Anatomy of a successful project

Starting a new project is always an exciting time. People are discussing the “NEW BIG THING”, putting together their two cents to fully utilize the budget, dreaming…
Stakeholder says: “It has to rock! It must create us a competitive advantage!”
Project sponsor: “Sure, but it has to be cheap.”
Analyst shouts: “We should not underestimate the requirements!”
Architect whispers to developer: “Architecture is important!”
Developer whispers back: “There is a great new framework there. It does not suffer of… you know, the thing that almost killed us last time.”
All of these are valid inputs, but to start a successful project, it is important to know its phases. So, let’s describe it on a simple project that should solve business trips to Paris.

  • Customer describes the most important use cases: “I travel to Paris a lot. It would be great to fly there.”
  • Analyst remarks requirement: “Customer wants an airplane.”
  • Analyst creates a vision and presents it to the stakeholder. User gets Powerpoint presentation. Both are excited!
  • Company puts together a tender committee to select the airplane.
  • Tender committee describes the airplane… It requires at least 50 seats… to be sure, it covers future requirements.
  • Vendors create proposals to deliver the airplane.
  • Tender committee selects two of them for price negotiations.
  • Vendors are pushed to cut down price. Tender committee sacrifices the 50 seats and few other non-important features.
  • Vendors describe a bicycle for price of a car, calling it “Low elevation flyer (TM)”.
  • Tender committee and architects accept it as a temporary solution.
  • Negotiations were too long, so there is no time to implement. Vendor buys a bicycle, colors it red, stick a pair of bird wings on it and delivers.
  • Rollout and success! Celebration needed.
  • End users start to whisper, that it does not fly and it is extremely slow.
  • Vendor provides a bunch of performance tuning and usability experts and forms a task force.
  • The task force adds a textile wings, propeller, powerful 2000 RP1 engine and a name “TURBO low elevation flyer (TM)”
  • Even greater success! Celebration needed, press release absolutely necessary.
  • End users start to use train.

Now it is obvious: “It is not important what you do, but how you present it”

Happy All Fools’ Day!

1. 2000 RP – 2000 ratpowers. It is like horsepower, but it looks better to see 2000 RP than 2 HP.