software solutions and websites enable a bidirectional communication experience between the website owners and users of the websites, in many cases enabling user-to-user bidirectional communication. So you could argue that software developers and their customers are in the communication business. So the question becomes that if software developers and customers are in the communication business, why then are miscommunications costing the industry billions of dollars in failed projects and genuine mistrust between customer and supplier?

Ask yourself a simple question. If you had to embark on a new website project for your business or organization with an agency or a web development company, what is the first thought or feeling that comes to you? Is it frustration? Stress? A feeling of being overwhelmed? Do you know anyone that feels they have been burned on a website project before?

Here’s the good news. It’s getting better. Since the success and failures of software development projects have been measured, the percentage of successful projects has increased two-fold. There are some freelancers, agencies, and web development companies that are taking ownership of the communication problem and building in established points for clear, concise communication at regular intervals into their production timelines. They’re creating opportunities for demonstrations of project progress, collaboration, and feedback on their processes.

Failure, frustration, mistrust, disappointment, and unmet expectations are still the outcome of the majority of software and website development projects. Your next software or website project could potentially be a failure, or at least be a disappointment unless you take ownership of the following:

  • Choosing the right website design and development partner
  • Understanding that communication and collaboration is a two-way street
  • Having top-down buy-in to the solution, engagement in the process, and accountability in the outcome

Choosing the right website design and development partner

Due diligence is always important when deciding on a partner to strategize, plan, design, develop and deploy your next software or website project. While it’s important to understand your potential partner’s talent, technical acumen, and experience, it’s now equally as important to understand their commitment to communication. This starts at the top. Communication has to be built into the very fabric and culture of the web development company you want to work with, not just something written into a proposal document. When they are proposing their solution to you, they should be conveying their communication strengths as much as their design and development strengths. Talk to the principals, talk to the PMs and talk to their customers and make sure their ability to communicate during the process is just as strong as their ability to deliver the solution you need.

Understanding that communication and collaboration is a two-way street

We hope you partner with a software or website development partner that can provide you with every opportunity to communicate, collaborate and help steer the outcome of your project in your favor. However, if you aren’t strong enough to fight for what you want, vulnerable enough to express your fears, and confident enough to celebrate the wins along the way, it will still fail. For every sprint meeting, every opportunity to proof or test puts the success of the project and meeting its goals at the forefront of your mind. Be a part of the project’s success, not its failure.

Having top-down buy-in to the solution, engagement in the process, and accountability in the outcome

As much as communication needs to be a part of what your development partner brings to the table, your company’s commitment to the project and the fact the solution will actually solve its business challenges is key. Your commitment to the process, engagement with the partner, and accountability in the outcome are just as important to the project’s success. The saying “it takes two to tango and two to tangle” is never more true than when you are neck deep in the middle of a development project. It’s too easy to say “I’m out” or “it’s good enough”. You, your employers (or employees), and your users need to be “all in” and committed to the project and its successful delivery and deployment or it will fail.

Don’t want your next website to fail? Take the time to plan it out and uncover what’s working on your current site and what’s costing you time and money.