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Experience is the teacher of fools [liber eblida digitization workshop 201110]

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  • 1. Experience is the teacher of fools:Project management lessons learned Frederick Zarndt frederick@frederickzarndt.com Sponsored by 1 1
  • 2. the problemExperience is a dear teacher but fools will learn at no other. Benjamin FranklinWise men learn by other mens mistakes, fools by their own. H. G. Wells 2 2
  • 3. the problemthe 2009 CHAOS Report (The Standish Group) reports that of all software projects surveyed, 44% are “challenged”, 24% failed, and only 32% succeeded 3 3
  • 4. the problem Roger Sessions estimates that the worldwide cost of IT failure is USD $500 billion per monthRoger Sessions: CTO of ObjectWatch. He has written seven books including Simple Architectures for ComplexEnterprises and many articles. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the InternationalAssociation of Software Architects. 4 4
  • 5. the problemin a recent survey of 1230 IT professionals conducted by Embarcadero Technologies, 2 of the 3 biggest project challenges cited by the IT pros are “poor planning” and “poor or no requirements” 5 5
  • 6. the problem in a March 2007 web poll conducted by the ComputingTechnology Industry Association "nearly 28 percent of the more than 1,000 respondents singled out poor communications as the number one cause of project failure" 6 6
  • 7. the problemin a white paper written for Project Perfect by Taimour alNeimat, he lists • poor planning • unclear goals and objectives • objectives changing during the project • unrealistic time or resource estimates • lack of executive support and user involvement • failure to communicate and act as a team • inappropriate skillsas primary causes for the failure of complex IT projects 7 7
  • 8. the problema recent tender from an (anonymous) government agency • project to convert ~ 170,000 text images to xml • value of project ~ USD $180,000 • 19 pages of definitions, governing law, proposal evaluation criteria, contractual conditions, instructions about tender response format, etc • technical requirements description? < 1 page • data acceptance criteria? “a high level of accuracy” 8 8
  • 9. the problema recent program established by a prominent nationallibrary • digitize more than 20 million text pages • high level image and xml requirements • value of work awarded? > USD $5,000,000 • after award of work, METS xml technical requirements expand to 43+ pages from ~3 pages • acceptance criteria? added as an afterthought and not well defined 9 9
  • 10. the problemacceptance criteria for a digitization program at aprominent library character accuracy > 80% word accuracy > 75% significant word accuracy > 65% 10 10
  • 11. the problemtypical tender evaluation criteria in priority order 1. understanding of requirements 2. reputation of service bureau 3. price 11 11
  • 12. 12 12
  • 13. about me 13 13
  • 14. the problemcommunication acceptance requirements 14 14
  • 15. the illusionIn theory, theres no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is. AnonymousThe single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place. George Bernard Shaw 15 15
  • 16. the illusion waterfall requirementsfor each product release repeat{ gather requirements create architecture design implement test use -or- sell}until (company goes out of business) 16 16
  • 17. the illusion requirementsa recent tender from an (anonymous) government agency • project to convert ~ 170,000 text images to xml • value of project ~ USD $180,000 • 19 pages of definitions, governing law, proposal evaluation criteria, contractual conditions, instructions about tender response format, etc • technical requirements description? < 1 page • data acceptance criteria? “a high level of accuracy” 17 17
  • 18. the illusion acceptance criteriaacceptance criteria for a digitization program character accuracy > 80% word accuracy > 75% significant word accuracy > 65% 18 18
  • 19. the illusion why (better) communication is necessary 19Copyright United Media. Used with permission. 19
  • 20. the illusion what did you say?“...in my opinion you will be very fortunate to get thisperson to work for you...” 20 20
  • 21. the illusion what do you see?The young girl The old womanis turning away... is very sad... 21 21
  • 22. the illusion perceptionmuch of what you think happened or what you think you heard is based on misperception 22 22
  • 23. 23 23
  • 24. Genetic difference at most 0.5% 23 23
  • 25. the illusion humans are different• estimated number of neurons in an adult human brain 10,000,000,000 (1011)*• estimated number of synapses in an adult human brain:100,000,000,000,000 (1014)• estimated number of synaptic connections for each neuron: 7,000• number of combinations of n (1011) neurons with s (7000) synapses, C (n, s) = C (1011, 7000) is very large (for example, the number of combinations of n (52) cards taken 5 at a time C (52,5) is 2,598,960 * anotherestimate is 86 x 109 total neurons, 16.3 x 109 in the cerebral cortex and 69 x 109 in the cerebellum. 24 24
  • 26. the illusion perception• mother and daughter 25 25
  • 27. the illusion perception• mother and daughter• Innocence Project • eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing. • exonerated 258 wrongfully convicted men (as of Aug 2010) 26 26
  • 28. the illusion perception• mother and daughter• Innocence Project • eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing. • exonerated 258 wrongfully convicted men (as of Aug 2010)• Crab Nebula supernova • in 1054 a star in the region of what is now know as the Crab Nebula exploded. For several days it was the 3rd brightest object in the sky, bright enough to be seen in daytime. • the supernova was observed and recorded by Chinese, Japanese, and Arab astronomers and by native Americans. There are few and very obscure recorded European observations. 27 27
