Have You Heard This One Before?
"Sometimes I hear software development project managers say 'We'll tackle that risk later; that'll give us much more time to think about it while we're doing all the easy stuff.' Whenever I hear that, my blood pressure goes through the roof!" exclaimed Roscoe.
"Ah, Roscoe, I know where that wrong thinking comes from," I said. "It's what we tell American students about how to take tests in a time-constrained setting. Over and over again, we admonish them to do the easy stuff first, to 'get money in the bank' and reserve the remaining time at the end to work on the harder stuff. The logic is to get as much credit as you can for what you know, and 'don't leave money on the table' because you run out of time."
Roscoe reflected for a moment. "Well, that might be a
I agreed. "So what you're saying, Roscoe, is that the idea that a team will work on the 'hard' or 'high-risk' problems in the background is an exercise in
I concluded with, "So once again, the moral of the story is: Prioritize your risks, and attack the biggest ones first. If there is not enough time left over to do 'the easy stuff,' then you were
"Now you're striking oil, Sonny," said Roscoe, and added one more cogent observation to supplement mine: "If I were behind schedule, I would feel much more comfortable going to my boss and asking for more time
if I could
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It was all coming together for me: short vectors, risk targeting, and hard problems first. One thing really hit me between the eyes: In iterative development, we are forced not only to learn as we go, but also to use what we have learned.
I pointed out to Roscoe that we can't plan the
"Contrast this with organizations that don't develop iteratively," said Roscoe. "How often have you
The vein on Roscoe's temple was starting to bulge, so I knew we were approaching a crescendo. "This is 'planning' run amuck," he exclaimed. "It amounts to confusing the map with the territory. Or using a tool as an
I had to agree. Iterative development