7 ways ColdFusion projects fail


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In this presentation we look at seven different ways ColdFusion projects fail - from outright disasters, through project deadmarches to more subtle forms of failure that you might not notice until it is too late. By learning how projects fail and what to do about these issues you stand a better chance of having your projects succeed!

We will look at the following issues (and ways to solve them!)

Scope creep and requirements
Buggy peopleware
Lack of user and executive management support
Poor planning and milestones
No vision and objectives
Incompetent Staff
Poor testing and deployment practices

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  • Michael will explain what FLiP (Fusebox Lifecycle Process) is and why you want to use it. We will cover common client communication problems and project snafus and how FLiP addresses them. We will explain what wireframing is and how it helps, what an HTML prototype is (and what it isn't), how DevNotes can document changes in scope during prototyping, and how to use them to freeze scope during sign off. We end by explaining some of the subtle reasons why FLiP works and what steps you can take to implement it at your organization.
  • We prevent and fix Cold Fusion disasters on budget and on time every time We ask the right questions of all of the organization stakeholders and make sure that both TeraTech and our customer understand the vision of success. When we do this, it brings all of the potential issues to light. We help our clients break projects down into manageable pieces to that can then be delivered on budget and on time.
  • Wireframe the app, able to be done by a sales person. No thought given to fuses, solely on user flow through a site True 48 hour coding HTML prototype – no code, or code only to enable correct view of site DEVNOTES v2 devnotes.stoneground.com BETA in progress – threaded discussion with client.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peopleware Peopleware is a popular book about project management. The first chapter of the book claims, “The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature”. The book approaches sociological or ‘political’ problems such as group chemistry and team jelling, " flow time" and quiet in the work environment, and the high cost of turnover. Other topics include the conflicts between individual work perspective and corporate ideology, corporate entropy, “teamicide” and workspace theory. Summed up in one sentence, Peopleware says this: give smart people physical space, intellectual responsibility and strategic direction. DeMarco and Lister advocate private offices and windows. They advocate creating teams with aligned goals and limited non-team work. They advocate managers finding good staff and putting their fate in the hands of those staff. The manager's function, they write, is not to make people work but to make it possible for people to work. Why is Peopleware so important to Microsoft and a handful of other successful companies? Why does it inspire such intense devotion amongst the elite group of people who think about software project management for a living? Its direct writing and its amusing anecdotes win it friends. So does its fundamental belief that people will behave decently given the right conditions. Then again, lots of books read easily, contain funny stories and exude goodwill. Peopleware's persuasiveness comes from its numbers - from its simple, cold, numerical demonstration that improving programmers' environments will make them more productive. Around their Coding Wars data, DeMarco and Lister assembled a theory: that managers should help programmers, designers, writers and other brainworkers to reach a state that psychologists call "flow" - an almost meditative condition where people can achieve important leaps towards solving complex problems. It's the state where you start work, look up, and notice that three hours have passed. But it takes time - perhaps fifteen minutes on average - to get into this state. And DeMarco and Lister that today's typical noisy, cubicled, Dilbertesque office rarely allows people 15 minutes of uninterrupted work. In other words, the world is full of places where a highly-paid and dedicated programmer or creative artist can spend a full day without ever getting any hard-core work. Put another way, the world is full of cheap opportunities for people to make their co-workers more productive, just by building their offices a bit smarter. an Anti-Dilbert Manifesto. Ever wonder why everybody at Microsoft gets their own office, with walls and a door that shuts? It's in there. Why do managers give so much leeway to their teams to get things done? That's in there too. Why are there so many jelled SWAT teams at Microsoft that are remarkably productive? Mainly because Bill Gates has built a company full of managers who read Peopleware. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is the one thing every software manager needs to read... not just once, but once a year. With reckless abandon, they attack cubicles, dress codes, telephones, hiring policies, and company core hours and demonstrate how managers who are not insecure about their positions, who shelter their employees from corporate politics, who, in short, make it possible for people to work are the ones who complete projects and whose employees have fun doing so
  • SMART = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-dimensioned
  • 7 ways ColdFusion projects fail

