Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Software Success Survival Guide

“If you are not careful, the dream of information integration can turn into a nightmare”
T.Davenport, HBR, 100998

As Prof Mufti displayed a slide with the above quotation to the class, I had a smile on my face. My professional work experience has involved working in IT implementation projects for clients and seldom was a case where I did not experience any confusion, chaos or uncertainty while implementing the project. Hence, I could appreciate the quote.

The session dealt with the IT implementation where we examined the implementation of enterprise systems and the need for a business case.I had some important take away from this class.

Here are some survival guide tips from Software Engineering Laboratory (SEL) at NASA. It is common sense but something that is found no so common ! :)

Don’ts for Software Success
1. Don't "gold plate" requirements
2. Don't implement changes without assesing impacts and obtaining approval from change board.
3. Don't overstaff,especially early in the project
4. Don't overstaff, especially late into the project
5. Don't assume detailed documentation ensures sucess.
6. Don't relax standards to cut costs or shorten results
7. Don't assume a schedule slippage in the middle of the project can be made up later.
8. Don’t assume that a large amount of documentation ensures success

Do's for Software Success
1. Create and follow a Software Development Plan
2. Empower project personnel
3. Minimize the bureaucracy
4. Define the requirements baseline, and manage changes to it
5. Take periodic snapshots of project health and progress, and replanwhen necessary
6. Reestimate system size, effort, and schedules periodically
7. Define and manage phase transitions
8. Foster a team spirit
9. Start the project with a small senior staff


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