COMPGZ07 Project Management Why Projects FailGraham CollinsUniversity College London (UCL)
The ‘Tar Pit’ Illustration from Chapter 1 The Tar Pit. Brooks, F.P., The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering Anniversary Edition 1995 Addison-Wesley
Definition of Success • On time - the product is delivered according to schedule • On budget - the project meets forecasted cost estimates • High quality, i.e. conformance to requirements which includes the components functionality and performance.
Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) Illustration from, Florence:The Biography of a City, Christopher Hibbert, 1993 Penguin
Cost-Schedule-Quality Equilibrium • Delivering these criteria doesn’t mean you are successful • Each stakeholder has a different view, manage expectations • The ultimate challenge: no damage.
Ignoring Stakeholders Ignoring Stakeholders
Requirements not met • Failure to meet requirements in software engineering projects is the most common cause for dissatisfaction • Involve users from the beginning and involve them in requirements elicitation • Workshops that allow everyone to be involved help develop ownership of the project and agreement on requirements • Rapid Application Development (RAD) to prevent requirements creep. Requirements Engineering and Rapid Development, Ian Graham, 1998 Addison-Wesley.
Ascertain the most valuable benefits first • Maximum benefit is derived if the project is cancelled early • Project can be delivered on time and budget if the scope includes only the essential elements, that derive business benefit • Concept of agile project management is that requirements are continually reviewed and prioritized in order that the most important requirements (goals) are delivered first. Craig Larman, Agile & Iterative Development: A Manager’s guide, 2004 Addison-Wesley (Agile Software Development Series).
Need to be clear on the Goals • Need to ask, what is the purpose, what are we trying to achieve • Need to agree this as a team • Need to meet the mission of the project and be inline with the organisations aims. One never goes as far when one doesn’t know where one is going. Goethe
The Death March Project Style Quadrant The Death March Project Style Quadrant high Mission Impossible Kamikaze Happiness Suicide Ugly low low high Chance of success Edward Yourdon, Death March:The complete Software Developer’s guide to surviving ‘Mission Impossible’ projects, 1997 Prentice Hall
To survive we need to • Triage (Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill, First Things First, 1994, New York: Simon & Schuster) • Ensure there is a ‘Champion’ • Early wins (John Kotter, Leading Change, 1996, Harvard Business School Press) idea of small successful projects being widened in scope and spreading across the organisation.
Realistic Scheduling • Accurate estimation, involve all stakeholders • Need good negotiation skills from an experienced project manager. How does a project get to be a year late? …One day at a time BROOKS
The right balance of people Small, dedicated teams are required The team needs to have the right mix, commitment and support from a sponsor. Who selects the team?
Adding more staff • Often projects have new staff added when its falling behind schedule • Apart from the learning curve required this lowers morale • More staff increase the communication burden and can decrease productivity, Brookes Law.
People do not always get on • Ideally the team has worked together before and has reached a co-operative and fully productive phase • The use of a facilitator • Have the team formed themselves? Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley, Why teams don’t work: What went wrong and how to make it right 1996 Peterson’s (UK 1998 Orion).
Project teams need to adopt some attributes What is the purpose? What holds it together? To develop members’ capabilities; to build and exchange knowledge Passion, commitment, and identification with the group’s expertise Community of practice To accomplish a specified task The project’s milestones and goals Project team Adapted from: Communities of Practice: The organizational Frontier, Etienne C. Wenger and William M. Snyder, Harvard Business Review p139-145 Jan-Feb 2000
We are what we repeatedly do.Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ARISTOTLE
To be successful projects must have • Agreement among the project team, customer, and management on the goals of the project • A plan that shows an overall path and clear responsibilities and will be used to measure progress during the project • Constant,effective communication among everyone involved in the project • A controlled scope • Management support.
Pinto and Slevin’s Success Factors Success Factor Description 1. Project mission Clearly defined goals and direction 2. Top management support Resources, authority and power for implementation 3. Schedule and plans Detailed specification of implementation process 4. Client consultation Communication with and consultation of all stakeholders 5. Personnel Recruitment, selection and training of competent personnel Cited by Turner, R., Section 20, Project Management Pathways, edited by Stevens, M., APM, 2002