6 biggest software product development mistakes to avoid in 2024

10 min read
February 26, 2024

Developing a software product is a great opportunity for your business.

But, it’s a very complex process and it’s easy to make mistakes during development that can destroy your product’s chances of success.

Here, we’ll discuss the 6 biggest software product development mistakes you need to avoid if you want a successful product.

Let’s dive in!

What is software product development?

Software product development is the process of building software that’s intended to be sold and marketed to customers.

It includes all activities you usually do when developing software, from requirements gathering to deployment and maintenance.


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But, it’s not the same thing as software development.

Software product development also includes non-technical activities like:

  • Market research
  • Branding
  • Product strategy and planning
  • Marketing
  • Customer support

So, developing a software product is about more than just writing working code.

It’s about building a usable product that can succeed in the market.

Biggest software product development mistakes

Now, let’s talk about the biggest mistakes you should avoid when developing your software product.

Not doing user research

Not doing user research is one of the worst mistakes you can make when developing your software product.

If you don’t research your users, you’ll build a product no one wants to use – and that’s a recipe for disaster.

The more time and resources you invest into understanding your target audience, the better off your product will be.

Target market vs target audience vs target personas

And the stats prove that – 65% of users want companies to adapt to their needs and preferences.

Researching your users will help you build a better product, too.

Usability testing with just 5 users can uncover 85% of user experience (UX) issues your product has.

So, how do you do user research?

There’s a huge number of research methods you can use:

User research methods

The specific methods you end up using will depend on your research goals.

Just make sure you use a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods like:

  • A/B testing
  • User interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Usability testing
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires

Also, keep in mind that user research isn’t a one-time thing.

You’ll need to consistently engage with and research your users throughout your software product’s life cycle.

It’s the best way to build a successful software product.

How to fix it

  • Start early and iterate you should be researching your users from the start and continuously iterating on their feedback.
  • Use diverse research methods use a mix of qualitative and quantitative user research methods to get the best results from your research.
  • Do product discovery doing product discovery will validate your idea and make sure your product is aligned with user needs before you even build it.

Writing unclear requirements

Writing unclear requirements is one the easiest ways you can derail your software product’s development.

It’s one of the top reasons why projects fail – 39% of projects fail because of poor requirements.

Without clear requirements, you’ll have a much harder time creating a roadmap and a clear development timeline.

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And you’ll be much more vulnerable to scope creep and misunderstandings, which can cost you a lot of money.

So, how do you avoid this?

You need a detailed software requirements specification (SRS) document – here’s what a typical SRS looks like:

SRS table of contents

What’s key is that you cover your product’s functional and non-functional requirements.

The functional requirements cover what your product does and the non-functional requirements cover how it does it.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of both:

Functional vs non-functional requirements

If these requirements are unclear, you won’t be able to keep your development focused and your team on the same page.

And that’s a recipe for failure.

How to fix it

  • Use visual aids in your SRS document – visual aids like flowcharts and diagrams will help you avoid misunderstandings and keep everyone on the same page
  • Use Agile methodologies – Agile methodologies like Scrum include regular reviews, so you can easily adjust your requirements
  • Regularly review your requirements – make sure you regularly review your requirements as you develop your product so they’re still relevant

Neglecting user experience (UX)

Neglecting your product’s UX is one of the worst mistakes you can make when developing a software product.

Think about this statistic for a second – 88% of users are less likely to return if they have just 1 bad experience.

On top of that, 89% will end up using a competitor’s product after a bad experience.

So, neglecting UX doesn’t just turn off your users – it actively drives them to your competition.

And if that doesn’t convince you, here’s another interesting statistic – for every $1 you invest in UX, you get $100 in return.


That’s a staggering ROI of 9,900%!

So, it’s obvious that prioritizing UX is a good idea – but, how can you do that?

Steve Jobs once said:

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”

That’s exactly the mindset you need to adopt – your users’ experience always has to come first.

You need to have a deep understanding of your users’ needs before you begin building your product.

That’s key to developing a successful product.

How to fix it

  • Optimize your product’s performance – optimizing performance will greatly improve your users’ experience and improve your retention rate
  • Design with accessibility in mind – if you design your product to be accessible, you’ll broaden your user base and improve your product’s UX
  • Use responsive design – with responsive design, your product adapts to your users’ devices and gives them a consistent experience

Neglecting security

Out of all the mistakes we’ve covered in this article, neglecting your software product’s security is by far the most dangerous and costly mistake you can make.

That’s not just idle talk – the average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million.

