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Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Most Kickstarter Projects Fail To Deliver On Time 179

adeelarshad82 writes "A recently conducted analysis found that out of the top 50 most-funded Kickstarter projects, a whopping 84 percent missed their target delivery dates. As it turns out, only eight of them hit their deadline. Sixteen hadn't even shipped yet, while the remaining 26 projects left the warehouse months late. 'Why are so many crowdfunded projects blowing their deadlines? Over and over in our interviews, the same pattern emerged. A team of ambitious but inexperienced creators launched a project that they expected would attract a few hundred backers. It took off, raising vastly more money than they anticipated — and obliterating the original production plans and timeline.'"
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Most Kickstarter Projects Fail To Deliver On Time

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  • WAGS (Score:4, Informative)

    by Grashnak ( 1003791 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:08PM (#42340613)

    'Why are so many crowdfunded projects blowing their deadlines? "

    Because most tech timelines barely qualify as even Wild Ass Guesses?

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:08PM (#42341475) Homepage

    Now, I said its project management 101. I didn't say that managers listen to project managers, or that project managers always understand/are good at their jobs. I was just suggesting that, a SMART analysis would have to take these things into account.

    I have however worked at rather unreal "companies" that ignored reality and pulled dates out of their asses. And.... their projects were never even close to on time. One of my own projects got delayed over 6 months because I raised the flag that production needed SSL certs on the authentication servers.

    A year or so before that, I sat down in my managers office, looked at him and told him, flat out... my project was a year behind schedule when they hired me, its 6 months in, and I still can't get a single solid requirement out of anyone aside from vague statements about "people really want it".... he smiled, looked at me and said "I know, and we are all scared".

    So basically, I worked for the people who pretended to be a real company, who picked deadlines out of their ass and then flogged people over them, but... who never actually let anyone go... so nobody really feared them....just disrespected them, were demoralized, and didn't want to work.... which didn't help the deadlines either.....

    I have also worked with good project managers who pushed back on management, and really went to bat with management to make sure the plan and progress were understood and that we had real management buy-in.... smoothest and best projects I have EVER been on.... but she wasn't with me at that company.... that company had an entire group of dedicated project managers, all of whom would just roll their eyes if you suggested that a gantt chart was even worth making...well all except for the one who stayed for 6 months and left....

  • by cwebster ( 100824 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:20PM (#42341619)

    Your first statement is untrue. You can limit the number of backers in each tier you set up. If you can only accommodate a production run of 250 units, you can set the pledge tier that includes the item as a reward to only allow 250 people to select it. Sure, that will limit your funding if you limit the tiers,but it fixes your hypothetical problem.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:24PM (#42341661) Homepage

    You're assuming that in order to be a business owner, you need to be good at business.

    That's demonstrably untrue. For instance, many business owners got there because their dad (or granddad or great-granddad) were good at business, even if Junior is a complete idiot. Other business owners are people that got a big pile of wealth by other means and invested it in an existing business and were thus put in charge by virtue of their voting shares. Still others owe their position to successfully "failing upwards" i.e. getting promoted despite failing left and right.

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:27PM (#42348809)

    That doesn't make any sense whatsoever. No production isn't generally linear: it is generally *sub*linear.

    Making 1000 of something, generally costs LESS than 4 times the price of 250 of the thing, not *more* than 4 times.

    It's true that making 10000 in an efficient will likely take longer than making 250 - because the more efficient production requires a longer and more complicated setup-phase, but there's no problem putting this in the kickstarter-description: "The first batch will be 250 items, if we get more backers, then we'll make additional batches as required ..... "

    Yes, it's sub-linear. However, if the original plans were for 250, and you get 1000, you need to retool stuff a LOT. Once you get into mass production (250 can be considered a small run that's easily handmade), the jump in costs is huge and beyond most people's abilities

    Look at the Occulus guys - they originally planned on having the prototype developer hardware to be assembled with hot glue and duct tape. Well, that's fine for 250 units hand-assembled. Not so much with all the support they got, so now they have to invest a lot more money into moulds (easily $30K each) so it can be assembled in China (the original plan I believe was hand assembly by the team).

    The problem is, ramping up is way beyond most people's abilities - it's trivial to make one-offs of something, even small runs, but once you get to larger runs a lot of work needs to be done.

    250 can be done by a small team of people in the kickstarter over two or three weeks. To do 1000 this way is untenable - do it in 4 batches and you'll find the team burnt out by the 3rd batch.

    So now you have to investigate contract manufacturers, have to do trial runs, costs of shipping, customs, etc. What you planned to complete in a few months suddenly takes a few months before production can get started, period. More if there are production problems (like a small tricky assembly gets done wrong, so it doesn't work and you have yields below 90%) because you didn't design for manufacture (again, something most people don't need to do for small runs).

    Or, perhaps you planned on using a 3D printer to make parts, great for small runs, even contracted out. But this too can be problematic - Apple has seen this when they made an iPhone 4 part in a machine designed for prototyping, which resulted in Foxconn having to buy 20 of the machines to build enough parts. Probably more to accomodate breakdowns, since these machines aren't designed to run 24/7 continually.

    And most people on KS do NOT have the skills, contacts, or ability to handle it when it blows up. It makes sense - some Joe comes up with something cool and gets a KS done to raise money to build it. But once it breaks beyond a "backyard hacking" style of manufacture to mass production, most folks are way beyond their league.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe