How to tackle failure demand on your Project!

What could be one of the key reasons for poor stakeholder satisfaction, it will make your project late, but team members are often rewarded for tackling?  Most Knowledge Workers will recognise the hero team’s and team members who worked late, or all weekend to resolve a production issue or defect resolution for a production release at the eleventh hour.  They are often applauded and thanked for going the “extra mile” and are held up for their sterling effort.  However, what if a change in process could build quality into development practices and system management?

All projects and systems will suffer from failure demand. Its all the demand on your delivery and support team to fix defects and production system problems.  In the Waterfall Delivery model, defects are picked up during the testing phase, which typically follows the development phase.  This means big hand-offs, where Testers start to inspect the development effort.  Guess what, with this big batch, large hand-off and lag in inspection there is a considerable J-curve in learning for the Testers and once again for the Developers, once the tester’s feedback on findings.  This is extremely inefficient, and slows the project down.

Tackling failure demand is about building quality into the delivery process.  Focus on shortening the feedback loops from Testers to Developers, by forming a framework for them to work closely.  Aim to have a regular small batch drip-feed of development for testing, while fresh in everyone’s mind.  Drive efficiency into the process so the flow of work from Dev to Test is optimal, and repeatable tasks are automated.  Ensure the focus is on targeting special cause problem fixing, and identifying common cause problems that an overhaul of the process could tackle.  The Fast Waterfall Project Management model recognises that building this efficient framework is possible, and there are a number of “out of the box” delivery processes available.

This may not be good news for the hero Teams, but it will mean an optimal delivery model and tick the more macro Project Management “boxes”, which are to deliver on time, to scope and budget.

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