For any healthcare organization, the successful creation and implementation of custom software is no easy feat. Doing it right takes budgeting, planning, and a committed development team. But even with those things in place, the reality is that many businesses fall short of getting the software they need to meet their requirements.
No organization willingly seeks to experience the disappointment and sunk investment costs that go along with an unsuccessful custom software project. Understanding why failures happen could make all the difference. That’s why we’re taking a detailed look at the top three reasons software projects fail in healthcare.
1. Poor Planning
Every large-scale project relies on detailed planning. For software development, plans should cover the entire development process, from preliminary analysis to deployment. If plans aren’t sufficiently detailed, your project could fail.
But planning shouldn’t be rigid. In fact, it’s normal for aspects to change as the development process moves forward. Nevertheless, a clear strategy and purpose need to be laid out before the work begins. Here are some things to consider when planning a custom software development rollout.
Determine the Needs of the Business
Healthcare software development projects must be guided by the particular needs of the patient doctor and team, and the development team must understand those needs. If there are no clear lines of communication, then developers may have a poor understanding of what the ultimate project is supposed to achieve. This will inevitably lead to disappointment in the product down the line.
Identify the End-User
Software must be tailored toward optimization for users, which means a detailed understanding of use cases and associated functionality must be in place before beginning development. You don’t want to get to the end of the process only to discover that you’ve created the wrong product for your users.
Map Out the Execution
The logistics of a project need to be clearly laid out before work begins. Appropriate amounts of time and money should be allocated toward the project, and that requires a detailed understanding of budgetary constraints.
Personnel must also be available in the right numbers and the right configurations. Custom software developers need to be candid with clients about what kind of product it is possible to implement over specific timeframes and within required budgets.
Set Clear Goals
Vague project goals over unclear timelines will inevitably lead to friction between you and your developers. Once again, it is essential that communication be clear between parties to avoid misunderstandings. You’ll also want to rely on staff who have experience formulating specific requirements and timelines that can serve as reasonable, quantitative guideposts as the development process unfolds.
2. Inability to Adapt
Detailed planning should not be construed as being in conflict with a development team’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances as development proceeds. In fact, many contemporary healthcare software developers adopt an Agile perspective on their craft. Agile eschews centralized, sequential, hierarchical, and rigid development processes in favor of flexible ones that can change in accordance with circumstances and new data.
Any planning process should thus account for the reality that custom healthcare software development is likely to pivot in unforeseen ways. Accordingly, planning itself should not be overly rigid and should prioritize input from engineers who will be directly involved in the project.
The development phase itself is likely to include frequent (even daily) meetings in which staff is coordinated, subtasks are assigned and assessed, and risks are mitigated. This requires that executives and other stakeholders prioritize giving software developers freedom and autonomy to achieve their goals efficiently, so long as they remain true to the vision articulated in the original plan.
3. Subpar Developers
One of the most common causes of failed software projects is the development team itself. That is why it is absolutely essential to put together the right development team from the get-go.
You’ll want to make sure that your development team has expertise in the healthcare industry. Prior knowledge about the sector ensures that developers ask the right questions and are able to predict outcomes based on experience. Those industry-specific skills significantly increase the probability of success.
You’ll also want to hire a team that is disciplined and that contains members who understand their overall role in the project writ large. Avoid including a large number of developers in the project; that makes things difficult when it comes to training, management, and responsibility. Overall, you want a team with the optimal number of devs who have clearly defined roles and can conceptualize their position in the hierarchy of stakeholders, managers, and engineers.
Put simply, you want to hire an experienced, patient-centric team for your custom software solutions. That is where illumisoft shines. illumisoft has over fifty years of combined experience providing custom solutions in the healthcare industry, which practically guarantees that we have the necessary expertise to help your organization with specific custom software goals.
Having worked with over thirty different organizations, our engineers have an intimate understanding of the planning process. We get to know your business, present custom-designed solutions, and work hard to make sure that communication is transparent and fluid. We prioritize long-term relationships, so clients really do think of us as another member of the home team. As your partner, illumisoft will make sure you’re set up for success at every step.