Saturday, February 2, 2008

In the beginning of a new project...

In the beginning of a new project, you wonder what can you do to get better results than in your last, right? Well, actually the most common is to do the same things you did last time and expect to get different results! I think that's nonsense, we should strive every time to improve our process and make our teams more effective. What's effectiveness? For me, is to deliver a product that satisfies the business needs. That's why I like agile processes, they are focussed on delivering business value from week 1.

Last week, the business people handed us some documents they wrote for modeling the business (as in RUP). I'm sure they spent a lot of time writing them. I read them and am required to make a use case model and estimate. Last project we did that and missed by 100%! (the project was estimated in 5 and me took 10)... actually, the first release will be on March... We estimated a with about 50 use cases that we wrote in about 2 months, and we really missed the target. Why? Some aspects are:

- We did a big Requirements Phase upfront. Requirements always change. In the beginning of the project, you really don't know everything! We all learn a lot during the project time, even the user, and requirements always change.
- Sometimes, the developer read the use case and programmed something different from the what the user expected.
- We didn't include enough time for testing.
- Testers weren't part of the projects but after 7 months of development.
- My MS Project has been in 90% for the last 2 months... My schedule is not guarantee or real indicator of the project status, working software is...

In this new project, I want different results, and for that, I think we need to try different things.

The first thing is: Don't do a lot of upfront requirements.

Check this essay from James Shore:

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