Seven Deadly Viruses Which Can Infect Your Software Projects and How to Deal With Them

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Seven Deadly Viruses Which Can Infect Your Software Projects and How to Deal With ThemThis is a guest post from Utpal Vaishnav.

We take utmost care to protect our computers, laptops and mobiles from viruses but have we ever thought that the projects we are managing can also be infected by viruses?

Such viruses can lead to severe project health problems such as unmanaged expectations, missed deadlines, client-relationship issues or sometimes overall business disasters.

Here are seven deadly viruses and ?how we can combat them and protect the projects we’re managing:

  1. Improper engagement models: In the modern onshore-offshore software age, most clients opt for hourly rates based model just because it initially looks like dramatically cost effective. The major problem with this model is that both the parties are trying to achieve the opposite. Project sponsors are interested in getting the project completed in the least possible time while offshore companies are trying to pocket few more hours. This is a typical example of win-lose relationship. As a project manager, you need to make sure that in project management ?Project? is the subject not ?hourly rate?
  2. Poor requirement gathering: A lot of projects start with high level, vague and incomplete requirements.? This leads to the cases where developers build whatever they feel appropriate without having any specific knowledge of the client?s business. As a project manager, you need to make sure that the requirements are accurate, measurable and exactly as per the project sponsor needs.
  3. Unrealistic deadlines: Many project sponsors manage the projects through ?pushing? the developers by setting unrealistic deadlines. Most developers cannot handle such pressures well and focus on just hitting the numbers at the cost of quality. Result is disastrous end-product.? As a project manager, you need to make sure that developers get enough time to accomplish the tasks. You need to take a stand and proactively convince project sponsors such that they set realistic deadlines.
  4. Feature-creep: Feature-creep means uncontrolled change in the project?s scope. Typically, it consists of addition of new features without corresponding increases in resources, schedule or budget. Such feature-creep can result in project-overruns. As a project manager, you need to implement tight change control and make sure that any change in scope is accompanied with change in resources, schedule or budget.
  5. Deficient or no testing in place: Many projects do not have liberty to pass through all the stages of SDLC. Project stakeholders sometimes do not pay attention to importance of requirement gathering and testing part. As a project manager, you need to make sure that:
    1. Requirements are frozen such that measurable test plans can be created and acted upon.
    2. Adequate time is allocated to unit testing, integration testing and most important user acceptance testing.
    3. Testers are trained to understand the purpose of testing and make the application bug-free
  6. Ineffective communication: Ineffective communication can lead to surprises and frustrations ? which often results in a de-motivated team ? and the project is in a mess. As a project manager, you need to make sure that communication plan complies with the basic function of communication ? which is coordination of actions. ?You should also state clearly who will talk with whom and about what type of actions.
  7. Inferior Leadership: Project without leadership is like an airplane without pilot. In order to reach the destination (which in our case, successful project delivery) pilot has to perform his job really well. Similarly, as a project manager, you need to make sure that:
    1. Cultural sensitivities are taken care of especially when many projects are executed in onshore-offshore mode.
    2. Requirements are concise, clear and actionable and most important frozen.
    3. Project team is happy and ready to attack on the tasks assigned to them, every single day.
    4. Internal and external delivery milestones are met.
    5. Stakeholders are updated with project status reports
    6. Proper Risk-control is in place.

Have you encountered any other such kind of viruses? If yes, please enlighten the whole project management community of PmStudent by adding comments below.
(If you liked reading this article, please visit Utpal’s blog for more articles on this subject.)