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Most Kickstarter Projects Fail To Deliver On Time

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the better-late-than-never dept.

Businesses 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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What's the percentage (5, Insightful)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340441)

of non-kickstarter projects that miss deadlines?

Re:What's the percentage (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340655)

Not just miss deadlines, but miss their initial deadline.

Deadlines are fine.... but when scope and resources change, the deadline slips. That is simple project management 101.

One of the things I think it goes back to is the word "Inexperienced". Projects always seem easier in the planning phases than execution.

as the old saying goes.... Fast, Good, Cheap... pick 2.

Re:What's the percentage (5, Insightful)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341167)

Deadlines are fine.... but when scope and resources change, the deadline slips. That is simple project management 101.

I guess you've never worked at a real company where the management's bonuses are based on a shipping date they pulled out of thin air. So the project has to meet that date even if it means dropping features and shipping with bugs.

Re:What's the percentage (2)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341261)

Dropping features isn't really an option for Kickstarter projects, it's going to be much more unpopular than a little late delivery.

Re:What's the percentage (4, Informative)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341475)

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....

Re:What's the percentage (5, Funny)

rochrist (844809) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341797)

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.....

In my experience, that IS a real company. Pretty much every tech company I've worked for behaved this way. It's way I tend to laugh at the whole 'the private sector can do it moah bettah!'

Re:What's the percentage (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341969)

So the project has to meet that date even if it means dropping features and shipping with bugs.

I don't think slipping requirements or quality rather than delivery date [dilbert.com] qualifies as "meeting the deadline" in any meaningful sense. Of course meeting requirements and quality are much easier to fudge than the date, so they are often first to give way.

Re:What's the percentage (5, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341407)

Kickstarter has a problem in that the funding sources are unlimited.

Lets say you did good and had everything planned for a production run of say, 250 units (probably a good crowdfunded estimate). Now you suddenly get people who order 1000 units total.

Problem is, production doesn't scale linearly - building 1000 takes a LOT more effort than building 250. First, your production method may work for 250, but fail for 1000 - if you planned on using a small contract manufacturer, they may not have the ability to deliver you 1000 units anymore - existing commitments may be the first 250 will be built as planned, but the excess depends on spare capacity. Depending on when you put it in, there may be none. So for example, if you have a Kickstarter that started in May and ends in June, get the money in July and start getting parts to build out August-September (assuming you can get the quantity required - again, your design may call for a special part available in small quantities, so 250 units, fine, 1000 units, well, Digikey has 700 in stock, the 300 have a 4 week lead time). Oh wait, your contract manufacturer can build in September, but October is fully booked for holiday production, so you can build 500 easily, but now you're stuck because your production line is at capacity.

So either you have to plan for it ahead of time by making sure you can line up the contract manufacturers if necessary (expensive), get the parts ahead of time (expensive), or let the schedule slip because well, building 1000 units is a lot harder than 250.

Perhaps it got popular and instead of building 250, suddenly you're saked to build 10,000. Now you've got a problem because at 250 units, Design for Manufacture isn't an issue. At 10,000, it really is because complex assemblies take time and cost more, and you may seriously have to consider making it in China, too.

Re:What's the percentage (4, Informative)

cwebster (100824) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:What's the percentage (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341953)

The other issue is that these projects went in with an expected level of funding and since we are talking about the most successful projects, they drastically exceeded their initial projects. How are these guys going to possibly meet their deadlines when they have to scale up DRASTICALLY.

Take for example, Relic Knights [kickstarter.com] they were funded at 4400% beyond what they initially asked for. I don't know many factories, more or less individuals, that can just scale up production 40 times what they expected. That they are late should be a surprise to nobody and businesses do this crap all the time. The difference is that the information is not publicly available for people to bitch about.

Re:What's the percentage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340705)

Yeah I can't even imagine the difficulty in coming up with a deadline anyway, not knowing if I'm producing 500 or 2,000,000 of something. This, assuming we're talking about physical objects.

Re:What's the percentage (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340809)

I was hoping in to write the exact same thing... Project misses deadline! News at 11. This is all FUD.

Re:What's the percentage (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340999)

There's also a natural tendency for entrepreneurs to be massively optimistic by nature. Most people who are more realistic realize that their effort is most likely going to fail, and will be a lot harder than it seems to succeed. Those people don't bother to jump in and commit to making something new. I suspect 84% being late is probably about the right number for startup efforts in general. This is partly why VCs love to see a seasoned team of people who've built companies before, and why they like to bring in such people when they don't see them.

