In 1986, Alfred Spector compared bridge construction with software development. He stated that bridges are built on-time, on-budget, and do not collapse. On the other hand, the complete opposite applies to software development. Years later, his conclusions led the Standish Group to release the famous CHAOS Report, which concluded that most IT projects failed.
However, that does not need to be the case. As technology partners, we offer the guidelines, methodology, best practices, and expertise for successful projects. These are the five must-know tips:
- Avoid new technologies hype. Unexpected fads, like IA, the metaverse, or blockchain, may dazzle leaders who will tend to invest vast sums of money and resources on initiatives that will contribute little value to the business. Reality shows that in the short term, all technologies end up being a commodity and that the added value lies in building a product aligned to the business purpose.
- Communicate the impact on the organization. The C-level title holders involved in the project can be the main allies for the project to move in due time and shape. But they can as well become their most fierce opponents. The CEO or CTO may feel that they are betting all their stakes on the project. If the return on the investment is not enough, their future may be in danger. It is essential to communicate well what the project is about, how the technology works, and the business benefits it will accrue. Agile methodologies mean that these projects could be easily put into practice and that C-Level leaders could see positive results as drivers to move on to the next project. Therefore, clear, transparent, and consistent communication is critical to avoid delays in decision-making.
- Never underestimate change management. In agreement with number 2 above, communication noise can make people feel unsettled. A good change management process should be implemented to avoid friction, encourage more stakeholder engagement, and turn resistance and reluctance into support.
- Avoid budget “savings.” It is usually the case that some key steps in the product quality assurance process are skipped to streamline development. A good example is testing. Another example would be to reduce the number of team members putting more pressure on the remaining members. If you want to save, it is necessary to analyze and include the hidden costs of making hasty decisions. A mistake in the final product resulting from an inefficient quality assurance process is more expensive. And an overburdened and exhausted developer will produce under-products.
- Consider security early on. People focus on security after incidents happen. A more widespread digital adoption leads to more risks of cyberattacks, including ransomware, where attackers hack the systems, encrypt data, and ask for a ransom to give them back. How can we fight this trend? Prioritizing security from scratch and considering it an integral part of the long-term solution throughout the development process. Another excellent point to avoid “savings.”
These five critical pieces of advice involve technology projects, avoiding chaos, and encouraging entropy.