Why Software Projects Fail & How to Avoid Software Failure?

software projects fail

Why Software Projects Fail & How to Avoid Software Failure?

Why Software Projects Fail & How to Avoid Software Failure? 1200 628 Status200
Working on a software development project isn’t an easy task. Although people think of it as a structured process for building software, there are plenty of challenges that developers usually face. There is a common question among the people that why software projects fail? There is not a certain or predefined reason for a software failure. Sometimes, some unexpected errors and sequence of events come across the development process that contributes towards a software development failure.

Usually, software projects fail due to some lack of management in the project. Meanwhile, you just can’t put all the blame on the management team, there are numerous other reasons for software project failure. In this blog, we’ll discover all the causes of software collapse and the solutions to deal with such problems. There are several software project failure examples that you can see for having a better idea.

5 Software Project Failure Examples

Developing software is a great responsibility for any software development team. In history, there have been plenty of software project failure examples that have cost a fortune to the companies. So, we are proving the top five examples for your acknowledgment of software failure:

1- Software error in medical infusion pumps

CareFusion is a well-known medical company that designs various medical equipment for different hospitals all around the world. The company designed the CareFusion Alaris pump for the automatic delivery of fluids and medicine to the patients. In 2015, the management noticed a software error that was causing the infusion delay through the pump. After this incident, they had to issue a separate line of the ventilator to avoid suffocation for the patient due to software project failure factors.

2- Software glitches in fighter planes

In 2018, the plane engineers of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet noticed a software glitch that happened due to a bug in the software. Due to this bug, the software was unable to detect the exact target and in some cases, it was showing multiple targets at a time. Meanwhile, the reason to use the software was to detect targets for each flying plane from various angles. So, this glitch became one of its reasons for software project failure.

3- Software incompetency helped the hacker-thieves

Most hacking cases occur due to software failure or lack of security. So, here’s a story from 2016, where a group of hacker-thieves hacked the Bangladesh Bank System. They successfully transferred $81, 20, and 101 million in three transactions. They were on the way to transfer $870 million until they made a spelling mistake that alerted the Federal Reserve Bank and the transaction was canceled. So, according to the authorities, there was an automatic printer responsible for printing all the transaction details. There was some interruption in the software due to which the process became slow. As a result, it allowed enough time for the hackers to steal the money and clear all their tracks.

4- Software failure caused car accidents

In the past years, Toyota launched its automatic cars with various functionality for better driving practices. After a short period, there were plenty of complaints from the users that their cars were accelerating unconditionally. After a few accidents, it was proved that it was the software failure that was leading towards these dangerous issues. As a result of further investigation, they revealed that the software has multiple issues like memory corruption, safety system failure, and incorrect memory handling. So, as a result of this software collapse, Toyota’s stock price dropped by 20% in a few weeks.

5- The false alarm about a missile strike

In 2018, a huge incident happened in Hawaii due to software project failure factors. The citizens of the state were alarmed to take necessary precautions for facing a missile strike. People panicked and did whatever they could do to save themselves. Meanwhile, it turned out to be false news as there was no missile strike but a software failure. It took them more than 30 minutes to trace the alert and as a result, they found that there are major flaws in the alert origination software.

What are the Reasons for Software Project Failure?

In the above examples, you found the only reason for all the incidents i.e. software failure. But do you know why software projects fail? We need to know these reasons, so such events don’t happen again. There are many reasons why software projects fail.

Improper description of project scope

Many software projects fail due to an improper description of the project scope. In most cases, the clients are unable to define their requirements due to a lack of knowledge of the field. That’s why it is recommended to have basic software knowledge if you are getting into it. Sometimes, the developing team fails to understand the client’s requirement for the project’s scope. However, it can also be a misunderstanding between the two sides. So, to make everything certain, there must be a collaboration from both ends during the development of the software and, every technical and non-technical requirement should be documented throughout the software development journey.

Low budget

Sometimes the clients are looking for a software solution at a cheap price. There are plenty of developers who are seeking work and they get ready to deal with the project. When you are not paying a standard price for a project, the developing team can’t access the best tool and therefore try to implement shortcuts in the codebase during the development of your software. As a result, many security measures get compromised. Lack of budget is one of the major reasons why software projects fail.

Short deadline

There is a certain time for every work, it’s a universal rule for everything. So, you can’t go against the nature of the work. Highly complex and data-driven software takes time for complete development. When a client gives a short deadline for the project completion, there are many chances for mistakes. Above all, it gives either tiny or no room to the development team to undergo fully-fledged testing. The developer will go for every shortcut that he can take to complete the project within the deadline. As a result, there will be several mistakes in the projects. The consequences of these mistakes come across when there is a load on the software and then it fails in the production environment.

Multiple teams for a project

Sometimes a company needs large scale software to perform its operation automatically. For that purpose, the owner thinks that it is better to divide the work and assign it to different software developing teams for quick execution. That’s where things may go wrong and as a result software projects fail. When you assign a project to different teams you get the work done in a short time but in the end, it induces huge confusion among collaborating teams if proper software developments aren’t followed. Sometimes different elements of the software are not compatible with each other because of different teams working on it.

