The other 5%!

“95% of our life is spent preparing for the other 5%.”  Pastor Dave Crandall, November 7, 2010. 

My last post discussed why the delivery of software is so important, yet in the life of a software project, the last 5% is the Go-live. This post will discuss the other 95%. Dave Crandall is the Senior Pastor at Friendship Church in Greenwood, Indiana. As usual, his eulogy last week resonated with me, and I couldn’t get that quote out of my head. He has a habit of doing that. Thanks Dave.

So how does this apply to software? The last 5% of a project is the Go-Live day.  Everything you do builds up to that day.  This is the launch, the roll out, the celebration, the epiphany.  You are excited about the prospects, but are nervous about what the reaction might be. 

Will your solution stand up to the work load that will come on that first day?  Will you be cheered or jeered?  Will your client embrace the software, or will they trash it?  Are you going to be called on the carpet?  Will you suddenly have a tsunami of defects roll over you and your teammates?

These are all real emotions we, as a project team, face as we approach the magical Go-Live date.

In the software business, it seems we do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen.  We struggle with focusing on getting projects DONE.  I have initiated, and inherited some projects that we never thought we would complete.  They have ranged from $5mm to $50k in cost, and they all have a number of simple things in common.  At times, we have  struggled.  A few have turned into death marches.  I can say that, with one exception, I have finished the ones I have been involved with. 

It amazes me how we will act as though our projects are on schedule, or that we can catch the plan up when we know there is no chance in %#%.  Most of these could be avoided by communicating and managing early and often throughout the project.  Spending a little extra time during the project to do the little things can save us.  Most of us in this business don’t know what those little things are.

My next post will cover three or four tricks that I have used to get projects across the line.

Thanks for coming in today.



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