Project Management

Go Fast, But Don’t Hurry

Raj Kaushik

“Let me get this straight,” Mike said. “It sounds like you’re saying that the committee added a big communications requirement and chopped the schedule from 12 months to 6?”

Bill shrugged. “I know it will be a challenge, but you’re creative, and I think you can pull it off. They approved the budget you wanted, and adding the communications link can’t be that hard. You asked for 36 staff-months, and you got it. “

Post mortem: The final product was delivered in 13 months rather than in 6, a schedule overrun of more than 100 percent. The developer effort including overtime consisted of 98 staff-months, which was a 170 percent overrun of the planned 36 staff-months. Adapted from McConnell (1996)

A successful software development project is a rare occurrence. According to a 1995 report, the Standish Group estimated that only 9 percent of large companies’ software projects completed on time and on budget (The Standish Group, 1995, p. 2). Even so-designated successful projects had only approximately 42 percent of the originally proposed features and functions.

The situation has not improved greatly since that time. A survey published in 2004 of software projects in Norway found a frequency of 76 percent effort overruns, with an average magnitude of 41 percent. Kjetil Molokken-Ostvold and colleagues (2004) …

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"Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God's gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences."

- Freeman Dyson