Project Management

There Is No Big Fix

Rich is the CEO of Mironov Consulting. He coaches product executives, product management teams and revenue-focused agile development organizations.

In the face of unmet requirements and slipped deadlines, how do you begin to catch up? Can a better process erase previous shortfalls? Not overnight. Here are suggestions for making realistic progress through ruthless prioritization, transparency and positivity (which is not the same as magical thinking).

It’s easy to confuse actual progress with intentions to make progress.

Why point out the obvious? I’ve just come out of another agile conversation where prospective clients confused “we want to build better software faster” with “we hope that some new processes will instantly catch us up on years of slipped deadlines and missing features.”

So paraphrasing Confucius, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but is still a thousand miles long. Even at twice your normal walking speed, be prepared for a very long slog.”

For context, nearly every software development team would like to be more productive, ship better product, and be innovative. Almost by definition, though, those with the biggest productivity issues are the furthest behind — with months (years?) of unmet customer requirements and technical debt. Shovels-full of postponed promises piled in a heap.

Which means that calls for better development processes are usually in the context of big, ugly backlogs and long-suffering customers…

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