Wednesday, February 02, 2005

There's a corpse under the floor and it is starting to stink

Mary & Tom Poppendick visited our project today. I left with a sense that they thought our project was reasonably well run by lean standards, that we had everything in place for the technical team to succeed. They felt that the fixed price contract might spell doom on our project - that it is driving a bunch of undesirable behaviour in our customers that is mostly irreversable.

I would agree, if we keep interacting the way we're interacting.

Why do I have hope though? The SPOCS have change A LOT. They arrived expecting to have high level requirements meetings once a week. Instead they have learned to write smallish, mostly incremental stories. They figure out detailed requirements. They painstakingly test the product month after month, with the stone age tools of a development environment.

Our developers have changed A LOT. They have adopted test first development. They have adopted simple design (that was hard!). They code for today and let tommorrow worry about tommorrow. etc. etc. All the practices of XP.

Each group *is* concerned about getting it done.
Each group *can* smell the corpse.

How we get it done is in dispute.

If we let the contract guide us we're screwed.
If we let the corpse lie between the floor boards we're screwed.

We need to deal with the corpse, acknowledge its existance and figure out what to do with it. Then, maybe, we can get on with being successful as a team.

Stay tuned for more exciting episodes of "As the corpse rots". I'm sure it'll be on my mind.


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