From Ars How to blow $6 billion on a tech project. This articles makes me wonder how we’re spending our money as a country.
More importantly, however, this article highlights some bad practices when it comes to managing technology projects.
- Poor understanding of the problem at hand
In hindsight, the military badly underestimated the challenges before it.
- Scope creep
To be specific, the problem is rooted in the way project leaders defined “better” over a decade and a half. They seemed to mistake it for a synonym of “more.”
It also highlights some key strategies of successful projects.
- Regular Incremental Progress
If JTRS had focused on rapid releases and taken a more modular approach, and tested and deployed early, the Army could have had at least 80 percent of what it wanted out of GMR today
- Keep it simple
JTRS aimed not at an incremental goal, but at “delivering everything at once. That was a recipe for disaster.”
- Get people using it
In the end, what really killed GMR—and what threatens all the other JTRS programs—was a failure to ship.
At Atlas our secrets to success lie in these key areas: Regular Incremental Progress; this idea goes by many different names in program management circles, but the core concept is the same. Take measurable steps towards the end goal at regular intervals. If we cannot do this we know something is wrong and must be fixed be for we attempt to continue. Keeping it simple; making sure we focus on the important things rather than getting lost in trying to deliver the kitchen sink. Get people using it; we want to get our systems into users hands as early as possible. We would rather have solid core features accessible to the user so that we can get feedback and make improvements rather than wait and attempt to deliver every possible feature all at once.