“Are we going to make it on time?”  This is the unspoken question that CEOs of software product companies ask themselves day in and day out.  The “wrong” answer can kill your chances of making it through this economy.

Software development is infamous for being “late” for a number of reasons: missing or incomplete features, quality problems, scalability issues, you name it.  According to the Standish Group 65% of project still fail and according to an article published in December 2007 in Dr. Dobbs Journal only 43% of offshore project to succeed.

In addition to this norm, we now face an economic crisis of major proportions.  There are opportunities to be had, but only if your company can move quickly to take advantage of market changes.  So how can your team adapt to the situation fast enough to not become another statistic?

The problem is that if your team has not been very predictable till now, this situation is not going to change by itself.  You’ll have to change things to get your development team ready to deliver on the mark.  Luckily, you have options for getting this process started and even accelerating it.

Options, Please!

One option is to reshape your development team from the inside out,

  • Train your team in Agile Management and development techniques.
  • Bring in interim management with experience in these techniques to make sure that they “take.”
  • Keep fingers crossed.

Another is to partner with a team like Nearsoft that’s already experienced in Agile Development,

  • Extends your team with engineers who can bring with them a culture of quality, productivity and predictability
  • Leadership that’s experienced in delivering new software steadily and predictably, every two to three weeks
  • Institute a software development cycle that gets better with every iteration because learning from mistakes is built into it

Normally, adopting Agile methodologies helps establish discipline in the software development process in a way that’s well accepted by developers.  Nobody wants to “be late” and most people want to meet and exceed their goals.  However, reading a book or two is not enough.  Real-world experience with these methodologies makes it possible to adapt them to fit the specific needs of an organization.

Are We Going to Make It On Time?

If your development team has not been delivering on time, consistenly, now is the time to make a change.  The margin of error for ISVs, SaaS companies and consumer-facing sites has gotten paper thin: one mistake may doom your company.

It is even tougher for young, growing companies because product delays are likely to impact their valuation as well as their revenue.

All of these risks can be better managed by working with an experienced partner like Nearsoft to 1) establish discipline in the development process, 2) make predictable deliverables, consistently and 3) keep your software products at the leading edge.

This will give you and your business better odds of outmaneuvering your competition and thriving.