Monday, December 2, 2013

Project Success Sliders

What do you do when the Product Solutions Director comes to you and suggest that she would like a product delivered within a 5% error on the delivery date?

One suggestion is to run through a thought experiment with her.  For example:  Let's assume this is a project that will take about 6 months.  Let's base the schedule on a 180 day time line.  So you desire us to hit that 180 day target from six months away to within 5%.  OK that's 0.05 * 180 = 9 days.  Now is that a plus or minus 5% or a 5% range?  Or in absolute terms for this example do I have to be within 171 - 189 days (+/-5%) or within 176 - 185 days (5%).  So to continue this example, consider a team doing 2 week sprints.  This would equate to 12 - 13 sprints with one sprint error.

by Mountain Goat Software
But perhaps more important is what this one prime aspect of project success says about the other aspects of the project.  So lets try to balance the project success aspects with the schedule being the one most important aspect.  Given that the aspects must balance (rules of the game), then one can choose only one other high important aspect and most leaders chose quality.  This will give a picture something like this.  Meaning that the four aspects of the typical iron triangle (schedule, cost, scope & the unchanging quality) with an emphasis on schedule will lead to cost and scope changes (increased cost and decreased scope).  And what happens when the leadership doesn't increase the cost and decrease the scope?  Well, that quality on the inside of the iron triangle that no one wishes to degrade is .... well, degraded -- while everyone says that it is not.  And that folks, is how one creates design-dead legacy applications in six months.


Mike Cohn created the web based interactive project success sliders shown above; described in the book Radical Project Management by Rob Thomsett.

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