Death March Projects                          in today’s                         Hard Times                               ...
Publication Details, and General Disclaimer                This presentation is an open-content collaborative document. An...
Agenda                     Introduction and quick summary                     Project Politics                     Project...
Two kinds of death-                            march project                        Defensive                        Offen...
“Defensive” death-march                                                            “Give me an estimate for               ...
Your assessment                                                        “I think it will take…                             ...
Offensive death-march project                                7
Indicators of new age of                 death-march projects                Overall indicators                        Sto...
Supply vs. demand                Demand for new death-march projects                        Probably LOTS of “defensive” d...
Impact of new death-march projects?                Faster?                        Unlikely - indeed, things might slow dow...
Agenda                     Introduction and quick summary                     Project Politics - more “ugly” projects     ...
Project Politics: determining theh Basic Nature of the Project a p                                                        ...
One comment re peopleware  It doesn’t have to cost a  lot of money to make  people feel good about  their participation in...
Monitoring & controlling progress    Traditional, common-sense    ideas — e.g., the “nightly    build” — still make a lot ...
Process Issues                     “Good Enough” soft ware                     Economic justification of PI               ...
Good-Enough Processes           “Zero defect” is the enemy of “good enough” — except in situations           that people p...
Economic justification                    of PI initiatives           Process improvement is much harder to sell as a     ...
Agile Processes           Obviously!           Cost-cutting culture will probably favor “light”           processes, with ...
Process Impact of                   “junior-heavy” teams         Less-experienced people need a more formal, rigorous,    ...
Conclusions           Most of these cycles last 2-3 years, and then           we’re back to good times           But peopl...
Published under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)   21
Death March Projects                          in today’s                         Hard Times                               ...
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Boston spin conference death march yourdon

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Boston spin conference death march yourdon