Re:What's the percentage (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341259)

The issue with kickstarter becomes one of the relationship between the 'investor' (who isn't actually an investor) and the producer. When you invest in my company we have a business relationship, the scope of the project expands and you give me more money, well, the relationship has changed. With kickstarter... harder to say.

If you contract my company to do something, and I fail to deliver on time (or on budget or the like) there are legal contractual issues that can be fought over. With kickstarter... not so much. What if a project decides to change a reward tier after the fact. Sorry, but I know you gave 10 grand to our game and we promised to fly you out to meet us, but uh... we're not doing that.

It's not a shock to anyone that projects don't make deadlines. But it raises a lot of questions about the nature of kickstarter funding. What if the project gets half done and they need more money so they go to a bank and can no longer keep all of their past kickstarter reward commitments? Can they even do that? If they just shut down you're obviously not getting anything. That's a given. But the huge in between space from 'on budget and on time' to 'not on time and not on budget' is going to get tricky.

Re:What's the percentage (3, Funny)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341595)

The issue with kickstarter becomes one of the relationship between the 'investor' (who isn't actually an investor)

And therein lies the rub. They're not investors. At the very most they're sponsors or supporters.

It's not a shock to anyone that projects don't make deadlines.

If TFS and TFA are anything to go by, it evidently is. *Shocked* even. WOW, the project is late!!! Call the fucking cops! News at 11.

Re:What's the percentage (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340891)

Non-kickstarter projects that miss deadlines are usually never heard about in most cases.

And most of those failures are due to management being over aggressive with the tradeoffs between quality, cost, and time (pick 2).

But, there is the additional factor in kickstarter projects wherein that the project does not already have existing supplier relationships.

But those suppliers likely have existing relationships with companies that do not like the kickstarter concept.

Pressure to slow down deliveries can be intense.

Re:What's the percentage (1)

Shagg (99693) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341345)

Most of them.

Re:What's the percentage (1)

Enry (630) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341495)

We're done here, no need for more comments.

Re:What's the percentage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341681)

My Kickstarter project hit it's expected deadline, but primarily because manufacturing was already in motion by the time I'd created the project. The fact that soap bar production is a mature industry was instrumental in meeting the deadline. The only limitations were my own ability to learn the system of production and logistics that already exists. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1627046474/stack-soap-bars-that-combine-no-wasted-or-broken-p

Re:What's the percentage (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341947)

So true.

My initial reaction was: DUH, welcome to project management.

Then you add that many if not most meet several stretch targets that are to be completed without bigger teams etc etc.

So yeah, just DUH.

And the problem is? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340465)

Timelines on crowd funding sites are just estimates.

If you fund a project expecting them to meet your deadlines you are a fool.

Don't fund it because you expect them to hit their deadlines, fund it because it is a cool product that you want when it is actually ready.

I have funded a number of cool projects and been very happy with the resulting hardware when I got it.

Re:And the problem is? (5, Insightful)

neminem (561346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340739)

> Timelines are just estimates.
> If you fund a project expecting them to meet your deadlines you are a fool.

Fixed that for you.

Re:And the problem is? (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340839)

Exactly. I think 14% of projects delivering on time is amazing.

Just Kickstarter??? (5, Insightful)

Omega Hacker (6676) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340483)

*ALL* projects have a high rate of blowing deadlines, that's what happens with complex stuff. Show me numbers that Kickstarter projects have a worse rate of being late than any other comparable projects out there, and then we can talk.

Re:Just Kickstarter??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340689)

At least normal projects have upper management to keep the project manager in line, and a lot of custom development projects have a customer organization you have to keep happy by meeting deadlines. A team implementing a kickstarter project has neither.

Re:Just Kickstarter??? (2)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340781)

I don't notice normal projects doing more than giving lip service to keeping customers, or consumers as most call them nowadays, happy. It seems everyone slips deadlines and cuts projected implementations and covers it with excuses of all types. I think this is what the normal projects excel at, telling lies to make up for amended expectations. In fact I believe that is the number one function of upper management.

Re:Just Kickstarter??? (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341801)

hihi, haha, muahhaaaaaaa....
upper management is not keeping the project in line, it is either managing the project and has the same problems as anybody, planing is HARD!
Or they are busy covering their asses....

But hoping that they'll somehow fix the issue, you are naive...

