Pragmatism Vs Optimism – Releasing Software

Posted: September 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
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With the recent downgrading of the US credit rating, and the on going commentary regarding the potential double dip recession; businesses; including banks are feeling the heat and are displaying caution; particularly with regard to IT projects and the risk releases have on existing revenue streams.

What affect does this caution have on IT? Well, if the cautionary stance is a prolonged activity and you are working in a fairly established project team; budgets are likely to be reviewed. Rather than new development, the emphasis may switch to that of a maintenance agreement.

If you work on a greenfield project, these market conditions will have various impacts depending on:

– Risk Appetite of your sponsor(s)
– Stability and availability of your non-Prod environments
– Value proposition of upcoming feature delivery I.e. Can the company sell it!

If your company has invested heavily in your project, the optimist will come to the front and lead, direct and hopefully motivate your team to deliver high quality software, that when marketed has the potential to make the sponsor money, whether through shares or bonuses.

If you are already ‘live’ and are working on a feature release, stakeholders may adopt a more pragmatic approach to software delivery. They may decide to delay releases to protect reputational risk position. An undetected bug in the new feature may dissuade clients from using the platform, and thus impact potential revenues. Other forms of pragmatism may include soft or internal launches, to minimise exposure and thus reduce risk; whilst maintaining traction on delivery pipelines.

It is a fine balancing act for project teams in these periods of volatility, too cautious an approach, and you lose ground against competitors, or your stakeholders reduce budget due to lack of delivery. Too aggressive an approach, and if things go wrong the product loses its reputation, and prospective clients are cautious of using the platform; due to a perceived lack of quality.

To ensure projects survive and maintain velocity; open communication between project team and sponsors is essential. Clear messages outlining progress; coupled with a concise outline of risk and issues (with associated impact) will provide essential data for sponsors to make decisions in line with their risk appetite. Taking the view from various parties; such as service management, should build a clear picture of the risk to deployment. Agreeing various SLA’s for production candidates, should be a matter of course, however these become imperative, when seeking approvals.

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