Objective and Milestones

Without Vision, The People Parish.


The Big Idea

Software development project will tend toward chaos, like most other human sport involving more than two people. Unless of course those team is bound by a clear and common vision.

Software development projects that are too focused on long term deliveries that are, NOT within immediate reach risk diverging from the end users need that it never gets used. Or almost as bad hated, by customers.

Every project should be working toward a spefic

unless together by a common vision, clearified by a clear,

  1. Goals much be short term, realistic and measurable.

> No long term out of sight goals

  1. Only the Customer establishes the goal. A later during testing approves the work during acceptance test.

Are you (or have you) run a software project and are familiar with any of these:

  • Software project schedule and/or budget are out of control.

  • No idea how far along the software is progressing, or not.

  • Software teams seems to be out of sync.

  • The team morale decline and people leave, especially the good ones.

This is age old wisdom dates back before Sun Tzu. Great leaders of all ages have been knowing how to set an army (or team in our case) of diverse peoples huddled around a common vision, a vision that they believe, they can obtain.

A great software leader is much like (I imagine) the cocksman of a rowboat needs to be. That is to make sure the boat is going in right direction, ensuring all the energy of the individual rowers work in unison, getting them closer to the goal, rather than a set of oars all arbitrarily fighting against each other.

Are any of these problems familiar?

Team is in chaos and morale in decline

When the objectives are vague or frequently changing, it allows shenanigans and waste[1] creep in, rapidly. Nothing will suck the spirit out the a good team like waste!

> Which is just one reason to build a great team! Which is outside the scope of this here paar.tic.u.lar docuement. [Todo: find some good references on team building..].

[1] Waste is anything that does not benefit the customer (TODO get a reference, I believe from the Toyota manual).

  • Measuring Progress, Quality and realistic cost to complete is impossible.

  • Team members are not working on the most important tasks

  • Direction keeps shifting according to unpredictable forces

  • Nobody is clear on Who we are building

Team leader is making all the design decisions

Customer / User has not been spoken with in weeks

Project Objectives constantly change

Time and Budget Estimates are NEVER right

Problems Problems

Not knowing who the customer is or what THEY want

Inaccurate Requirements

Lack of Clear Objective

  • Management by Crises

  • No Clear, Reachable Objective Goals

  • No Milestones or Milestones are not measurable (can be completed)

  • Nobody really understands the customers needs and wants

  • The goals keep changing increasing confusion and waste

  • Team leadership is not engaged with user before and during R&D

Management By Crisis

The Solution

Life Becomes Stress free when you are not overwhelmed with the things you

Likewise, my life as a Developer and Project Manager has become infinitely easier because I now focus my time, budget and resources on fewer tasks.

Which means that It is also MUCH EASIER to ensure a HIGH LEVEL of Quality when the feature scope has been minimized.

As a preface, before getting into the particulars of solving this type of problem I would like to make it clear that this framework is a direct [perhaps imperfect] reflection of the seminal works of Steve Blank Four Steps to Epiphany and Eric Ries and the Lean Startup, as well as the principals of Agile development.

In a nutshell, both of these movements, as well as the myriad of other similar movements in nearly every industry is all about maintaining close and constant communication with your user iterating toward a predicable and success conclusion to software projects.

Reference Material

  • The Lean Startup

  • The Agile Methodology

  • The Startup Owners Manual

Next: Software Development Life Cycle