This is the Most Common Mistake in Enterprise Software Development

Published on: 20 May 2021

By Vinod Subbaiah

Enterprise software development is an entirely different creature than a lot of other custom software development projects. Whereas software applications are usually developed for a specific kind of user or audience, enterprise software is made to be used across an entire organization by people from varying disciplines. 

In short, enterprise software development has to cater to all of the users in an organization. That means it has to be developed to be used by a large variety of people in a way that still functions in line with its original intent. 

This, by far, is the biggest challenge when developing enterprise software. When you add in multiple stakeholders, each with a slightly different vision for the project, things can get derailed pretty quickly. 

Too Many Stakeholders, Not Enough Focus

For an enterprise software project to be successful, it ultimately has to fulfill its goal across the organization. This can be difficult when there are too many stakeholders with conflicting input. Unfortunately, this is often the case as a project that affects the entire organization tends to draw in a lot of parties interested in its development. 

The United States Air Force faced one such situation with its failed Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS) project that was essentially going to function as a logistics program. After 7 years of development time and over a billion dollars spent on the project, the Air Force decided to drop the ECSS and move on to simply using a third party software. 

The official explanation of the project’s failure described “a confusing and, at times, ineffectual governance structure” which was “evident throughout the life of the program.” 

Essentially, there were far too many stakeholders giving mismatched input that ground the project into a limbo of mismanagement where nothing was being accomplished. It took 7 years and an unfathomable amount of money for even one of the most well-organized institutions in the world to realize that they’d worked themselves into a corner that couldn’t be economically resolved. 

If even the Air Force could find themselves in that situation, imagine just how many smaller companies and organizations face the same problem. 

How to Manage Enterprise Software Development With Less Stakeholders

The solution to the problem of having too many stakeholders is simply to have less stakeholders. Essentially, the less cooks in the kitchen, the better the turkey. Hand the project off to a few people to oversee development and reconvene frequently to monitor progress. 

More importantly, define the scope and end goal of the project before kickoff. The more fully you define what the finished version of the project will be, the less room there will be for changes and conflicting input during development. 

Alternatively, using a third-party developer can ease a lot of the pains of enterprise software development. An experienced team can navigate many of the pitfalls that face large-scale projects and deliver a product that fits the original vision exactly. A good developer will have the portfolio and testimonials to back them up, and they’ll be well versed in maintaining communication. 

Asahi Technologies is prepared to meet all of your enterprise software development needs with the utmost confidence that we can deliver a product that lives up to your standards.

Vinod Subbaiah