Re:Just Kickstarter??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340707)

*ALL* projects have a high rate of blowing deadlines, that's what happens with complex stuff.

Maybe it's because folks are too optomistic in their time tables?

Maybe they do that to get the funding?

The above questions are rhetorical.

Re:Just Kickstarter??? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341315)

*ALL* projects have a high rate of blowing deadlines, that's what happens with complex stuff.

Most aren't crowdfunded though, so of course it's not just Kickstarter, but Kickstarter is far and away the most popular crowdfunding site.

Re:Just Kickstarter??? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341363)

But here's the thing. The survey specifically focused on projects that exceeded their expected budgets, requiring them to work longer to fully utilize the money they received. I would be disappointed if a project that received twice the money as projected only did the same amount of work as projected.

Re:Just Kickstarter??? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341419)

But here's the thing. The survey specifically focused on projects that exceeded their expected budgets, requiring them to work longer to fully utilize the money they received. I would be disappointed if a project that received twice the money as projected only did the same amount of work as projected.

Why would you have to work longer? More money means more resources, time isn't the only resource.

Re:Just Kickstarter??? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341581)

Well, if it's a creative project, that means without a question more work into the design and execution process with some fraction of the number of workers that's inflexible. If it's a non-creative project and the number of people is variable, then there's still O(n^2) communication overhead. Sure, for some projects more money directly results in more product and the work is embarrassingly parallelizable (e.g. a production run of something that already exists), but any project that's predominantly product development will have to experience some manner of growth in consumption of time.

Re:Just Kickstarter??? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341813)

That whole idea is predicated on them actually over-delivering on the final product to a degree that matches the increased budget and delay, so what projects have done that?

If it's a non-creative project and the number of people is variable, then there's still O(n^2) communication overhead.

Which could be something or could be virtually nothing.

but any project that's predominantly product development will have to experience some manner of growth in consumption of time.

If they overdeliver...is that what's happening here? Did the Printrbot, Cookoo watch or Elevation dock overdeliver?

The Headline is Wrong [Re:Just Kickstarter???] (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341643)

But here's the thing. The survey specifically focused on projects that exceeded their expected budgets....

Exactly.

The headline significantly mis-states the conclusions that can be drawn from the text. The headline says "Most Kickstarter Projects...", while the actual study only looked at "the top 50 most-funded Kickstarter projects".

That demonstrates nothing about most projects.

Does any product ship on time? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340495)

AMD and Intel Processors, Nexus 4, ah.... why even give examples....if 8 kickstarters hit their deadline, that's probably as good as, or even better than what regular businesses deliver.

Re:Does any product ship on time? (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340931)

Don't forget that those have missed *publicly announced deadlines*. The companies behind them had plenty of time to plan and complete a couple of rounds internally before publicly announcing completion date.

With Kickstarter most deadlines are basically guesses.

Re:Does any product ship on time? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341351)

AMD and Intel Processors, Nexus 4, ah.... why even give examples....if 8 kickstarters hit their deadline, that's probably as good as, or even better than what regular businesses deliver.

But you didn't pay for the processor before it was developed.

Most software projects are late. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340511)

A more interesting metric would be to compare it other game software projects.

The exception was Y2K projects (ask your grandparents) where the CEO had to mention it in the annual report; those met their deadling.

Re:Most software projects are late. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340625)

So? Kickstarter is not all just software, and not all just games.

Re:Most software projects are late. (1)

3seas (184403) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340755)

exactly.... we all know software is commonly underestimaed in the time it takes to produce and that is before bhug killing. Why? The intelligence of those programming is overestimated....

Oh helll now I'm gonna be modded troll.... but before this happens ... I really do see the code.... http://abstractionphysics.net/pmwiki/index.php [abstractionphysics.net]

who would have thunk it (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340517)

running a business and delivering a product is hard. But business owners are complete idiot morons, i really don't understand.

Re:who would have thunk it (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341661)

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.

I'll look into it (4, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340527)

If you guys will float me $20,000 in costs, I'll launch an investigation at some point in the future. $1,000 donation gets you first dibs on the report I'll produce!

Re:I'll look into it (0)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340793)

I need to know in advance that your findings will exonerate me. --HRC

Re:I'll look into it (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340819)

Gartner Group can help you out with that.

Re:I'll look into it (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340967)

Sweet. What about my concussion? --HRC

Re:I'll look into it (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341939)

I need to know in advance that your findings will exonerate me.

