From outsized expectations to fundamental feature changes, software development projects get derailed — or declared failures — thanks to a variety of project management and technical factors.
Every software project begins with big dreams and grand visions. Somewhere in an alternative universe, there is a project that fulfills every dream but all too often software projects in our universe stumble toward the finish line and sometimes cross it.
Of course, by definition, software project failure isn’t a binary thing. You can end up with code that runs well but no one uses. Or you can end up with code that won’t even compile. Sometimes you can salvage something useful from the flaming wreckage and sometimes it’s best to run away before it explodes.
When the smoldering mess cools, the autopsies begin, as people want to know what went wrong. Here are the most common culprits.