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Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 5:15 PM


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Friday is poll day, at least as long as I can be creative with them. And of course, remember to put them out on the right day :)


This week is more of a software development issue than a strictly SQL Server one, but take it how you will and get your post in here for everyone to see. Humility and responsibility are the keys this week. So without further ado...





Have You Ever Failed In A Software Project?



A simple yes or no would suffice for the poll question, but I'll set an example and give you my answer with an explanation. The short answer is yes. The longer one is abbreviated in the interests of space, but I have made an attempt to set things as I best remember them.


When I came to Denver 7 years ago, it was with a startup company in the financial services market with a few simple software products, but some trouble getting them stable and focusing the IT group. I was excited at the opportunity, the dot com boom was, well, booming, and I was thinking I'd make a million with this company. Fast forward 2 years and I resigned, somewhat burned out, and thinking I'd done everything I could.


Thinking back I think I had done lots and given a lot, but I still failed and part of it was me not taking a leadership role more than I did and part of it was getting burned out and part of it was not really forcing the company to stop and make good decisions regardless of the time involved.


I instead put up a bit of a fight, but then went along with the constant "just patch it" and we ended up burning most of a year getting nowhere because the underlying base products were a mess. I resigned, the company lost about 30% of the development staff, floundered for a couple years and was sold. Not sure anyone made money on that deal.


As I've looked back, I realize it was a dysfunctional company, but I think I could have made a difference, stepped up as CTO (it was offered to me) and driven things forward. Oh well, I learned quite a bit from the experience and grew from it.


Steve Jones







Follow me on Twitter: @way0utwest

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Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 9:02 PM
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Have You Ever Failed In A Software Project?

...........Why no - NEVER! I was once involved with a project (dot com boom time) that sang its swan song within 10 short months of the CEO having conceived this brilliant "e-commerce solution" - but was too small a cog in the wheel to have made any difference one way or the other!!!

Inspite of the importance of teamwork, I still think that some team members are "more equal than others" - so to really be responsible (to whatever extent) for something taking a nosedive, you have to be significant enough to figure in the "grand scheme of things"!!!








**ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI !!!**
Post #244716
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 9:37 PM


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I've never failed a software project, but I've had a few fail me

 



Hope this helps
Phill Carter
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Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 1:37 AM
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Steve,

If you had stepped up into the CTO chair you would have just burnt out faster. May be you would have made a difference, probably you wouldn't have.

For ages I felt very angry over a project (in an early job) I felt had failed due to poor management. I now realise that there were wider issues and the failed project was symptomatic of much bigger failings.


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Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 3:29 AM
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I am having the same situation in our software house due to some poor management. Some of the leading members of the development team already resigned. I resigned too but transfering my work to some juniors. I have spent my 5 years here but could not see burning out this. They are not offering me some post like CTO. Now kindly tell me what should I do. Any suggestions for me in this regard.


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Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 3:45 AM


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Hi,

Yes...

About 12 years ago I joined a small contact management company. I didn't know they were struggling when I joined, but apparently they had lost a lot of money on a lucrative deal in Kuwait which went pop when the first Gulf war happened.

When I joined as Development Manager, the company had never performed a successful software installation that worked first time, had no quality control, change control etc etc. I managed to solve all these problems, but the company was still losing money, and the staff started leaving.

The MD asked me to stay behind one night so that we could move all the computers to a lockup he owned, because the bailiffs were coming the next day, and we were told not to park in the car park in case our vehicles were seized by the landlord.

I left when I realised that I was more concerned about getting to the bank first on payday so that my pay cheque wouldn't bounce, than I was about what i should be doing that day.

David



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Post #244783
Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 3:53 AM
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Yes.

International office politics, lack of technical knowledge, bad management... all contributing to a disaster of a project.

Still, it got me a 2.5 year stint in the USA, so it wasn't all bad!

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Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 4:29 AM


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Don't feel bad Steve.  One thing I learned in my masters, "80% of IT projects failed during the late 90's."  This was mainly due to poor project management and IT mania.


All the best,

Dale

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Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 4:54 AM
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I can honestly say yes, something I am not proud of but thats life, I have worked in a company who had rubbish base products but would not listen to me when advised to look about in the market place for something more suitable as base business systems instead they had me writing bolt ons to get around the failings in the systems, which in my oppinion just compounded the already existing problems, resulting in business built on pieces of string.

Sometimes I feel that not being senior enough within an organisation makes it more difficult to get your oppinions across, especially when sat in boardrooms with MD's that are not keen to spend more money.

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Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 5:02 AM
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Hi Steve: Yes, I failed miserably on a company-critical project also during the dot-bomb days. My failure was not in the design, technology selection, not in managing my technical staff to produce results according to plan, but in failing miserably to "manage upward". Everyone knows the old saw that managing an end-user committee is like "hearding cats", well I failed at cat-hearding.

Same result, but more the tragedy for my staff because they did everything I asked of them. Still carry much guilt about this.

Thanks for your newsletter. You seem like a decent guy and it's nicely free of hype.

Cheers,
Bernard Reagan
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