That's tier 5 ($1000, evasionarium)

Re:I'll look into it (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341339)

Because Kickstarter backers will fund anything, am I right? Huh? Huh?

Is this really a surprise to anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340555)

I guess it might be if you haven't read the last few /. articles on the exact same topic.

OH REALLY!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340565)

In other news, water is wet.

Tech time lines (5, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340599)

First I plead guilty to the worst time estimating ever. I would probably guess wrong as to how long it will take me to make this post. I have had personal 2 week projects drag on for 6 months no problem. So if anyone has some great rules of thumb I would love to know. Years ago I met a CFO who had just finished grilling his tech guy for over an hour getting the tech guy to come up with a worst case scenario for the project they were about to begin. In that hour the tech guy nearly tripled his time and cost estimates. After he left the CFO doubled the time and cost estimate for the budget. In the end the CFO was nearly bang on.

I have taken a great PMI course and would recommend it to anyone in tech. Yet the PMI stuff was great if the project was fairly straightforward. But most tech projects, especially those found on kickstarter, are not really building projects so much as R&D which by its nature delves into the unknown. So scheduling the unknown is either going to be very fuzzy or lies. Since most people insist on a fixed date they are insisting on being lied to .

So I would be the last to cast stones and would doubt fraud until the fuzziness of R&D had been eliminated.

Re:Tech time lines (4, Funny)

godrik (1287354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340947)

"I have had personal 2 week projects drag on for 6 months no problem. So if anyone has some great rules of thumb I would love to know."

You know what they say: times 2, round up.
2 weeks x 2 = 1 month. round up : 1 year.

Re:Tech time lines (1)

Kingkaid (2751527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341147)

The first key is knowing what you actually have to do, and knowing what else will be competing for your time. So let's say you estimate a component will take 8 hours of programming to do. Well don't assume that it will be done in a day. You have some break time in there, emails to answer, possibly a meeting, so 8 hours of work will likely take you closer to 11 or 12 to actually accomplish. After that - just keep guessing by writing stuff down and comparing actuals with estimates. My rule of thumb for myself is take how long I think I could do the project in, assuming nothing comes up to block it. Now double it. And add an extra half of the original estimate. That is usually in-line with the final product for me, but that does assume nothing else comes up.

Re:Tech time lines (1)

Krneki (1192201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341157)

Disclaimer: I'm a sysadmin so my experience may not relate to your wok.

Think how much time it will take and multiply it by 3.

But then again I have an incredible feeling for time. If I wake at night to take a piss I can tell what time it is (-/+ 10 min). And I decided to be without watch 20 years ago, yet I'm never late.

Re:Tech time lines (2)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341845)

my wok is fine, but my frying pan needs to be replaced :-)

Re:Tech time lines (3, Insightful)

PantherSE (588973) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341229)

Years ago I met a CFO who had just finished grilling his tech guy for over an hour getting the tech guy to come up with a worst case scenario for the project they were about to begin. In that hour the tech guy nearly tripled his time and cost estimates. After he left the CFO doubled the time and cost estimate for the budget. In the end the CFO was nearly bang on.

I would say this is a good CFO. The CFO understood that he had a choice: get it done quickly, or get it done right the first time; and he chose the latter.

Re:Tech time lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341233)

"Always multiply your estimates by a factor of 4. How else do you expect to be thought of as a miracle worker?"
-Captain Montgomery Scott.

Re:Tech time lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341253)

I found what works for me is to estimate how long I actually think it will take me to do the initial work. I then double that number then add 50% to the resulting number and find it comes (more or less) accurate (within a 5-10% margin).

If I have a programming project I expect would take about 3 weeks, the end result is about 9 weeks for a deliverable. This usually gives me enough contingency for adequate testing and bug fixing.

When management starts to monkey with the time frame given, they are given the choice of either delivering a sub-par product that will result in multiple bug fixes (thereby taking longer in the long term) or having a solid product that will only require the occasional bug fix and maybe a new feature request.

Re:Tech time lines (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341757)

I then double that number then add 50% to the resulting number

So you multiply by three, then, but with an unnecessary intermediate step?

2x*1.5 = 3x

Re:Tech time lines (5, Funny)

cadience (770683) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341327)

My 'Rule of Thumb': estimatedHours * 3.14

Manager: your time estimates are surprisingly accurate; what is your secret.
Me: Thanks, I multiply by PI to account for being ran around in circles.
Manger: *not amused*

Funny? Yes, but also a true story.