Poor project management

Lack of project management is among the significant reasons why software projects fail. Whether it is a software project or some other work, nothing can be done properly if there is poor management. That’s why project management skills have a separate value in the software development world. Apart from the code and the database management, there are plenty of other things including servers, APIs, media, hosting, etc. If you are good at coding it doesn’t mean you are a great software developer. You must know how to carry every aspect during the development, so it would not become a mess in the end.

Tools selection

Every software has different objectives and functions from others. For that purpose, different types of software require different frameworks and tools for their development. Sometimes, developers with a lack of knowledge for the specific technology try to develop the software with the tools they have a grip on. A single software can be developed from various tools but some suitable tools are better for certain functions in the software. These specific tools can play a vital role in the performance of the software.

Substandard software testing

Once the software is ready, you must test it properly from different software testing tools. Today, many software development companies use expensive tools to make sure of the quality of the software. It keeps them free from all the reasons for software project failure. When the developers become excited about submitting the project in the end, they lack in the testing of the software. That’s where they ignore the chances of software failure and most of the time developers face difficulties for this mistake.

Another thing that both employers and dev teams fail to understand is the importance of software testing, not only in the development but also post-development. Everything has its optimum performance lifecycle and the same is also true for software. Therefore, it’s the job of an employer to allocate enough testing time that a software team can use in refining and making a software app more stable.   

Software maintenance

Just like every other machine, the software also needs maintenance. Although it is not like a machine, it works in the same manner. So, effects will be the same and require maintenance from time to time. Usually, people think that once they have installed the software, their job is over. Meanwhile, maintaining the performance and quality of the software is one of the most difficult tasks. So, after the development of the software, make sure to document every code and related information. It will help not only you but also any new developer to better understand future updates and bugs. Every software needs further updates in the form of additional features according to the user requirement.

Software Projects Fail, How to Avoid Software Failure?

As you have read all the failures why software projects fail, so you must know about the solutions to these failures. According to a case study in 2016, the software failure rate after project completion is more than 60%. For that purpose, you must take all the necessary measures for the development of quality software. If you want to know how to avoid software failure, you must follow the following tips.

Pre-agreement of project scope

Both client and the developer must agree on the project’s scope to avoid any misconception during the development process. Clients must provide all the requirements of their software while having a primary knowledge about software development. Meanwhile, the developer must make sure to assist the employer such that all requirements are well defined according to the standard. Once the developer gets all the information according to the scope of the project, he can start working with certainty.

Make peace on all the conditions

Don’t agree if it is difficult to complete the project within the given deadline by the client. It is better to say no than to face the disappointment of a software failure. It would be better to convince the client to increase the deadline of the project, so you can work with proper attention. Meanwhile, if the software needs expensive tools or extra effort, request the client for fair charges to avoid any compromise on the tools or project’s quality.

Quality software model

It doesn’t matter what kind of project you are working on, make sure to use the best appropriate software model for your project. To avoid any reasons why software projects fail, make sure to consider this tip. It will help you overall to get rid of all these problems. Today, most of the well-developed firms use agile methodology for the quality development of the software.

Team selection

Make sure to hire the right team with expertise on a specific software project you are looking for. Each person of the developing team must be aware of all the aspects of the technology that is assigned to him/her. When you have a complete grip on a specific tool you can produce the best results by using all of your potentials.

Standard software testing

After the project completion, you must follow a standard software testing procedure to avoid software project failure factors. Use the best tools for this purpose and look for any kind of bugs in the program. Make sure that all of your code is aligned perfectly. After checking all the factors related to the software, run a final test to remove any chance of mistakes. Last but not the least, address every possible loophole in the codebase and software setup to avoid software hacking and attacks.

Note for Development teams: Always make sure to follow a standard testing mechanism. Don’t use your employer as a tester. This will cast a bad reputation in front of your employer. Follow smoke, Stress, and A/B testing to guarantee that you eliminate as many bugs as possible.

Note for Employers: Give at least 1 additional month on top of the agreed-upon development deadline for solely testing. Ensure to monitor the complete software testing and only when you are satisfied, then move the project development towards the closure.  


It is a fact that every technology has its consequences that we have to face. We have presented to you all the factors on why software projects fail. It doesn’t mean that we should stop using this wonderful technology. If we see on the brighter side, software development has made our lives and many businesses’ operations quite easy due to numerous benefits. The reason to show you all of these factors is to make you aware of making such mistakes. Besides that, these tips will surely help you to develop high-quality software.

Connect to Status 200

Status 200 is undoubtedly considered among the top-notch software development firm due to its quality services. There is a well-qualified and skillful team of developers working for the company. Meanwhile, they follow the latest agile methodology for the development of their software. This firm works with proper project scope management to keep the development process in a perfect flow. So, connect to Status200 and get the best software solution services at a reasonable cost.