Four Steps To Save a Dying Dev Project
If you've been reading Redmond Developer News
lately, you've probably
seen the new DevDisasters
written by Worse Than Failure
publisher Alex Papadimoulis. His accounts, submitted by readers, illustrate
the high price of botched development. There's no doubt that "train wreck"
projects can destroy budgets, crater business plans and ultimately ruin promising
Now, Forrester Research has just released a report that aims to help developers
dig their way out of trouble. The research firm interviewed more than 20 application
development professionals and came up with a four-step plan to help dev shops
recover wounded programming projects. The steps provided in the Forrester report
- Halt all work and declare a reset
- Fix the root cause of the problem
- Re-plan the project
- Execute against the new project plan
This doesn't seem like rocket science, but Forrester does a nice job of digging
into each of these steps to help dev managers effectively redirect project efforts.
One theme I noticed: focus. In the first stage, Forrester recommends that shops
"paint a target" on the root cause of the failure, while in the next
stage it calls for a single person (a "fixer") to lead the effort
while also increasing the clarity and depth of fuzzy project requirements. Across
each stage, dev managers need to focus, streamline and componentize aspects
of the project.
Ultimately, the research itself notes that the toughest challenge may be deciding
to stop work and start over. Too often, projects that desperately need to be
reset are allowed to roll forward even as dev managers futilely apply minor
course corrections or changes.
You can read an excerpt of the Forrester Research summary here.
Do you think Forrester is on to something? What secrets have you discovered
that can help save a dying project? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Michael Desmond on 08/29/2007 at 1:15 PM