Monday, January 24, 2005

Stay on target...stay on target

Had an interesting conversation with Joseph this evening and we arrived at an interesting conclusion about scope creep. How do you stay on target?

Developers stay on target by confining themselves to making the tests pass. Often we fail (we are all human) and stories get bigger, but it does keep us within reach of "reasonable".

How do customers keep on target? By concentrationg on the wrong things a user can accidentally focus on the most difficult 5,10 or 20% of a system, that takes 80% of the time to build.

A product backlog, maintained by a project manager, can help keep things on target. I have used a spreadsheet and an orange bar that indicates when funding runs out, to minimize business scope creep. Business users must make hard decisions about when stuff goes above (in scope) or below (out of scope) the orange bar. However, customers often don't feel the urgency untilo the money runs out.

Alternatively, users can use actual examples to drive their progress. By choosing examples in order of frequency/difficulty/(insert appropriate criteria here) users can ensure the system is evolving along lines that will be useful to them, and avoid spending 80% of the time solving 5% of the problems.


Post a Comment

<< Home