Here’s how projects shake out around here, or I guess I should say it’s the standard practice across most corporations over a certain size or age.
1- Ambitious project is proposed. Budgeting and timeline is decided on before discussing it with anyone that has knowledge of the concepts involved.
2- Project is scoped, products and consulting vendors are chosen to assist. Budget is cut to meet the needs of someone else’s more visible project.
3- Kickoff meeting is held, technical resources learn of the project for the first time. Kickoff is inevitably derailed as technical team points out the many, many incorrect assumptions made up to this point. This is ignored.
4- Consultants get to grip with the issue, interview project team. Consultants reveal same concerns as technical team pointed out previously, and is listened to.
5- Project, by now 2 months underway, is scoped back slightly. Half of the efforts to date are wasted.
6- Business Analyst completes requirements document (as he/she was not involved until the kickoff either). Nobody cares. This document will be changed at least a dozen times to meet the failures of the team.
7- 4 months in, technical issues with the product that was chosen before the technical team was involved become more prominent. Consultants are likely no longer on the project. Team members with past familiarity with <system> are dragged in against their will.
8- 6 months in, the project is now overdue on several major milestones. The schedule is pushed back. Numerous project resources are now seeing strong conflicts with other projects.
9- In a panic, project manager convinces stakeholders to drop a significant portion of their request. Steering committee agrees with the caveat that the scoped-out piece will be added in a nonexistant “phase 2”. More effort has been wasted, and the remaining components make little sense to the technical team.
10- Around 8 months in (depending on project size), project is now overbudget and overdue. First efforts to move project to QA begins here.
11- QA is a dismal failure, almost certainly as relates to environmental differences. At least three major internal platforms (Active Directory always being one) are identified very late in the game as having a hiterto-unknown impact. The list of defects is massive and the workarounds for each are increasingly tenuous.
12- If consultants were still a part of the project, they’ve dropped here. Much of the project team is now actively ignoring status meetings in the face of ongoing conflicts with other projects. Those projects begin to slip on date.
13- Steering Committee agrees to a further cut in scope. The technical team is left wondering why any of the project has had any meaning whatsoever. The Business Analyst sets fire to the requirements document and weeps bitter tears.
14- The project is forced hamfistedly into production. The implementation plan bears little resemblance to the actual activities that occurred in dev and QA. Any documentation that was created is radically irrelevant. On many projects, the first attempt at production will be aborted midway through and rescheduled for weeks later.
15- The project is now live. The PM adds it to a ridiculously overblown list of personal accomplishments. Discussions of “phase 2” fade quickly. Many project resources refuse to acknowledge requests for assistance from the operations team who are unable to correct any of the issues that have cropped up.
16- A “post-mortem” or “lessons learned” session is held. Aside from the project manager, nobody is present out of frustration.
17- Within the year, any talk of further updates to the project has ceased. Half of the team barely remembers the project at all.
18- Operations continues to ask for updates, break-fixes, documentation, or advice. They are ignored. Metrics show that the product is not being used at all, with the possible exception of the business owners who requested it in the first place.
19- Within 18 month all usage has ceased. Operations asks when the product can be decommissioned. The answer is inevitably pushed off enternally.
20- GOTO 1