Many people always ask why it is easy for us to undertake massive construction or engineering projects and yet, it has been tough for us to deliver software projects without defects on time.
This article will highlight some reasons why software development is so hard. However, the article does not support poor software development practices. Rather, it will try to explain that even with the best development practices, delivering a defect free software is still a challenge for many developers.
The industry is still young
For over a thousand years, we have been constructing houses, roads, and bridges. However, there is no precise number of the structures which collapsed before we gained the relevant skills to construct the structures.
Similarly, the software industry is very young. There is still have a very long way to go before we develop the experience the construction and manufacturing industries have. Nowadays, the construction and manufacturing industries use pre-assembled materials and parts and most them are machine made and have been tested and tried before being given the go-ahead to be used in those sectors.
On the other hand, the software industry does not enjoy the benefits of pre-assembled components that the other industries enjoy. Software development involves the processes of discovery, invention, and creation of new parts; thus each and every part is built from scratch.
The probability of every stage to fail is very high
Most software developments are customized to meet the needs of the end-users; therefore, most of the procedures used to develop the software are unproven and should be tested. But this is entirely impractical in the real world.
Every stage of the software development has dozens and at times thousands of probable inputs, outputs and other factors involved in them. Each of these factors can have an impact on the development process, and at other times the process can be affected by external factors. So, if each and every stage were to be tested, it would be hard to establish the unknown factors that could make your software to malfunction.
Also, testing a process in every stage is not the only part of the challenge. All the processes and stages are interrelated. They are usually part of the whole system, and if tests are to be done, then they would involve the entire system which would be very expensive, time-consuming and full of countless setbacks.
People don’t have the idea of what expect until they see it
Mostly, many users believe that they know the kind of services the newly developed software. However, the fact is, until they gain access to the software and start using it. It’s when they understand what they need to form the software.
This is a common case in scenarios where software is being developed for the first time or the methods used have not been used before.
Research has shown that most software development projects experience about 25% change in requirements from the initial stage to the first release. This problem affects almost every project.
Mostly, these changes start taking effect when the first designs appear which makes mats end-users to change their minds on what they need.
Most software developers have faced the challenges of either ignoring the new requirements and delivering a system that does not meet the end-user expectations or adopting the changes, which leads to expansion of the project or increase in the costs. Many developers describe this as the worst nightmare in software development projects.
Software developing can be attempted by anyone
Software development is not a hard task since programming is very easy and can be attempted almost by everyone. People can learn how to write codes very quickly, but that does not prove their ability to deliver great software.
This can be related to the process of learning a new language. Being able to understand the grammar and acquiring reasonable vocabulary does not mean the ability to have a fluent conversation with native speakers.
The efficiency ratio between different software developers is estimated to be as high as 30:1, meaning that people are only looking hire the best software developers. Unfortunately, this has been a challenge as finding competent software developers is very hard.