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Classic Mistakes

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Avoid seat-of-the-pants commitments. Realistic expectations is a TOP 5 issue ... See above... do the required work up front! 13. Classic Mistakes Enumerated ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Classic Mistakes


1
Classic Mistakes
  • Instructor Mike ODell

This presentations was derived from the textbook
used for this class, McConnell, Steve, Rapid
Development, Chapter 3.
2
Why Projects Fail - Overview
  • Five main reasons
  • Failing to communicate
  • Failing to create a realistic plan
  • Lack of buy-in
  • Allowing scope/feature creep
  • Throwing resources at a problem
  • N.B. Software development is COMPLEX and HARD,
    so people make mistakes.

3
Categories of Classic Mistakes
  • People-related
  • Process-related
  • Product-related
  • Technology-related

4
Effect of Classic Mistakes on Development
Schedules
  • Doing a few things right DOES NOT guarantee
    success!
  • Use of any specific best practice is necessary,
    but not sufficient, to achieve rapid development
    speeds
  • Missing most of the potholes in the road, but
    falling into one big one, will ruin your whole
    day (or project)
  • One bad apple (mistake) can spoil the bunch

5
Classic Mistakes - Homework
  • Before next class..
  • Review the following slides thoroughly
  • If slides are not clear, refer to textbook for
    further details
  • Prepare short (1 page) document listing your Top
    5 concerns about classic mistakes for your
    team/project. Provide rationale for each.
  • Turn in and prepare to discuss in next class.

6
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 1. Undermined motivation
  • The Big One - Probably the largest single factor
    in poor productivity
  • Motivation must come from within
  • 2. Weak personnel
  • The right people in the right roles
  • 3. Uncontrolled problem employees
  • Problem people (or just one person) can kill a
    team and doom a project
  • The team must take action early
  • Consider the Welch Grid

PEOPLE-RELATED
7
The Welch Grid
GOAL
Train
Train
Educate Evaluate
Train Educate
Buy-in, Potential
Evaluate
Problem
Evaluate
Evaluate
Influence, Capabilities, Skills
One of several variants, attributed to Jack
Welch, former CEO of General Electric
PEOPLE-RELATED
8
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 4. Heroics
  • Heroics seldom work to your advantage
  • Honesty is better than an empty can-do
  • 5. Wishful thinking
  • Not the same as optimism
  • Dont plan on good luck! (Plan on bad luck??)
  • May be the root cause of many other mistakes
  • 6. Noisy, crowded offices
  • Work environment is important to productivity
  • Noisy, crowded conditions lengthen schedules

PEOPLE-RELATED
9
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 7. Friction between developers and
    customers/sponsors
  • Cooperation is the key
  • Encourage participation in the process
  • 8. Unrealistic expectations
  • Avoid seat-of-the-pants commitments
  • Realistic expectations is a TOP 5 issue
  • 9. Lack of effective project sponsorship
  • Management must buy-in and provide support
  • Potential morale killer

PEOPLE-RELATED
10
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 10. Lack of stakeholder buy-in
  • Team members, end-users, customers, management,
    etc.
  • Buy-in engenders cooperation at all levels
  • 11. Lack of user input
  • You cant build what you dont understand
  • Early input is critical to avoid feature creep
  • 12. Politics placed over substance
  • Being well regarded by management will not make
    your project successful

PEOPLE-RELATED
11
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 13. Adding people to a late project
  • Productivity killer
  • Throwing people at a problem seldom helps

PEOPLE-RELATED
12
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 14. Overly optimistic schedules
  • Wishful thinking/planning on good luck.
    (Feasibility??)
  • 15. Insufficient risk management
  • Identify unique risks and develop a plan to
    eliminate them
  • Consider a spiral (iterative) approach for
    larger risks
  • 16. Contractor failure
  • Relationship/cooperation/clear Statement of Work

PROCESS-RELATED
13
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 17. Insufficient planning
  • If you cant plan it you cant do it!
  • 18. Abandonment of planning under pressure
  • Path to failure
  • Code-and-fix mentality takes over and will fail
  • 19. Wasted time during fuzzy front end
  • That would be now!
  • Almost always cheaper and faster to spend time
    upfront working/refining the plan

PROCESS-RELATED
14
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 20. Shortchanged upstream activities
  • See above do the work up front!
  • Avoid the jump to coding mentality
  • 21. Inadequate design
  • See above do the required work up front!
  • 22. Shortchanged quality assurance
  • Test planning is a critical part of every plan
  • Shortcutting 1 day early on will likely cost you
    3-10 days later
  • QA me now, or pay me later!

PROCESS-RELATED
15
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 23. Insufficient (project) management controls
  • Buy-in implies participation cooperation
  • 24. Premature or overly frequent convergence
  • Its not done until its done!
  • 25. Omitting necessary tasks from estimates
  • Can add 20-30 to your schedule
  • Dont sweat the small stuff!

PROCESS-RELATED
16
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 26. Planning to catch up later
  • Schedule adjustments WILL be necessary
  • A month lost early on probably cannot be made up
    later
  • 27. Code-like-hell programming
  • The fast, loose, entrepreneurial approach
  • This is simply Code-and-Fix. Dont!

PROCESS-RELATED
17
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 28. Requirements gold-plating
  • Avoid complex, difficult to implement features
  • Often, they add disproportionately to schedule
  • 29. Feature creep
  • The average project experiences 25 change
  • Another killer mistake!
  • 30. Developer gold-plating
  • Use proven stuff to do your job
  • Avoid dependence on the hottest new tools
  • Avoid implementing all the cool new features

PRODUCT-RELATED
18
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 31. Push-me, pull-me negotiation
  • Schedule slip feature addition
  • 32. Research-oriented development
  • Software research schedules are theoretical, at
    best
  • Try not to push the envelop unless you allow for
    frequent schedule revisions
  • If you push the state of the art it will push
    back!

PRODUCT-RELATED
19
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 33. Silver-bullet syndrome
  • There is no magic in product development
  • Dont plan on some new whiz-bang thing to save
    your bacon (i.e., your schedule)
  • 34. Overestimated savings from new tools or
    methods
  • Silver bullets probably wont improve your
    schedule dont overestimate their value

TECHNOLOGY-RELATED
20
Classic Mistakes Enumerated
  • 35. Switching tools in the middle of the
    project
  • Version 3.1version 3.2 version 4.0!
  • Learning curve, rework inevitable
  • 36. Lack of automated source control
  • Stuff happens enough said!

TECHNOLOGY-RELATED
21
Escape from Gilligans Island
  • Crazy schemes may seem to work for a while, but
    seldom produce desired results
  • Many companies find at the end of a project that
    they have made yet another classic mistake,
  • spent more time and resources than required
  • delivered the product late.
  • Dont let this happen to you!

22
Exercise Develop a Project Disaster Avoidance
Plan
  • Get together as a team and make a list of worst
    practices that you should avoid in your project.
  • Include specific mistakes that you think
    could/will be made by your team
  • Post this list on the wall in your lab space or
    wherever it will be visible and prominent on a
    daily basis
  • Refer to it frequently and talk about how you
    will avoid these mistakes

23
Course Admin Labs, Going Forward (after this
week)
  • Progress Reports
  • Team
  • Include Project Earned Value (major tasks) in
    your report (sum of completed individual tasks)
  • Individual
  • use standard format posted on website
  • Evaluate Earned Value based on 0 - 100 (all or
    nothing) methodology for individual tasks
  • Requires that discrete tasks be identified and
    included in your MS Project Plan
  • Engineering notebook review (random)
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