  • 29. the fixExperience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. F. P. Jones 28 28
  • 30. the fix value of simplicity“Perfection is attained, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de St. Exupery 29 29
  • 31. the fixvalue of prototypes and pilot batches “Plan to throw one away; you will anyhow. If there is anything new about the function of a system, the first implementation will have to be redone completely to achieve a satisfactory (i.e., acceptably small, fast, and maintainable) result. It costs a lot less if you plan to have a prototype.” Butler LampsonButler Lampson was a founding member of Xerox PARC, worked for DEC, and now works at MicrosoftResearch. He is an adjunct professor at MIT and an ACM Fellow. 30 30
  • 32. the fix value of simplicity “There are two ways of constructing a software design:one way is to make it so simple that there are obviously nodeficiencies and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.” C.A.R. HoareProfessor Sir Charles Anthony Richard Hoare Emeritus Professor at Oxford University, Senior Researcher atMicrosoft Research, recipient of the ACM Turing Award, author of many books on computers and software. 31 31
  • 33. the fix good requirements• unitary: the requirement addresses one and only one thing• complete: the requirement is fully stated in one place with no missing information• consistent: the requirement does not contradict any other requirement and is fully consistent with all authoritative external documentation• atomic: it does not contain conjunctions, for example, "the code field must validate American and Canadian postal codes" should be written as two separate requirements• traceable: the requirement meets all or part of a business need as stated by stakeholders and authoritatively documented 32 32
  • 34. the fix good requirements (continued)• current: the requirement has not been made obsolete by the passage of time• feasible: the requirement can be implemented within the constraints of the project• unambiguous: the requirement is concisely stated without recourse to technical jargon, acronyms• verifiable: the implementation of the requirement can be determined through one of four possible methods: inspection, demonstration, test, or analysis 33 33
  • 35. the fixrequirements and acceptance criteria Wikipedia on data quality: The processes andtechnologies involved in ensuring the conformance of data values to requirements and acceptance criteria 34 34
  • 36. the fixrequirements and acceptance criteria “a high level of accuracy” 35 35
  • 37. the fixrequirements and acceptance criteria “article titles must be 99.5% accurate” 36 36
  • 38. the fixrequirements and acceptance criteria “article title characters in each issue must be 99.5% accurate, that is, each issue may have no more than 5 errors in 1000 article title characters” 37 37
  • 39. the illusion waterfall requirementsfor each product release repeat{ gather requirements create architecture design implement test use -or- sell}until (company goes out of business) 38 38
  • 40. the fix agile requirementsgather general requirementscreate architecturebuild prototype softwaretestrepeat{ use software adjust prototype and/or add new feature test}until (user says stop or runs out of money) 39 39
  • 41. the fix agile data conversioncreate requirements and acceptance criteriarepeat{ digitize (small) pilot batch test data against acceptance criteria adjust requirements and acceptance criteria}until (no more adjustments are necessary)digitize more data 40 40
  • 42. the fixwhy (better) communication is necessary “projects are about communication, communication, and communication” Elenbass, B. (2000). “Staging a Project: Are You Setting Your Project Up for Success?”. Proceedings of the Project Management Institute Annual Seminars & Symposiums. 41 41
  • 43. the fixsimple principles for (good) communication • be impeccable with your word • don’t take anything personally • don’t make assumptions • always do your best • be mindful 42 42
  • 44. the fixwhy (better) communication is necessary no communication ... 43 43
  • 45. the fixwhy (better) communication is necessary no communication ... little communication ... 44 44
  • 46. the fixwhy (better) communication is necessary no communication ... little communication ... poor communication ... 45 45
  • 47. the fixwhy (better) communication is necessary no communication ... little communication ... poor communication ... reduced communication ... 46 46
  • 48. the fixwhy (better) communication is necessary no communication ... little communication ... poor communication ... reduced communication ... ... all result in more assumptions about intent! 47 47
  • 49. the fix how do you communicate?• communication is at most 30% verbal!• remainder - 70% or more - is comprised of gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, odors, ...• telephone communication removes gestures, facial expressions, posture, odors, etc. only words and tone of voice remain• written communication - email, requirements, etc - removes all modes of communication save for words 48 48
  • 50. the fix how to communicatesimple keep it simple stupid (KISS principle)repeat say it twice in different wayslisten repeat what you hearrespect respect yourself and others 49 49
  • 51. conclusionfor future projects give especial attention to good, open communication clear requirements clear acceptance criteria 50 50
  • 52. ?We all admire the wisdom of people who come to us for advice. Jack Herbert Frederick Zarndt frederick@frederickzarndt.com Sponsored by 51 51