    1. 1. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 1 www.teratech.com 1/36 7 ways CF projects fail (and how to solve issues for success) Michael Smith, TeraTech, Inc. michael@teratech.com http://www.teratech.com 301-424-3903 x110 Copyright TeraTech 2013
    2. 2. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 2 www.teratech.com 2/36 Overview • What is a project? • 7 ways ColdFusion projects fail Scope creep and requirements Buggy peopleware Lack of user/executive support Poor planning and milestones No vision and objectives Incompetent Staff Poor testing and deployment • Q&A
    3. 3. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 3 www.teratech.com 3/36 Speaker Information • Michael Smith • 37 years programming,16 CF • CEO of TeraTech The ColdFusion paramedics and specialists
    4. 4. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 4 www.teratech.com 4/36 What is a project? • has beginning • has an end • takes resources people/time money equipment location/desk resource use is temporary
    5. 5. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 5 www.teratech.com 5/36 What is same for all Projects? • Each project is different in details but all share common elements. Visualize • Project expectations Plan • Tasks and dependencies Implement • Develop, test, deploy Close • Lessons learned
    6. 6. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 6 www.teratech.com 6/36 Definition of Project Success “success equals met expectations”
    7. 7. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 7 www.teratech.com 7/36 7 ways ColdFusion projects fail • Scope creep and requirements • Buggy peopleware • Lack of user/executive support • Poor planning and milestones • No vision and objectives • Incompetent Staff • Poor testing and deployment
    8. 8. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 8 www.teratech.com 8/36 1a. Scope creep and requirements • Issues Scope changes during project Users can’t express their needs Late delivery and budget overruns Endless changes reduces code quality
    9. 9. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 9 www.teratech.com 9/36 1b. Scope creep and requirements • Solutions Clear written requirements, including mock ups of screens and reports Formal Sign off Formal change request system
    10. 10. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 10 www.teratech.com 10/36 2a. Buggy peopleware • Peopleware = Political and social issues in software development • Issues Low developer productivity Poor teamwork Bad group dynamics
    11. 11. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 11 www.teratech.com 11/36 2b. Buggy peopleware • Solutions Hire smart people and trust them Private offices and windows. team aligned goals and limit non-team work. Manager: protect from execs and corp politics help developers "flow“ – remove interruptions attack cubicles, dress codes, telephones, bad hiring policies, and company core hours
    12. 12. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 12 www.teratech.com 12/36 3a. Lack of user/executive support • Issues Can’t get decisions made (or made early!) Turf wars unresolved shelfware
    13. 13. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 13 www.teratech.com 13/36 3b. Lack of user/executive support • Solutions Get buy in of senior exec project champion Involve users in prototyping and UI reviews Org. change psychology /motivation
    14. 14. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 14 www.teratech.com 14/36 4a. Poor planning and milestones • Issues Resource contention We are “90% done” all the time Lack of milestones and versioning
    15. 15. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 15 www.teratech.com 15/36 4b. Poor planning and milestones • Solutions Task list (no big tasks) Make estimates Key Resource allocation PM software
    16. 16. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 16 www.teratech.com 16/36 5a. No vision and objectives • Issues Don’t know where we are going Don’t know if we have arrived Team members going in different directions
    17. 17. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 17 www.teratech.com 17/36 5b. No vision and objectives • Solutions Clear written vision up front • a few sentences describing the project • Business reasons and value List goals to measure success • Expected results, prioritized • S.M.A.R.T. goals Assumptions listed
    18. 18. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 18 www.teratech.com 18/36 Benefits of Project Vision • common understanding of project between client and you helps explain what project is about • know when you are done • defines general scope of project avoid doing things that are not in the project • get people enthusiastic about project help get project started help see past obstacles
    19. 19. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 19 www.teratech.com 19/36 6a. Incompetent Staff • Issues Great variance in developer productivity Create more problems than they solve Demoralize other team members Turnover costs
    20. 20. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 20 www.teratech.com 20/36 6b. Incompetent Staff • Solutions Better hiring practices Keep poor performance off your team • Or assign to “safe” tasks Keep good teams together for future projects
    21. 21. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 21 www.teratech.com 21/36 7a. Poor testing and deployment • Issues Bugs show up in production Slow performance with real data volumes Server crashes under load
    22. 22. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 22 www.teratech.com 22/36 7b. Poor testing and deployment • Solutions Acceptance testing period, Test plan Code review Staging server Automated deployment scripts Load testing, Server tuning
    23. 23. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 23 www.teratech.com 23/36 Risk reduction • Issues Surprise issues delay project DBA not available at key time Dependencies • Solutions Risk analysis and mitigations Regular risks review Dependencies chart
    24. 24. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 24 www.teratech.com 24/36 Project Success Factors The CHAOS Report , Standish Group Project Success Factors 1. User Involvement 2. Executive Management Support 3. Clear Statement of Requirements 4. Proper Planning 5. Realistic Expectations 6. Smaller Project Milestones 7. Competent Staff 8. Ow nership 9. Clear Vision & Objectives 10. Hard-Working, Focused Staff
    25. 25. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 25 www.teratech.com 25/36 What Good PM achieves • Reduce risks • Fulfill client expectations • Complete in budget and on time
    26. 26. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 26 www.teratech.com 26/36 Books • “The Mythical Man-Month” by Frederick Brooks • “Rapid Development” by Steve McConnell • “Software Project Survival Guide” by Steve McConnell • “Peopleware” by Tom Demarco, et al • “Controlling Software Projects: Management, Measurement, and Estimates” by Tom Demarco and Barry Boehm
    27. 27. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 27 www.teratech.com 27/36 The choice is yours Go from project failure To project success
    28. 28. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 28 www.teratech.com 28/36 Project Check up • Are you are interested in a TeraTech project check up? Project failure risk analysis Security and hacker proofing Server optimization and tuning Code review Email michael@teratech.com for details
    29. 29. TeraTech - The ColdFusion paramedics and 29 www.teratech.com 29/36 Q&A Thanks for attending! Enter Questions in the question window (not the chat)