Josh Fruhlinger of ITWorld recently pulled a list of things that scare the “bejeezus” out of IT pros. So you can forget haunted houses or ghosts, your software development team will most likely be ultimately spooked by these phrases:
- “Can we add one more feature?
If you can’t stop your users from adding in new functionality requests at a defined point in the project, you’re never going to be able to actually create a coherent product. So-called scope creep can result in massive cost overruns and delays, as developers have to not only add new features but change previous code and design to accommodate them. One particularly egregious example: The U.S. Census, attempting to design a bespoke handheld computer for door-to-door census takers, sent 400 new and revised requirements to the primary contractor late in the design process. The project was eventually scrapped and the 2010 Census was taken on paper the way it had always been.”
- “We don’t have the time or money to test it.
Most developers know the benefits of a high-quality testing regime for software, but to many execs testing is just a cost and time sink. They hired great developers, they’ve played around with the application, it all looks fine, what more do you need? That’s the attitude the Los Angeles Unified School District and Deloitte took with the new SAP-driven payroll system for teachers the latter built in 2007. The teachers’ union wanted extensive testing, the district and Deloitte said it’d be too expensive — and the results were predictably disastrous.”
- “It works great in the test environment, so it’ll work great in the real world
One brand of testing failure comes from assuming that the test environment itself is a perfect representation of the real world. This can cause particular problems when it comes to scale: a few dozen testers just aren’t going to put the same kind of pressure on your application or website as the real-world users who’ll outnumber them by a factor of a 1,000 or more. When the Beijing Olympic Committee tried to open ticket sales to China’s 1.3 billion citizens, the ticketing web site crashed repeatedly, forcing Chinese Olympic-goers to sign up for a lottery for tickets.”
“But we’ve always done it this way!
Any big IT project involves change, and while sometimes change can be bad, it can also meet mindless resistance that adds time and difficulty to your efforts. ‘We’ve always done it this way’ can often be code for ‘we don’t know why we do it this way, but we’re comfortable with it.’ It can also form an invisible barrier against pushing a project to its logical conclusion once its initial benefits have been realized.”
Avoid these ultimate scares (and a resulting failed project) by planning thoroughly, communicating effectively and testing in-the-wild. What do you think scares IT pros the most? Let us know in the comments section.