Big Government Software Projects: 11 Lessons Learned
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User Rank: Apprentice
11/24/2013 | 5:08:51 PM
Re: Hard Earned Insight
yump. Gather requirements and go underground until done. While it smacks of waterfall, it's necessary to freeze, at some point, and, if you got it right, let the developers deliver. I used this time manage development and to go around and convince various stake holders that what we were doing was their idea ("Gee, I'm so sorry I argued with you, you were right." They had forgotten everything but the argument, because it was all ego.). Using agile builds trust and is a good way to gather requirements, but on a really complex project, you have to freeze and deliver. Managing expectations is what it is all about during that phase.
User Rank: Author
11/19/2013 | 7:02:55 PM
Valuable points
There are some truly valuable lessons here, but especially your point about establishing one ultimate business owner, so stakeholders can't undermine the project; and your point about letting the business dictate the priorities and developers explain the consquences.  This is the ultimate frustration for many end users is a system designed by developers instead of designed for the business users. Thanks for sharing these.
User Rank: Apprentice
11/19/2013 | 3:21:20 PM
Re: Public v. Private
Thanks for the thoughtful question.  I'd love to learn from others whether such outreach would fly in publically traded companies.  That said, most academics live inside of a "publish or perish" paradigm which, despite the altrusitic nature of medical research, can lead to pretty competitive environment.  No surprise here - whether in business, govt, or academia it helps to be referred.  We asked "who else should we be talking to?" and "would you mind if we said you referred us?" It went a long way.
User Rank: Author
11/19/2013 | 10:32:37 AM
Re: Hard Earned Insight
The point Chris raises is something we practiced with the relaunch of on this new platform:
We drew in many business-unit ideas and contributions early on in the project, but at some point the project manager (kudos to Joe Wyka) narrowed the process to a few select stakeholders. We still have lots more to do and tweak in version 2.0 of this project, but we didn't let a succession of proposed incremental improvements slow down the launch. 
Alison Diana
Alison Diana,
User Rank: Moderator
11/19/2013 | 10:08:04 AM
Public v. Private
I wonder what, if any, differences there would be on a list compiled by someone at a similar position in a public company. For example, calling people to learn about "what they'd have done differently" might be a lot more challenging if you work in the private sector, where competitors certainly won't want to share their valuable (and competitive) information! Although I'd guess you can find similar size companies in different industries to discuss implemenations...
User Rank: Author
11/19/2013 | 9:33:01 AM
Hard Earned Insight
This is must-read advice for anyone who leads projects. What I found really valuable: The advice that at 1 stage of a project you need to draw in lots of business-unit ideas and contributions, but then later shut those same people out so the team can deliver. Subtle, powerful insight.

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