“Don’t waste even one heartbeat on things that don’t matter.” Anonymous
This quotation should be the mantra of software development – if only we could figure out what “in the customer’s eyes” doesn’t matter!
The Standish Group’s 2009 CHAOS report certainly didn’t bring any celebratory words: After steady increases from a dismal 17% project success rate in 1996 to the 34% (a doubling!) rate in 2006, this year’s study reported a decrease to a mere 32% of projects being declared a success.
What’s going on? With 60-99% of defects attributable to poor requirements, and 45% of development effort spent on rework, it is clear that somehow the customer side of the house and the development side are out of whack. Worldwide, we could declare software development as a problem of epidemic proportions – especially as software pervades every aspect of our daily lives. If we can casually launch a team of scientists to fix an ailing space station on a moment’s notice, and announce medical breakthroughs, surely the brains in software development should make strides in this area. Take rework for example, currently hovering at an astounding 40% of software development effort – this means that while we do great work Monday to Wednesday every week, the remaining two working days are spent fixing and redoing the very work we just completed. The old adage – “if you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?” — doesn’t seem to hold much water does it when almost half of every week is spent doing costly rework?
Here’s the crux of the situation – it’s not a matter of incompetence! It’s a matter of the customers not being able to fully articulate what they actually need – and a matter of the suppliers not being able to deliver to requirements that are as sketchy as clouds. BUT, there’s a solution that’s been successful in Finland and Australia called Scope Management – and I’ve mentioned this many times in the past… stay tuned for more information in the coming posts. And Scope Management training is coming to Tampa, FL in just a few weeks. More to come!
To your successful projects!
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