What's The Biggest Factor in Software Project Success? Here’s what you need to know.

What's The Biggest Factor in Software Project Success? Here’s what you need to know.

What's The Biggest Factor in Software Project Success? Here’s what you need to know.

Organizations today struggle to meet the challenges of the new digital age.

While building software is the core business for some, others use software projects to streamline processes and introduce new technologies.

Unfortunately, most technical projects take much longer than planned, cost more money than expected, or fail because of poor planning, complexities, and unexpected roadblocks.

Ensure that your next project succeeds from start to finish with a solid, detailed, and adaptable plan.

Ready to learn how?

This blog post looks at the most significant factor in software project success and how you can leverage it.

What’s the most critical factor in project success?

Many factors affect your software project’s success. And no two software projects are the same. So it depends on your business goals, requirements, and risk tolerance.

Significant factors include team skills, business objectives, and cost. To identify the factors driving your project’s success, you must evaluate each factor and prioritize them based on their impact.

The consistent factor? project size.

The Standish Group’s 2013 CHAOS report found that small projects under $1 million are seven times more likely to succeed than larger projects.

project size and outcome

Minimize and mitigate your project risks.

Before you start your software project, it’s wise to figure out your risks and what you’ll do to address them.

For example, adding a new piece of technology or team member could cause issues.

You must carefully plan for your risks, communicate them, and account for them in your project plans.

To minimize project risks

  • conduct a thorough risk assessment
  • hire a reputable team
  • and understand your client’s needs.

These essential steps help ensure your project stays on track and you don’t get nailed by significant problems.

But most importantly, keep your project as small as possible.

Find a skilled team. Equip them with the right tools.

Every project requires an experienced team with the right tools for construction to complete it faster and more accurately.

Tools include

  1. A project management tool to track deadlines, resources, and progress.

  2. A bug-tracking tool to identify and track issues during development.

  3. A code review tool to ensure that code is correct and meets project requirements.

  4. A version control tool to track source code changes.

  5. A performance monitoring tool to track the efficiency of a project’s code and systems

Plus, much more.

Clearly define measurable objectives.

While your prepare your project for execution, define measurable goals you can use to track progress.

Do this by chunking each project into discrete deliverables and each deliverable into smaller action steps. This allows you to define concrete milestones, clarify the work that needs to be done, and track your progress. It also helps you identify and address any issues that may arise.

Always understand your project’s health and make informed decisions with clearly defined objectives. This way, you identify many potential issues before they arise and approach risk proactively.

Establish a realistic timeline and pressure release mechanisms.

When planning out the timeline for your project, estimate reasonable time ranges for each task. Clarity helps you avoid inaccurate estimates while lowering the risks of activities taking longer than they should. It can also help you identify potential issues early before they become significant problems.

Remember that as projects progress, you frequently need to reassess.

Timelines shift based on new information and your team’s progress. If a task takes longer than expected and affects your timeline, you need to reassess the viability of your project. You can extend the timeline, cut the scope to adjust the other project deliverables, or reallocate resources.

As you map your project’s timeline, include pressure release mechanisms. This is important because it gives you elbow room to handle the unknowns that will come up. You can adjust time, cost, or scope to release pressure and prevent your project from exploding.

Frequently, changing time or cost makes a project non-viable because of business constraints like budget, risk, or deadlines. However, sometimes you can get away with scope changes and still ship on time, within budget, and with quality.

To make sure that your project doesn’t go over schedule, plan for regular team check-ins. Check-ins are a great way to identify new issues and work collaboratively to find solutions.

You should also prepare for regular health assessments of your project. Monitor for changes in assumptions, scope, or staffing. These changes usually mean you have a completely different project than what you initially mapped.

Don’t waste your career where you know you can’t succeed. Even though it’s hard to bring up, it’s always better to surface new insights to stakeholders immediately and reset expectations if necessary.


As you can see, many factors affect the success of software projects.

So, what’s the most significant factor in software project success?

Well, it depends on the project. However, if there is one common factor that affects every project, it is the size of the project.

If your project is too big, it will probably take longer than expected, which leaves more time for surprises. But if your project is small, you’ll finish it faster, limiting the time surprises can pop up.

After your first launch, aim for a continuous release cycle in which you update your systems every day, even if it’s just in a staging environment. However, this level of process maturity requires a heavy investment in automation (which I’ll cover in another post).

Ensure your projects succeed. Evaluate all your risks, adjust where necessary, and limit your scope.

Best of luck, warm regards, and best wishes


By the way…

Are you ready for your next project?

If you’ a’re launching a new project, there is no way to predict the size without details.

Want a plan to launch faster and limit the time surprises pop up?

Then it’s essential to do some work up front, like

  • validating business requirements
  • outlining your solution design (UX) with functional requirements
  • and setting up a solid technical design

Our team of experts can help you get your project off the ground and running smoothly. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!

Click here to schedule a free consultation with an expert from our team!