Large software projects are like catnip to corporations and governments. There’s something irresistible to them about wanting to create and build a system, perfectly customized and tailored to their needs and uses. Despite billions wasted, deadlines blown, and huge PR nightmares – companies keep pushing forward thinking theirs will be the project that defies expectations.
And there’s been some very public and very large disasters all along the way:
- Healthcare.gov website cost $834 million and was flawed right from the start
- NHS scrapped £11bn health records system after it was years overdue
- FBI ditched custom software project costing $600 million that never delivered a functional final product
Despite such catastrophic failures, many companies and governments still push forward on ambitious projects without properly evaluating a project’s feasibility. The questions that you need to ask yourself are quite simple but the more complicated the answers, the more risky the project. Some things to consider include:
- In-house expertise – Do you have the necessary skills and expertise within your organization to plan, develop, and manage such a complex project?
- Budget constraints – Is there a sufficient budget to adequately cover expenses and project contingencies?
- Time constraints – Has enough time been allocated to successfully develop and sufficiently test/QA the project?
- Off-the-shelf solutions – Are there already pre-built solutions on the market that meet most (if not all) of your technology needs?
- Competitive advantage – Will this project and technology be a source of competitive advantage for you?
The allure of building something that is 100% suited to your needs can be exciting. But that excitement shouldn’t cloud your judgement in doing your due diligence when evaluating the health and feasibility of a project. Using a pre-built solution isn’t admitting defeat – it can be the wiser course of action in many cases and may save you millions of dollars and years of wasted effort.
Check out our whitepaper: “Build vs Buy: Why Going it Alone Doesn’t Always Work in Software Development” and learn how you can not only build better software, but also make smarter decisions.