Did you know that over 80% of software development projects run over their time and budget targets? This is due to many factors, including changing requirements, industry regulations, and poor management. A software developer may also decide to abandon your project altogether, resulting in a devastating knock-on effect and throwing you off target.
In this article, we explore what measures you can take to mitigate the effects of a software developer leaving mid-project. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Might a Developer Leave Mid-Project?
There are many reasons why a developer might resign mid-project, and their exit should cause you to contemplate your actions as an employer. Of course, there will always be resignations that are not your fault; for example, when a better-paying opportunity with the same workload is found. However, leaving mid-project typically indicates an issue with the project and the way it’s being managed.
As a result, it’s important to consider whether employees are being overworked and thoroughly assess their workloads–this is easily done by talking to your developers. On the flip side, you may find that your team is underworked and under-challenged, leading them to look elsewhere for employment. In fact, boredom at work makes employees two times more likely to quit their jobs.
Measures to Take When a Developer Leaves Mid-Project
So, in the unfortunate event that a developer leaves mid-project, what exactly can you do to mitigate the effects and keep your project on track?
Schedule a Hand-Over Meeting
If your company and the software developer have parted on good terms, it’s essential to organize a hand-over meeting before they officially leave the company. During this meeting, you should extract any crucial information you need from your developer and gain an understanding of what tasks they have in the pipeline, as well as their progress.
Of course, if the developer has seemingly dropped off the face of the earth, this will not be possible. In this case, you’ll need to speak with the project manager and fellow developers to understand how the project will be impacted by their absence and what the remaining developers need.
Once you’ve assessed the impact of the software developer’s departure on your project and team, you should then work toward effectively reallocating resources. This will involve reviewing your remaining employees’ workloads and identifying gaps that can be comfortably filled with the surplus work. Alternatively, you may elect to reassign development roles altogether.
For example, if it’s a senior role you’ve lost, you could move another senior developer into the role from another project and ask a handful of less experienced developers to pick up the slack. With limited resources and time constraints, however, this may not be possible. Instead, you could opt to hire a short-term freelancer from a website such as Upwork or Freelancer.com–though off-shore developers are notoriously unreliable.
Increase Team Meetings
An increased workload puts a burden on your remaining developers. As a result, it’s critical to increase team meetings and overall contact with management. This lets your team know that you are there to support and direct them, reducing the chance of further resignations and project delays.
By increasing team meetings and maintaining regular contact with management, you create a supportive environment for your developers and demonstrate your commitment to their success. This proactive approach not only alleviates the burden on your remaining team members, but also fosters open communication channels, allowing for quick issue resolution and efficient project coordination.
Maintain Positive Morale
Getting an increased workload after a team member resigns will likely cause lots of negative feelings among employees. This means you’ll need to work hard to maintain positive morale among your team. There are several ways to do this, including the following:
- Trust Employees: Give team members a little more trust and autonomy than usual. This lets them know that you are confident in their abilities and helps to reduce the burden of management.
- Get Involved: Don’t just be a manager–get involved with the work and lend a helping hand to your team. If you’re not experienced in the technical side of software development, ask your team what tasks you can do to help.
- Listen to Your Team: Let your team know that they can come to you with any concerns, whether they be personal issues or worries about their workload. This lets your team know that you, and the business, care about their well-being.
- Offer Training: With developers picking up tasks they wouldn’t ordinarily do, knowledge gaps will likely be revealed. Offering training is an excellent way to fix these gaps while letting employees know that you care about their personal development.
Following these strategies will ultimately ensure you’re on the right path in terms of boosting your team’s morale.
How to Salvage Your Project
While the above measure will ease the development process after the loss of a developer, you may need to consider additional strategies as well.
One of the best ways to help salvage your project is by refocusing your objectives. For example, instead of building a feature-rich application, you could develop a minimal viable product (MVP) that only contains the most essential features. This would reduce the burden of an increased workload on your development team and allow you to stick to your time and cost budget.
The trade-off is that you get fewer features. However, once the project becomes stable and usable, you can slow down development and implement new features incrementally. This, again, will make the workload easier on remaining developers while enabling your business to benefit from your software.
Hire a New Developer
Depending on where you are in your development’s life cycle, you could also consider hiring a new developer to replace your previous one. Of course, the recruitment process is time-consuming, meaning that if you’re past the halfway point, it may take too long to hire and train a new developer for them to have a positive impact.
If you feel that you do have enough time to hire a developer, then this is the most obvious way to alleviate development issues. It’s not recommended, however, to hire a temporary or off-shore developer, as they are less likely to have a vested interest in the success of your product compared to hiring a long-term employment contract.
Transfer Project to Agency
If you only have a small term and the loss of an employee means that your software cannot be built effectively, it may be more cost-effective to transfer your project to a development agency. This means handing your entire project off to a third party to salvage your software. The benefit of this is that agencies have greater access to resources and knowledge and can build your software within a rapid timeframe.
When hiring a software development agency, there are several things you should consider, including reviewing the agency’s portfolio for project quality, post-release support options, availability of a development procedure, and client testimonials. If you can verify each of these aspects to a high quality, then chances are the agency is an excellent choice.
Project Salvage Solutions From Idea Maker
At Idea Maker, we have a team of software development experts who have experience in numerous industries, from fintech to logistics. We’ve also salvaged several abandoned projects over the years, and have the knowledge and expertise required to get your project back on track. So, schedule a free consultation with us today to learn how our services can help your project succeed.