Let’s face it: Statistics don’t lie (unless you forged them yourself 🙂 The #1 reason why software projects fail is UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS!

What typically causes this?
This is the normal scenario on how new software projects are being lined up:

  1. Management has a vision and wants to have a product built that serves this vision best
  2. Management approaches the business analysts/accountants and wants to know the budget
  3. The business guys (so not the software experts!) think money and money only: the figure specified of course is way too low
  4. Management approaches the software experts and DICTATES the product deadline (budget converts into man days and voila, the deadline is set)

Everybody knows that the deadline is totally unrealistic. Why? Because the money guys and not the software experts made the deadline. There is no way for the software engineers to commit to a foreign set deadline.

What happens next?

  • The developers have to work from day 1 under pressure and need to put in lots of overtime
  • Test Driven-Development (TDD) simply finds no time and hence quality assurance is already thrown overboard
  • Iterative development (which is a natural flow in software development) becomes an unreal challenge
  • Since the deadline was unrealistic to begin with, bugs have creeped in and become a nightmare
  • The deadline is missed, bugs piled up and thus the budget goes through the roof

Result: Everybody is mad & frustrated!


How about fixing this and do it the RIGHT WAY:

  1. Management has a vision and wants to have a product built that serves this vision best
  2. Management approaches the software experts and gets a rough estimate of time needed to deliver product
  3. Software experts spend time to break down vision into modules and estimate a deadline they can commit to
  4. Software experts reflect their estimates back to management
  5. Management calculates budget needed and sends numbers to business guys
  6. Business guys let management know if budget is feasible
  7. Management either approves or disapproves project

This way unrealistic expectations get mostly wiped out, the budget typically doesn’t overboard and the project deploys smoother into production because of built in quality.

Result: Most people are happy (except business guys since they have less bonus to divide by end of year)

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