Oh, WOW, do I have a lot of ideas, in response to this article.
First, I really wish I could work someplace that was even somewhat like Basecamp or Redgate Software.
Second, both my current job and my previous job were very largely slow, plodding, Waterfall based project management. Occasionally, we could experiment on something, but it was never related to a project. It was always something we'd be interested in looking into on the side.
Two-Prime: A consequence of working in slow, methodical, striving for perfection environments has resulted in the vast majority of projects being scraped. This is especially true in my current position. I'm on a team where we're trying to replace really old software (e.g.: MS Access or Excel spreadsheets) with software that could be supported, backed up, etc. The team I'm on has, over the last 3 years, written 4 to 6 applications (I've not been involved with all of them so I'm not sure what the number of projects is.) Of that number, only 1 is in production. The rest have been scrapped. The users could no longer wait for them to be finished, so they told us to stop. They've gone back to using their Access apps or their Excel spreadsheets. They just couldn't wait any longer.
The sad thing is I see this starting all over again, only this time even worse. I'm on a project with 8 people. That includes 2 and a half business analysts. (The half is my boss who likes to do BA work, but hasn't the time to do it full-time.) The BA's are busy as bees, diagramming process flows, interviewing the customers multiple times, writing requirements to the minutest detail, etc. They're in their element, completely enjoying themselves. But I can't figure out why it's taking 2 BAs to do this requirements documentation. And they're also redesigning the database, even though a SQL Server database already exists and is in use. And they know that. I've asked about that, but haven't gotten a straight answer back.
Third, I think that nothing has ever been written about the users expectations. Here's what I mean. Here at work, they've been using Waterfall with voluminous amounts of very detailed documentation for so long, there isn't anyone here who even knows how long its been. I'm guessing it goes back to either the 70's or maybe the 60's; whenever Waterfall became the new kid on the block. With that much time having flowed under the bridge, I'm sure the users now expect extremely long times for software development with copious amounts of documentation. In fact, I'm convinced of it. Recently I was working on a SSRS report against some legacy data that will never be edited again. I was designing the report to look like the screen dump of the application, when it was actually able to work. (It was written by someone else with either Paradox or PowerBuilder. No one around here knows either at this point.) After about 3 weeks I had the beginning of the report done to a point, where I felt I could get feedback from the users, if they like what I was doing, etc. When I got to the demonstration meeting, before I started to show them the report, I told them, "This report is not finished. I'm showing you what I've gotten done so far, so you can tell me if you like how I'm doing this." Then I showed them the report. Immediately, they started saying, "Where's the GI data?", "Where's the diagnostic data?", etc. I told them again and again, that I hadn't finished the report; that I only got it to a point where I knew I could get their feedback; that all I was seeking, at that point, was feedback. It took me 3 times telling them this, before it finally sunk in, that the report wasn't done and I was only seeking feedback. It became clear to me, from that encounter, that because several decades have come and gone where the only thing users ever saw was the completed project, that they literally couldn't fathom what it meant to review an incomplete, but functioning, project.
Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.