Project Rescue Process:
Do you know anyone with an overdue software project? Perhaps they have spent their entire budget and more. The deadline is right around the corner, but still no working software. Distressed or failed projects are all too common. ZDNet reports that 2 out of 3 of IT projects fail.
E7 Systems is frequently called upon for project rescue. One E7 client had spent over 2 million dollars and still did not have a reliable system, until they called us. About half the projects we take are project rescues. With the help of an amazing team, we have delivered on every one of these.
Our proven process for project rescue is based on this 5 step program to rescue a failing hardware or software project.
1. Review the Scope
The number one reason projects fail is that requirements were poorly understood by client and developer. We validate the functional requirements before we begin to ensure no work is wasted. We also review requirements driving the deadline. Frequently we can buy more time for the project by satisfying the needs behind the original deadline. Finally we always review the scope vs. budget. Since most of the original budget may already be spent, it is crucial to review what we are trying to accomplish and at what investment. Reaching shared understanding and consensus on the scope is essential to all the work that follows.
2. Address Risk with Spikes
Spikes are essential to project rescue. We don’t have a moment to lose. So it is essential to know that any roadblock are encountered and dealt with early. A spike delivers just enough code to prove that the unproven algorithm or hardware component or external system can be connected to and integrated. When roadblocks are encountered early we have maximum leeway to solve the issue. Spikes normally take about 3 man days per risk item, a sound investment on any serious project.
3. Build Roadmap Consensus
Concurrent with the spikes, we detail the deliverables for the project in terms of tasks which should take no more than 2 days. This roadmap should communicate to both the client and developers and is the basis for future project management and execution. All billing should refer to roadmap items. No item should be so large as to allow it to get bogged down without being noticed.
4. Develop with Agile
Project rescues absolutely require agile development. Recovering a project in trouble presents all the risks (schedule, requirements, communication) that agile was designed to solve. Working in 2 week sprints, we make frequent deliveries and demonstrations to elicit customer feedback. This ensures that we stay on track and reserve well informed customer expectations.
5. Release Frequently to Production
Frequent releases will accelerate your return on investment. More importantly, frequent production releases are the only way to get 100% validation on requirements. In many industries, like restaurants, the only way to determine the suitability of a system is in the heat of battle. Until a server has survived a busy happy hour with their new PoS, all requirements are just educated guesses.
Project rescues have massive challenges: super tight deadlines, suspect requirements. Perfect planning is impossible. We strive to communicate and create a shared understanding of goals and challenges. Our frequent demos and releases help restore our client’s faith in developers. Above all, we employ the above principals, to aggressively drive risk and waste out of the effort.
We have helped to create over one hundreds of million dollars in enterprise value through project rescue. Please don’t slide even one more day. To see how we can help your distressed project, please contact E7 Systems today.