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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Getting Over the Project Bifurcation Point

So we are already there. We reached the bifurcation point on the project I am currently managing. It is a $3.5 million software development project to automate and speed up the ordering and provisioning of several telecom services at a major operator. The project is due to deploy in June 2010 but is behind schedule by more than six months. So how do we get out of this dilemma? (see post on 2/19/10 for symptoms of project bifurcation).

Along with two of my colleagues we have come up with a simple straight forward process to stop the bleeding and deliver something over the next three months. The process is summarized as follows:

1. Enforce an immediate stop on all activities.
2. Rescope the project to deliver the core capabilities in the time available.
3. Ensure all project documents are baselined and a strict change control process is enforced to avoid creep
4. Introduce an agile approach to realize some leaps in project delivery
5. Evaluate open issues on the project and close any ones that are no longer applicable to the rescoped project.
6. Prioritize the issues that remain open and ensure all architectural and user requirement related issues are resolved first.
7. Ensure end to end traceability starting from business objectives to test results including all the various requirement level, design artifacts and test cases.
8. Ensure all interfaces are well understood and interface requirements are documented.
9. Hold at least one technical review at some reasonable point to assess the integrity and soundness of the work developed and processes followed.

These simple steps if done, at the bare minimum will guarantee that you will deliver something, that will most probably work. When projects reach bifurcation salvage is the top priority and salvaging means focusing on the key capabilities and ensuring that they will operate as expected. Do not try to get too fancy and deliver everything, it will not work and the project will fail.

1 comment:

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