Re:Tech time lines (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341395)

This is why I love my job. Managers *hate* projects with fuzzy schedules and unknown resource requirements. On the other hand, geeks like me love creating new stuff. This creates a never ending tension. I'm lucky to be at a company that is willing to let me fail or miss a deadline along the way to creating something cool.

Re:Tech time lines (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341977)

In that hour the tech guy nearly tripled his time and cost estimates. After he left the CFO doubled the time and cost estimate for the budget. In the end the CFO was nearly bang on.

Ten bucks says the tech guy was only estimating the time it would take to code. People are usually pretty good at estimating their own work, what they are not good at is estimating the bigger picture. This is not a failing, it's "by design", division of labour and all that. Also, the fool will underestimate to impress, the wise will overestimate for the same reason.

There were a lot of studies done in the early-mid 90's about IT projects, the common wisdom of the time was 3/4 of all commercial IT projects that are started, (ie: get a budget), never actually make it into production, regardless of deadlines. One major reason for that was that upper management would often have 2-3 different teams tackling the same (or similar) problems, as work progresses the "best" team is fed more resources at the expense of the others, I'd be surprised if the "fail" rate has changed much.

The basic principle is easy to understand, if you want the best apple in the orchard you will have to throw the rest of them away in the process of finding it. Often the difficulty is that they don't know exactly what the best apple looks like, they just know they don't have it yet. The IT revolution is over and has been for more than a decade, it's now unthinkable to start/run a company today without some involvement from computers. Once a company has a non-trivial computer system it is never replaced, it evolves, and if your careful how much you feed it, it will evolve with the company and won't turn cancerous.

WAGS (3, Informative)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340613)

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

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

Re:WAGS (1)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341239)

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

Especially when no one technical is involved in the guess.

I know the answer... (1)

3seas (184403) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340629)

Wow, we got our funding.... lets party....Oh the hang over.

Really its just a underestimation of required time to accomplish a project.
And this is to be expected and further more, ther really is no simple solution for the moment you say to add 1/4 -1/3 more time to a project, this will be taken into consideration and it'll still be calculated wrong. It takes experience and disapline

Re:I know the answer... (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340825)

They don't get paid till the project is complete. Should be an incentive to complete it on time.

Re:I know the answer... (2)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340915)

And that breaks the model completely, as they will be back into the clutches of other sources of financing. Like publishers that have messed up so many basically good products.

Re:I know the answer... (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341385)

Hardly. Very few projects on Kickstarter are solely dependent on funds raised there. What is demanded is that the funds raised, along with other funds they have, should be enough to make the project happen. Almost always, they will have to sell the product to non-backers afterwards to recoup their costs.

Your fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340641)

If you finance anything that is "not ready yet" and expect it will come out on time, it's really your fault.

There is a difference between preodering something on that follows established lines of getting into production (like an already produced TV show making the DVD release) and financing something that is not fully developed yet (most stuff on KS).

Delayed deadlines and even failed projects are part of the entire thing, that is the risk you take when you actually "finance" something.

Missed deadlines are not news. Failed projects are not news. People who play investor and then cry when stuff comes late or not at all are not news. Shut up and only come back when there is a significant number of KS projects being scams. The rest has to be filtered by blob that grows in your skull.

The better question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340715)

...how many successfully funded Kickstarters do not deliver at all? What which categories are the best/worst offenders?

Most Projects Fail To Deliver On Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340723)

FTFY.

Better late than never (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340729)

Doesn't bother me one bit as long as they end up delivering.

No, that's not the problem (2)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340753)

Volume production isn't the problem. Looking at the list of Kickstarter projects labelled "Where the *** is it?", many of them are games, or even just videos. Game and video "manufacturing" is trivial. There's no excuse for "BronyCon, the documentary" or the "Leisure Suit Larry" remake being far behind schedule. Not when each raised over half a million dollars.

Re:No, that's not the problem (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340901)

It's mostly borrowed money until the project is complete, so they don't get a dime from me until I receive the goods. It should be an incentive to complete it on time, as I'm sure the interest rates on those loans can't be cheap.

Re:No, that's not the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341029)

Do you understand how kickstarter works? You pay and they collect the money up front.

Re:No, that's not the problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341393)

It's mostly borrowed money until the project is complete, so they don't get a dime from me until I receive the goods. It should be an incentive to complete it on time, as I'm sure the interest rates on those loans can't be cheap.

