Monday, February 06, 2006

Project Management & Mobile Solutions

Several years ago I took a week long course in software project management. I remember the instructor talking about the phases of a project.
  1. Everyone is excited about the project
  2. Hard work begins with a great deal of enthusiasm
  3. People begin to tire - the work is hard and tedious
  4. Frustration sets in - will we ever finish?
  5. There is light at the end of the tunnel, they see progress.
  6. A smile crosses everyone's face again - there are still some bugs and changes needed
  7. The project is cleaned up and polished off - everyone is celebrating

The instructor taught us that this is a natural software development project cycle. You know what, the instructor was right! Software projects are difficult, hard and tedious. Changing business processes and the way things have always been done is uncomfortable.

Sales people (myself included) often stress the ease and simplicity of a software project, but in truth our software consultants and engineers must put in long and hard hours developing a solution that meets the customer's expectations and needs. Technical issues without easy answers arise, people get sick or go on vacation, hardware does not get delivered on time or is dead on arrival, project timelines get missed, and unexpected issues emerge.

How do you avoid these issues? You don't completely. Experienced Project Managers simply anticipate them, build time into the project for them, prepare their clients for these issues, communicate them as they happen, and keep the client updated on project progress, and when it is all done. Everyone is celebrating!