Sunday, February 11, 2007

It’s not the destination it’s the Journey

While trying to implement a Project Delivery Optimization initiative, it's not the destination it's the journey.  Where you want to get to has a lot to do with where you are.  As you set off on the road to "make-things-better" when delivering software you need to look for the right steps to make increment improvements today without limiting your options in the future.  The processes and tool you need to take you to the next level will serve as a set of building blocks for the level after that.  There is nothing wrong with incremental gains, however as you decide on a process, tool or technology, you should have an understanding of what their limits are what can be done when you hit those limits.  For any non-trivial development organization as you achieve your goals, one of the biggest changes you will make will be to the culture of the organization.  As you make these changes, you will establish momentum.  If a certain process you start has limits that will only take you so far, you don't want to lose all that momentum.

Let's say you establish a project specific initiative, you see progress beyond what you expect.  The tools and processes you come up with  work like clockwork on that initiative.  You want to repeat that on another project so you implement that initiative on the next project.  Now you have a couple/few projects working like a well oiled machine.  You decide to implement that for the other 12 projects in your area.  You do this, however you see that things are starting to slip and you aren't seeing the improvements in efficiencies you expect.  What happened?  Maybe the initiative you implemented works well at the tactical project level but not at the strategic organizational level.  The way this initiative/tools work doesn't take into account any additional commitments beyond the project level and there is no way to change that.  You've made gains but now you are at a dead end and changing course could mean starting from scratch.  If you start out with the strategic end in mind and keep that in mind while making tactical maneuvers your journey toward the utopia of project delivery execution will be much smoother!

Have you ever made any decisions that where absolutely the right decision at the time, however as time went on you find that the investment you made in that decision limited any possibility for future growth without significant pain?


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