And if you look at the big picture, there’s a worrying trend – cybercrime is expected to surge in the coming years:

Cybercrime 2018-2027

The estimated cost of cybercrime will rise to $23.82 trillion by 2027 – that’s a 63% increase from the 2024 numbers.

But, it’s not just your finances that might take a hit after a security breach.

There’s a massive reputational cost if you neglect security, too – nearly 60% of companies end up going out of business after suffering a breach.

And according to the IDC, 80% of users will defect from a business if their information is compromised.

So, if you neglect your software product’s security, you’re not just building a subpar product – you’re also risking your entire business.

And that’s why focusing on security is crucial.

How to fix it

  • Use AI cybersecurity systems – AI cybersecurity systems like Darktrace and CrowdStrike’s Falcon platform will give your product cutting-edge security and help you deal with advanced cybersecurity threats
  • Do regular security audits – make sure you have regular security audits to catch and fix any vulnerabilities that crop up
  • Encrypt your data –  if you encrypt your and your users’ data, you’ll improve your product’s security and increase user trust

Skipping software product testing

$2.42 trillion – that’s how much poor software quality costs U.S. companies every year.

And if you skip testing when developing your software product, you’ll become a part of that statistic.

One high-profile example of inadequate testing is the failed launch of healthcare.gov in 2013.


According to the contractors working on the project, there was no end-to-end testing until two weeks before the launch date.

There’s one important lesson you can take from this – you need to start testing early in your product’s development cycle.

This way, you’ll catch bugs and issues before they can cause serious problems.

And the best part?

You’ll save a lot of money – fixing bugs after your product is already deployed can be up to 100x more expensive.

Cost of defects

You can think of testing as an investment in your product’s quality and reliability.

And that’s one investment that always pays off.

How to fix it

  • Create a detailed testing strategy – having a detailed strategy will help your QA team plan tests and work efficiently
  • Build a CI/CD pipeline – having a CI/CD pipeline will help you avoid bugs while also continuously updating and improving your product
  • Use automated testing tools – automated testing tools like Selenium and Appium will help you catch and fix bugs as soon as they happen

Ignoring user feedback

Did you know that 99.5% of consumer apps fail?

A huge reason why so many fail is because they ignore user feedback.

Your users want to be listened to – 77% of them view brands that invite and accept feedback more favorably.

And it’s not just users, either.

According to Barclays, 85% of small and medium businesses say that online user feedback has been beneficial to their business.

So, it’s obvious that getting (and acting on!) user feedback is very important – but, what’s the best way to do it?

There’s a simple answer to that question – creating a feedback loop.

Customer feedback loop

Having a feedback loop in place will help your team systematically collect, analyze, and act on user feedback.

The sooner you get to the feedback loop, the sooner you can give users what they actually want.

Marko Strizic, DECODE co-founder and CEO

It’s one of the best ways you can continuously improve your product and stay on top of your users’ evolving needs.

And that’s how you build a successful software product.

How to fix it

  • Set up multiple feedback channels – make sure you have several feedback channels set up to continuously collect feedback on your product
  • Actively seek feedback – you should regularly and actively seek out feedback from your users to keep on top of their evolving needs
  • Start doing continuous product discovery – continuous discovery will help you build a relationship with your users and 

Software product development mistakes: FAQs

What is software product development?

Software product development is the process of building software that’s intended to be sold and marketed to customers.

What are the biggest mistakes I should avoid when developing a software product?

They are:

  • Not doing user research
  • Misunderstanding requirements
  • Neglecting user experience (UX)
  • Neglecting security
  • Skipping software product testing
  • Ignoring user feedback

If I make a mistake when developing a software product, how can I fix it?

Here’s our CDO, Ante Baus, discussing how you can fix mistakes made during development:

Why is neglecting security the most dangerous mistake I can make when developing a software product?

It’s the most dangerous mistake because of the high financial (average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million) and reputational (60% of companies fail after a breach) costs if a security breach happens.

Need help building your software product?

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We can help you build and grow your product from the ground up.

If you’d like to learn more, you can read about our services and get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Written by

Mario Zderic

Co-founder and CTO

Mario makes every project run smoothly. A firm believer that people are DECODE’s most vital resource, he naturally grew into the role of People Operations Manager. Now, his encyclopaedic knowledge of every DECODEr’s role, and his expertise in all things tech, powers him to manage his huge range of responsibilities as COO. Part developer, and seemingly part therapist, Mario is always calm under pressure, which helps to maintain the office’s stress-free vibe. In fact, sitting and thinking is his main hobby. What’s more Zen than that?

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