Last month I delivered a presentation to the local British Computer Society entitled "IT projects; if you can't beat them, change the game". Much of what I talk about usually relates to the internal quality of software systems and specifically it's aimed at software architects and developers. This presentation was a bit of a change for me in that it focussed on the people that pay for our services such as customers, business sponsors and so on.
Why? Quite simply; I'm fed up with seeing IT suppliers ripping off customers with late or failed deliveries that are over budget and low on quality. There's a great article called IT industry 'oligarchy' is 'ripping government off', MPs told that talks about this from a UK government perspective, but it isn't limited to the public sector by any means. While most IT suppliers say that they run their projects in a structured way (e.g. with PRINCE2) using the latest technologies and development practices, in reality project management is ad hoc at best and the deliverable barely reaches the lofty heights of the minimum viable product. Things like documentation and configuration management? Well apparently they've gone out of fashion, never to be seen again. Oh, and they use continuous integration and automated unit testing? Congratulations and so they should ... welcome to the 21st century!
Like yin and yang, the presentation was a story of two halves that together aimed to bring balance to the force. I opened up "traditional" software projects, threw out what many customers consider to be "normal" and then showed how collaborative, iterative and agile ways of working can solve many of the major problems associated with IT projects today. If you're interested, you can view the slides online or download them as a PDF file.
Whether you agree with everything in the slides or not, the key message is very clear ... IT projects don't have to be like this and *you* have the power to change the game.
Simon is an independent consultant specializing in software architecture, and the author of Software Architecture for Developers (a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility). He’s also the creator of the C4 software architecture model and the founder of Structurizr, which is a collection of open source and commercial tooling to help software teams visualise, document and explore their software architecture.