A Lead Role in Software Success

Don Beckett

When organizations base their decisions on desires instead of data, it usually backfires. Here are four important actions that executives, PMO directors and program leaders can take to improve the predictability and success rate of their software development and enhancement projects.

The modern enterprise is software dependent. Whether you develop software in house, commission custom software, or purchase and install commercial software products, software projects are an important cost component and must be well planned and executed. But top-tier business leaders are rarely involved in the day-to-day management of software projects. Their job is to make decisions that affect a firm’s strategic direction, policies and profitability. Business leaders can, however, establish procedures and practices that help projects succeed. This is Part 2 of a three-part series. Part 1 is here.

Successful software projects have four characteristics in common: they deliver on time; they meet budget constraints; they fulfill their business objectives; and they achieve the desired quality. Schedule and budget constraints are usually known in advance. These two goals are straightforward — it’s easy to determine whether they’ve been met. Business and quality objectives, on the other hand, are rarely well defined. Without clear, measureable standards and benchmarks, it can…

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"Nearly every great advance in science arises from a crisis in the old theory, through an endeavor to find a way out of the difficulties created. We must examine old ideas, old theories, although they belong to the past, for this is the only way to understand the importance of the new ones and the extent of their validity."

- Albert Einstein

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