Monday, April 13, 2009

On Small, Low Margin Projects

Part 2: Short Interactions and Feedback

In a previous post, I wrote about some of the issues I have experienced with small projects and suggested that Waterfall, Cave of Solitude solutions tend to blow up in your face.

If we come back to the customer every 2 to 4 weeks, we can both learn about the other side of the transaction:

  • I can teach the customer how the process works, what is possible, what is easy and isn’t going to happen. If you are going to buy custom software you need to learn the process. It is like buying a new building; you aren’t going to use the gold plated faucets in the penthouse when we are still pouring concrete (I will restrain myself from going on for hundreds of words of half baked analogies).

  • The customer can teach me more about his business, what he expected the software to do and I missed on the first time around. What is important? What is a nice to have? I may have the opportunity to see the processes that are too complex to explain.

  • Customers like to feel that they are part of the process. If you are going to spend a few grand on something, you want a sense of what is going on. Buying custom software is a big part of the company’s activities and the owner may want to boast about it on his blog on in the local watering hole.

If we started at ground zero and only used Scrum like sprints but no initial framework, the first couple of sprints would give the customer little sense of satisfaction.

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