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CS405 Time-Tested Traps of Project Management “It seemed like such a good idea at the time” 1.

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Presentation on theme: "CS405 Time-Tested Traps of Project Management “It seemed like such a good idea at the time” 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 CS405 Time-Tested Traps of Project Management “It seemed like such a good idea at the time” 1

2 Traps #1: “It’s 90% Done” Myth: It’s almost done Reality: The person doesn’t really know what it will take to complete the task #2: “We only need to work harder” Myth: By working harder (usually longer hours) we can bring the project back on plan. “Sleep is for the weak.” Reality: Over 50 hours a week for an extended period of time severely degrades efficiency and often leads to ill- conceived short cuts. Work smarter, not harder. 2

3 Traps #3: “Demand the impossible and you will get the very best possible” Myth: By deliberately setting unrealistic target dates, the team will work as efficiently and effectively as possible” Reality: Desperate project members will cut corners, take risky actions, misrepresent their progress and potentially try to blame other teams for their failure (the game of “project chicken”). “Trying to put 10 pounds of manure into a 5 pound bag only results in a ruptured bag” 3

4 Traps #4: “The Silver Bullet” Myth: This new technology reduces the coding effort by 90%, resulting in a much shortened project timeline and reduced cost. Reality: Coding only represents 10%-20% of the total effort in a project. Often unfamiliar technology is less efficient until the organization has experience with it. 4

5 Traps #5: “Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a new, more flexible, project delivery approach which delivers a better product sooner” Myth: We’ll break down the application into smaller deliverables and deliver them in “time-boxed” phases. We’ll get results to the users quicker and get their feedback for the follow-on deliverables Reality: Results in many mini-projects each of which needs to go through the SDLC. Requires very tight project management skills to accomplish, but is often used in place of disciplined project management. 5

6 Traps #6: “Joint Application Development (JAD) will allow us to evolve the users’ requirements to better understand their needs” Myth: We’ll create a “down-and-dirty” pilot system to allow a small number of key users to experiment with the proposed functionality using a small sub-set of live data. We’ll use a tool suited to quick coding (see “Silver Bullet” above) so that we can change the pilot code on- the-fly. Once the users are satisfied with the pilot, we’ll use it as the requirements and design phases and begin the coding of the real system. 6

7 Traps Reality: This is used as an excuse for not doing a thorough analysis of the business requirements. Effort to support the on-going (seemingly endless) revisions of the pilot quickly consumes project time and resources. The business sponsors push to adopt the pilot system as the production system. Usually the pilot is not coded for “tight” error handling or for good performance. It does not scale well and is notably unreliable, but the money to produce a robust application has been largely spent. 7


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