That's at least the second time you suggested that in this article's comments and you still don't get what Kickstarter's purpose is. What's more, the third or fourth times you suggest it, you still won't get it.

What Kickstarter is there for is to crowdsource the funds to actually make things in the first place. You know, paying developers, paying for artists, paying for materials, paying the creators so they don't have to carry a second job and delay the release of the project even further, that sort. Theory is, it directly puts the end customers in the place of the venture capitalists that normally do that sort of thing, removing a middleman who may not care about the end product and just wants his/her cut of the profits, if they even agree to fund them in the first place (fun fact: Despite very loud public demand from a subculture, venture capitalists generally don't like to fund things without mass appeal and near-guaranteed profit to them!).

What you're suggesting instead is to set up some bounty for completing the project, assuming all those icky "development costs"* that happen between bragging about a bounty and making a final product just magically vanish somehow. Meaning that the creators still need to get money for development and such from somewhere, and that somewhere isn't you or the public. So they still have to seek out said funding anyway (or cancel) and quite frankly aren't beholden to you for anything since you're clearly not helping at all, which brings everything back around to the whims of the venture capitalists who may not care about the end product and just want a cut of the profits.

*: "Development" being a word not solely restricted to software in this case.

Doesn't have anything to do with Kickstarter (5, Insightful)

ddd0004 (1984672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340791)

You can remove the word Kickstarter from that headline and it is just as true.

What incentive? (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340795)

Kickstarter is set up in a way that there's no incentive, at all, for anybody to do anything once they get the money. There's really not. Many times, I've considered creating a project that is an Open Source, Apple product related, DIY bullshit thing and just taking the money. Heck, I still might.

Kickstarter I believe, was either created by very naive, or very smart people who take advantage of the very naive people, or very stupid people.

Re:What incentive? (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340903)

Well, what people on Kickstarter stake on this is their reputation. If you do what you say, you will just be a common fraudster without any reputation left.

Re:What incentive? (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341317)

That's a rotten incentive. Identities can be faked easily. And of course, some people (myself included), couldn't give a flying shit about their "reputation".

Re:What incentive? (2)

zhrike (448699) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341183)

Many times, I've considered creating a project that is an Open Source, Apple product related, DIY bullshit thing and just taking the money. Heck, I still might.

Congratulations. You're a dick.

Kickstarter is set up in a way that there's no incentive, at all, for anybody to do anything once they get the money.

Except integrity.

Re:What incentive? (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341485)

Yeah yeah clever guy, I'm sure you could be a successful fraudster if you wanted to - although quite possibly, you'd fail to reach your target like most Kickstarter projects. I bet you and I both could steal credit cards too if we wanted to, it doesn't take much skill to be criminal jackasses.

Most Kickstarter projects deliver. A little late, most likely, but experienced backers count on that (and we also develop an idea about which projects are likely to be very late). It shouldn't happen with your economic model, yet it does! Clearly, something is wrong with reality... or your model.

Most successful kickstarter project starters say they'd do it again - and those that do, tend to hold their schedules better. Who would have though it - maybe the opportunity to keep making money is an incentive as well!

Re:What incentive? (1)

taucross (1330311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341673)

Congratulations, you're an evil person.

Deadlines != Estimate (1)

codewarren (927270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340805)

The estimate on Kickstarter is not a promise. You estimate how long it might take. The reason you estimate is because it hasn't been done before. If it had... there wouldn't be a Kickstarter.

Re:Deadlines != Estimate (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341125)

difference between estimate and promise is pretty small, just matter of how the kickstarter uses his words.

most of the rewards are worded as promises.

though maybe kickstarter would need a new funding model option - half the money only on delivery.

The others do that too or ship trash (1, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340865)

This is not a Kickstarter problem. If the late shippers actually ship quality, then Kickstarter may well have superior results. A simplistic "late=bad" does not cut it.

Re:The others do that too or ship trash (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341537)

The header for this article says that "Sixteen haven't even shipped yet", without mentioning how late they are (I know plenty of the top 50 most funded Kickstarter projects aren't scheduled to ship this year, and one is even scheduled for 2014 as I recall). They're really trying to force the conclusion "OMG Kickstarter is such a scam!!1!!" down our throats.

