There are many reasons why software development projects fail - over 30% of projects fold before completion, and over 50% will cost double than what was initially anticipated.

Rather than focusing on the negatives, however, we are going to give you some top tips that will shift your mindset and help you focus on how to succeed. Follow these tips and you’ll be on the road to custom software development success in no time:

1. Make a list of requirements

Conducting a business analysis and gathering the necessary requirements is always step one in developing software, as it will help you determine what the process of developing your product will look like. After gathering all the necessary information, a business analyst will be able to help determine what your audience needs and wants and will then relay this to a developer who can successfully complete the project. Be realistic throughout this process and never over-promise: this will help you avoid the dreaded failure.

2. Gather specifications for the project

It’s very important and necessary to jot down all the requirements for your project when you’ve collected them. This will allow all parties to verify what elements have been included as previously discussed in the contract and it also allows both parties to discuss any misunderstandings or confusion that may arise. Make sure you set out deadlines, payment structures, performance criteria, and any other necessary points in order to avoid any misunderstandings or issues in the future. Make sure to avoid “scope creep”; make it clear that once the contract is sign, the scope is locked in, and any change requests or additional development will require another contract and additional payment.

3. Involve your customer

It’s important to understand what your customer needs. Otherwise, you will develop a product that no one actually wants to use. Lots of software developmenters fail because they ignore this vital element. They become so wrapped up in succeeding that they ignore what the end user wants. Communicate with customers to prioritize their needs. Use their feedback both at the beginning of development, during the development and at the final stages. This will definitely lead to a higher chance of success.

4. Flexibility is important

It’s natural for project requirements to change throughout a development process, so it’s important you keep an open mind and be flexible about change. Nothing can kill a project faster than having a rigid mindset and refusing to compromise. Not only will it slow down your workflow, but it also prevents you from providing your customer with the best and latest technology. This will naturally lead to you losing a competitive advantage.

5. Don’t underestimate the value of internal communication

Communication is the key to project success, However, it’s not all about building good relationships with your customers (although it still is important!). Effective teamwork also leads to a higher chance of success. The healthier your work environment, the better your company. This means you should ensure that the various departments within your company exchange information seamlessly.

6. Ensure high levels of communication and be transparent

To avoid misunderstandings (which can kill a project), ensure that you are on the same page as your customers and team members. By building a transparent work environment, you can easily increase your workflow and increase your chances of success. Include weekly team meetings and monthly status reports to help encourage this.

It’s known that communication is bad in those projects that are experiencing issues, so if you keep everyone informed, you have a higher chance of avoiding issues and creating a successful product.

7. Keep testing

Testing is the final touch, and surprisingly it’s often the most overlooked and rushed process when it comes to developing software. You’ve come this far, so make sure thorough testing is completed so you don’t produce a product that is prone to errors and won’t leave a good impression on your audience. Testing allows you to find these errors and fix them before release - which will naturally increase your chances of success.

If you follow these seven steps to software development success, then you will have a higher chance of achieving your goals.