  1. 1. Death March Projects in today’s Hard Times Edward Yourdon email: ed@yourdon.com blog: www.yourdonreport.com Boston SPIN conference March 16, 2010Published under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)
  2. 2. Publication Details, and General Disclaimer This presentation is an open-content collaborative document. Anyone with an Internet connection and World Wide Web browser may view and/or alter its content -- for better or worse. Please be advised that while the material in this presentation has been reviewed by Ed Yourdon ("Ed"); the theories and business practices expressed by the document are not necessarily his. This isnt to say you wont find valuable and accurate information herein; however, Ed cannot summarily guarantee the validity of this document. The content of any given page may recently have been changed, dumbed-down, or other wise edited by someone whose opinion does not correspond to Ed’s original material (or any subsequent drafts). Neither Ed, nor any of the contributors, collaborators, nor anyone else connected with this document, can in any way whatsoever be held responsible for the appearance of any inaccurate information, or for your use of the information contained in or linked from this document. You are being granted a limited license to copy anything from this document; it does not create or imply any contractual or extra-contractual liability on the part of Ed, nor any of the contributors, collaborators, or viewers of this material. There is no agreement or understanding bet ween you and Ed regarding your use or modification of this information beyond the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL); neither is Ed responsible should someone change, edit, modify, or remove any information that you may post on this document. Any of the trademarks, ser vice marks, collective marks, design rights, personality rights, or similar rights that are mentioned, used, or cited in this document are the property of their respective owners. Their use here does not imply that you may use them for any purpose other than for the same or similar informational use -- as recognized under the GFDL licensing scheme. Unless other wise stated, Ed and this document are neither endorsed by nor affiliated with any of the holders of any such rights; as such, Ed cannot grant any rights to use any other wise protected materials. Your use of any such or similar incorporated property is at your own risk.Published under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 2
  3. 3. Agenda Introduction and quick summary Project Politics Project Negotiations Peopleware Issues Soft ware processes Monitoring and Controlling Progress Languages, Tools, and TechnologyPublished under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 3
  4. 4. Two kinds of death- march project Defensive OffensivePublished under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 4
  5. 5. “Defensive” death-march “Give me an estimate for the XYZ system. I think it will take… 6 months 5 people $5,000,000 I need the estimate in one hour, for my meeting with the budget committee.”Published under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 5
  6. 6. Your assessment “I think it will take… 12 months 10 people $10,000,000 …but I really need more time for a careful estimate!”Published under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 6
  7. 7. Offensive death-march project 7
  8. 8. Indicators of new age of death-march projects Overall indicators Stock market, real-estate prices, GDP decline, etc. Drop in consumer spending, decline in consumer confidence How long will it last? Hard to imagine that 2010 will be anything better than “flat” Recent economic reports suggest worst may be over, but recovery may be weak and slow for years to come Impact on IT: depends on what kind of company Banks, financial institutions Government, public-sector organizations Manufacturing, consumer-oriented Startup companies that depend on VC fundingPublished under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 8
  9. 9. Supply vs. demand Demand for new death-march projects Probably LOTS of “defensive” death-march projects to cut costs, etc. Probably FEWER “offensive” death-march projects, except in companies where it’s deeply ingrained in the culture (e.g., Apple’s iPad initiative) Supply of participants for new death-march proj Cynicism/skepticism much greater than in pre-2008 period Many people have no choice/alternative — it’s not a question of volunteering Perceived inevitability of outsourcing may cause some IT professionals to think that participation in death-march project won’t save them anyway Generational factor Recent CS/SE graduates may abandon IT careers if they can’t get a job within a year or so after graduating Some recent graduates abandoning ALL “professional” careers, taking low- pressure jobs and shifting their priorities elsewhere.Published under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 9
  10. 10. Impact of new death-march projects? Faster? Unlikely - indeed, things might slow down because of “decision delays” Barry Boehm: “Projects finish late because they start late!” Cheaper!! Spending freeze on capital items, upgrades, new tools, etc. Increases pressure on open source, SAAS, Web 2.0, etc. Also, more outsourcing -- but maybe outsourcing to Kansas instead of India Smaller budgets means more inexpensive, junior-level developers Fewer people! Smaller teams Less admin support More “fragmented” teams, with people working on multiple projectsPublished under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 10
  11. 11. Agenda Introduction and quick summary Project Politics - more “ugly” projects Project Negotiations - more unilateral, less compromising Peopleware Issues - more important, but people will feel they have fewer options Monitoring and Controlling Progress - yes Languages, Tools, and Technology - collaboration tools (Twitter, etc.) Soft ware Processes — let’s discuss...Published under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 11
  12. 12. Project Politics: determining theh Basic Nature of the Project a p mission p kamikaze impossible i n e suicide “Ugly” s s chances of successPublished under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 12
  13. 13. One comment re peopleware It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make people feel good about their participation in a team... 13
  14. 14. Monitoring & controlling progress Traditional, common-sense ideas — e.g., the “nightly build” — still make a lot of sense in today’s “hard-times” death-march projects 14
  15. 15. Process Issues “Good Enough” soft ware Economic justification of PI initiatives Agile processes Process impact of “junior-heavy” teamsPublished under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 15
  16. 16. Good-Enough Processes “Zero defect” is the enemy of “good enough” — except in situations that people perceive to be safety-critical (today’s soft ware(?) example: Toyota) Emphasis on “good-enough” will increase, especially in consumer- oriented web applications Lots of technical issues - e.g., caching, queues, graceful degradation when ser vers fail But what about tolerance for bugs and security flaws? Do we really accept Microsoft’s idea of a “hacker tax”? Google has created a “beta-forever” culture Consumers show amazing tolerance for barely-good-enough when it’s free (Google mail, Twitter, etc.) Emphasize risk-based testing to minimize TOTAL failures Remember consumers will be grumpy, pissed-off, ficklePublished under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 16
  17. 17. Economic justification of PI initiatives Process improvement is much harder to sell as a “philosophy” in bad times Imagine arguing in favor of investing in CMMI when CIO has just been told to reduce IT budget by 25% in 2010 Justification will have to be based on credible ROI or risk-based argument Realistically, ROI is likely to be based on multi- year time-horizon ... politically dangerousPublished under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 17
  18. 18. Agile Processes Obviously! Cost-cutting culture will probably favor “light” processes, with less bureaucracy, formality But increased pressure on end-users will jeopardize “back-fill” and other user- participatory activities in development projects In fact, overall economic pressures will push senior management to find excuses to cancel expensive development projectsPublished under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 18
  19. 19. Process Impact of “junior-heavy” teams Less-experienced people need a more formal, rigorous, disciplined process “Ugly” (high-pressure, heavy overtime) death-march projects will lead to grumpy, demoralized junior staffers ... and while they’ll keep working (because they can’t vote with their feet) ... they’ll resist efforts to formalize processes. You can threaten to fire them if they refuse process rules... ... but there’s a real risk of quiet process-related mutiny, anarchy Prediction: we’ll have a LOT of crappy systems to fix up 5-10 years from nowPublished under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 19
  20. 20. Conclusions Most of these cycles last 2-3 years, and then we’re back to good times But people are like elephants: they never forget when they’re treated badly, even if they have to tolerate it for a while. But this downturn could last longer than most of the previous ones, and could alter the supply- demand balance We will get through it, but it may take a while... But I’ll still be here when the good times return...Published under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 20
  21. 21. Published under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) 21
  22. 22. Death March Projects in today’s Hard Times Edward Yourdon email: ed@yourdon.com blog: www.yourdonreport.com Boston SPIN conference March 16, 2010Published under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)

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