25 Things I Don’t Like About Software Projects

The majority of projects that I’ve worked on over the years have been harder to deliver than they should have been. Mostly this has been down to either lack of experience within the Project Management Team (generally because of poor stakeholder management) and the unrealistic expectations of the client. These two factors are closely linked, but are by no means the only reasons for failure (or near failure). In fact, I’ve only worked on what I would consider a “failed project” on one occasion and that was when I was the Project Manager and I pulled the plug because the software company delivering the (packaged) solution lied to the client (and the rest of the project team) about the capability of their product. Basically, they sold the client vapour-ware and expected the client to pay for the development – we called them out and they huffed and puffed until even they admitted their original delivery dates were many months later than they had been promising.

So, why am I writing about things “I don’t like” when I’ve loved the cut and thrust of project life my entire career? Because I see far too much waste on projects. Waste of money. Waste of talent. Waste of time. Waste of oxygen… etc. etc. Sadly, this list could be far longer….

I don’t like: People who spin the progress of the project (spin is code for lying)
I don’t like: Egos running projects
I don’t like: Writing reports that no one will read, but the PMO insist must be written
I don’t like: Attending meetings that could be replaced by a Progress Report
I don’t like: Being told that the code is 99% complete (again)
I don’t like: Requirements that can’t be linked to a Deliverable
I don’t like: Software Releases that are not accompanied by Release Notes
I don’t like: People who email me when they sit right next to me
I don’t like: Software fixes that fix the symptom, but not the root cause
I don’t like: Project politics – more time is wasted on politics than any other single item (and it doesn’t even have a project code for me to charge my time to!)
I don’t like: lunchtime meetings – I need a break and lunchtime meetings give me indigestion
I don’t like: 9am triage meetings – they distract people from the real priorities of the day
I don’t like: Being controlled or manipulated
I don’t like: Broken promises
I don’t like: Project Managers who tell me someone in my team is upsetting the Development Team Leader (especially if I didn’t get to witness the fun)
I don’t like: Smart-asses who deflect issues and risks to other teams just before the weekly project review board sits
I don’t like: Unclear ownership of requirements and/or solutions
I don’t like: Being told that my team is having too much fun (especially when I’m not with them)
I don’t like: People who come to triage meetings unprepared
I don’t like: Being on the critical path for the project
I don’t like: Asking my team to work the weekend because someone doesn’t know how to manage a project plan
I don’t like: Schmoozing the client
I don’t like: Being given an end date, but still having to provide an estimate to prove that we can make that end date
I don’t like: Counting test cases
I don’t like: Not having enough Test environments to do my job properly

As always, please feel free to add to this list….

Dateline: Wednesday July 3, 2013

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