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Elephants In The Meeting Room

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Slides from the presentation given at GeekUp Sheffield 20

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Elephants In The Meeting Room

  1. 1. Sheffield - Nov 2009 Elephants in the Meeting Room Dealing with risk, blame and failure in software development Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Ashley Moran UK: England & Wales License PatchSpace Ltd
  2. 2. This is an elephant (There will be a test at the end to see if you remembered)
  3. 3. This is a meeting room
  4. 4. This is a client meeting
  5. 5. Quote from GeekUp Sheffield Nov 2009 “Who here has had a client deliberately omit requirements with the intention of sneaking them in later as bug reports?” - anonymous (but feel free to claim it)
  6. 6. Observation This is behaviour you would expect from a client involved in a fixed-cost, fixed scope project.
  7. 7. Client Motivations
  8. 8. Client Motivations • Ifa client wants to approach new software development on a fixed cost basis, are they trying to:
  9. 9. Client Motivations • Ifa client wants to approach new software development on a fixed cost basis, are they trying to: • move risk, or
  10. 10. Client Motivations • Ifa client wants to approach new software development on a fixed cost basis, are they trying to: • move risk, or • move blame?
  11. 11. Developer motivations
  12. 12. Developer motivations • When a developer enters a fixed scope project and accepts a fixed fee and deadline, are they:
  13. 13. Developer motivations • When a developer enters a fixed scope project and accepts a fixed fee and deadline, are they: • entering a contract biased to their financial gain?
  14. 14. Developer motivations • When a developer enters a fixed scope project and accepts a fixed fee and deadline, are they: • entering a contract biased to their financial gain? • entering a contract in the best interest of their client?
  15. 15. What is Software Development?
  16. 16. What is Software Development? • Software development is not manufacturing
  17. 17. What is Software Development? • Software development is not manufacturing • Software development is new product development
  18. 18. What is Software Development? • Software development is not manufacturing • Software development is new product development • New product development carries inherent risk • If there was no risk, there would be no point in doing it
  19. 19. The Two Risks of Product Development
  20. 20. The Two Risks of Product Development • Identify the right problem, design the wrong solution • Traditionally, a failure of the development team
  21. 21. The Two Risks of Product Development • Identify the right problem, design the wrong solution • Traditionally, a failure of the development team • Design the right solution, but to the wrong problem • Traditionally a failure of the client (but blamed on the BAs)
  22. 22. The Third Risk of Product Development
  23. 23. The Third Risk of Product Development • You design the wrong solution, to solve the wrong problem
  24. 24. The Third Risk of Product Development • You design the wrong solution, to solve the wrong problem • Who gets blamed?
  25. 25. Think Lean
  26. 26. Think Lean • The seven forms of software waste (and corresponding forms of industrial waste), from Mary & Tom Poppendieck 2003: • Partially Done Work (Inventory) • Extra Processes (Extra Processing) • Extra Features (Overproduction) • Task Switching (Transportation) • Waiting (Waiting) • Motion (Motion) • Defects (Defects) • The underlined forms of waste are most relevant here
  27. 27. Lean Product Development: Failure
  28. 28. Lean Product Development: Failure • New product development has inherent risk (of failure)
  29. 29. Lean Product Development: Failure • New product development has inherent risk (of failure) • If a new idea fails, this generates valuable knowledge
  30. 30. Lean Product Development: Failure • New product development has inherent risk (of failure) • If a new idea fails, this generates valuable knowledge • The faster you can fail, the less waste you incur
  31. 31. Lean Product Development: Failure • New product development has inherent risk (of failure) • If a new idea fails, this generates valuable knowledge • The faster you can fail, the less waste you incur • It’s not really failure - it’s identifying incorrect solutions
  32. 32. Let’s Start a Fight
  33. 33. Let’s Start a Fight • From the incentives of typical software contracts, you can derive a bold conjecture:
  34. 34. Let’s Start a Fight • From the incentives of typical software contracts, you can derive a bold conjecture: • Clients do not understand or accept risk; change and failure is blamed on developers
  35. 35. Let’s Start a Fight • From the incentives of typical software contracts, you can derive a bold conjecture: • Clients do not understand or accept risk; change and failure is blamed on developers • Developers do not highlight risk; change and failure is blamed on clients
  36. 36. Let’s Start a Fight • From the incentives of typical software contracts, you can derive a bold conjecture: • Clients do not understand or accept risk; change and failure is blamed on developers • Developers do not highlight risk; change and failure is blamed on clients • Risk, blame and failure belong to the family Elephantidae
  37. 37. Let’s Start a Fight • From the incentives of typical software contracts, you can derive a bold conjecture: • Clients do not understand or accept risk; change and failure is blamed on developers • Developers do not highlight risk; change and failure is blamed on clients • Risk, blame and failure belong to the family Elephantidae • Before we start the discussion, there’s one thing to check...
  38. 38. What is this?
  39. 39. What do we do?
  40. 40. Credits
  41. 41. Credits • Thanks to @marcjohnson for co-presenting • Photographs from www.sxc.hu: • Thanks to Thad Zajdowicz (thadz) for the meeting room • Thanks to Elvis Santana (tome123) for the elephant • Thanks to @jagusti and @yorkhannah for organising GeekUp Sheffield 20

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