Purpose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340975)

I kind of thought KS was a way to get a project off the ground. There really needs to be a way to encourage people to put a cap on their investment. When they shoot for $20K and get over $1M they have to immediately go into higher production manufacturing than they initially planned. And that means longer start up time. If they had been able to keep to their initial quantity there's a much better chance they would meet their date. It's like skipping your initial capitalization and going straight to round 2 or 3. It is just that much harder.

Take my money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341105)

All the uncertainty and risk of being a venture capitalist, with none of the upside if they make it big? Sign me up!

Misleading headline (1)

jandrese (485) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341117)

So the study focused on the "most funded" Kickstarters, you know, the ones that planned to make 1,000 widgets and suddenly had to make 50,000. It should be no surprise at all if they failed to meet their original deadline, they probably had to change manufacturing facilities and potentially even the design of their product to handle that much capacity. Anybody can tell you that a change in the requirements for a project will affect the timeline. Maybe Kickstarter could be better about asking the developers what their timeline would look like if they got 10x or 100x their funding target, but I'd wager that it would be a wild ass guess most of the time.

FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341149)

Most Projects Fail To Deliver On Time.

Yes, but... (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341155)

Most of anything fails to deliver on time. Precisely meeting delivery dates is overrated, if what you deliver is junk.

I strongly suspect that most product development doesn't deliver at all. It seems like Kickstart is doing much better than average in that respect.

So? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341287)

Most start-ups fail. Everyone has ideas but they're not all good. If you're helping out some online beggar on kickstarter then you're probably not giving much money and therefore not losing much. Live with it, that's how it goes. It could be worse, you could be dumping a few million into some tech start-up that goes no where.

I think the fact that kickstarter is more like free money than if you were to go to a traditional investor means that of course people are going to be more lax with what they do with your money.

Extra features cause slip (1)

ryanmcdonough (2430374) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341333)

The worst thing I find, mostly with games on Kickstarter is that they set an initial goal £100,000 for example and then they hit it, within two days. So then they set these stretch goals and go "well at £200,000 we will add air combat to this game", "wow £300,000 awesome, now we will add naval...you guys don't mind us adding an extra 2 months to development right?" Wrong, don't estimate 8 months then when you get more push it further back. Some of these games (Elite for example) is set to ship March 2014, that's over a year away and you're expecting me to pop £40 out now for a game I may or may not see in 15 months, what is my incentive here other than I may get a £2 discount on a game in the future.

Hexbright (1)

n2505d (759637) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341411)

I am holding my Hexbright [slashdot.org] now! Admittedly, I went into this with rather low expectations knowing how difficult product development can be. I thought it was interesting, fond memories of the original Battebots and it was my first Kickstarter support; probably not the best criteria for investments... Product exceeded my expectation.

Re:Hexbright (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341527)

Still waiting for mine. But its due any day now. I might pop out to the mailbox and see.

Annoying Financial Backers (1)

makoto149 (953340) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341585)

Once somebody opens their checkbook they think their opinion matters or something. They should just pretend the developers are like children and just give them money with no expectations.

The Example they give (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341799)

Of getting way more money then they originally planned and having to expand the scope accordingly is not a missed deadline. You simply cannot call that a missed deadline, unless the developers specifically say that they will still hit the deadline well after it is obvious how much more money they have to spend developing the game.

simple solution (1)

j2.718ff (2441884) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341903)

Is there a way to limit the number of backers allowed to back a project? If not, there should be.

Let's say I'm an inventor. I can easily build 1,000 of my widgets in a month. The only problem is I don't have enough funds to buy the components. So I get a bunch of packers, problem solved. But then I get so many backers that I need to produce 10,000 widgets in a month. That means I need to hire help to assemble them. My skill is in inventing -- I don't know how to find the best workers. I don't know how to train them well.

Ideally, funding should stop after I've reached the 1,000 widgets in a month. After a month of successfully making widgets, I should have enough profit to invest in making more (assuming demand exists). Then I can start looking into what I need to do in order to grow my production facility. I should not have to deal with these huge growing pains at the very start of it all. That can easily lead to a premature failure.

Isn't this to be expected? Kickstarter is ~VC (1)

Khopesh (112447) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341925)

Kickstarter is merely crowdsourced venture capital. The whole philosophy behind venture capital is high risk, high reward. Most investments fail but a few make enough profit to overcome the others' losses. Some time in the 2000s dot-com bubble, the VC expectations I heard were one in fourteen investments should average 20x growth (while 14x growth would roughly break even), though I don't know how many investments such a group would have going concurrently (more would permit more variance).
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