In last month’s article How Great ALM Practices Can Improve Your Bottom Line – PART 1, we explored the financial benefits of adopting good ALM practices and how those practices improve your overall bottom line. We looked at two scenarios within a fictitious company called Vandelay Industries (again, nod to Seinfeld!), where the lack of good ALM practices resulted in misunderstood requirements and ill-fitted/obsolete processes.
Now let’s look at a more serious scenario: the real cost of failed projects. Failed projects can result in millions of dollars in losses, and in some cases, can cause people to lose their jobs and companies to close their doors.
Scenario #3: The Cost of Failed Projects
Vandelay Industries recently started a new large project that encompasses 22 team members across different disciplines (designers, developers, testers, project manager, etc). George, Kel, and 20 other team members are assigned to the project, each making on average $100K annually. The project is estimated to take about 6 months.
Everything starts off great, but after only a few weeks, troubles start to emerge:
- After the business requirements are received, the designers and developers assume the requirements are ‘correct’. They begin designing and developing in isolation from the end users and testers.
- Shortcuts are taken during coding such as copy-and-pasting code fragments, rather than properly refactoring them into new, reusable methods. ‘Technical debt’ begins to build, which gradually slows development and negatively impacts maintainability.
- The project team attempts to manually merge and build all of their code once a week. Because of the massive volume of changes in each weekly build, the build always breaks, and the development teams spends hours, sometimes days, trying to troubleshoot. Development is delayed with each passing week.
- After weeks of delays, the development team is finally finished and throws the code over the wall to the testing team. The code delivered does not match the tests written, and the testing team logs 171 new bugs, which are given back to the development team. Scrambling to fix the huge quantity of bugs, more coding shortcuts are taken, builds increasingly break, tests continue to fail, and the delays are intensified.
The project is now behind schedule, over budget, and low quality. Frustrated by the results, the business leaders consider the project a failure and officially cancel the entire project.
Costs: 22 team members x 100K x (6 months / 12 months) = $1,100,000 per failed project
- Original business needs are not met and the business is unhappy
- Major frustrations for both the business and project team
- If severe enough, project failures can cause people to get fired and can even close companies
Lesson learned? Without the adoption of solid ALM best practices, teams and organizations can experience significant project pains that, together, can cause whole projects to fail. Below are some specific ALM best practices and recommendations to consider in order to keep you from becoming like Vandelay Industries:
- Develop a continuous feedback mechanism to solicit constructive and rich feedback from the end users so that designers and developers are able to make appropriate adjustments along the way and build the right thing.
- The integration of testing early into a project is key. Use Test Driven Development (writing the tests before you write code) to ensure that the end result is crystal clear to everyone, which in turn reduces downstream rework.
- Establish proper peer code reviews to catch coding missteps, intentional or unintentional, to keep the quality of code high and easy to maintain for the duration of the project.
- Establish a continuous and automated build integration process that will expedite the discovery of broken code and save valuable downtime.
- Incorporate automated tests into your builds to quickly identify problems by letting your team know the moment a test fails rather than waiting until the end of the project when it is much harder to fix.
By adopting good ALM practices to manage your entire software project, your organization can greatly reduce the risk of project failure, saving considerable project costs and realizing a better return on investment (ROI).
What is the Lack of ALM Costing You?
If the above scenario sounds familiar to you at your organization, then it’s time to take immediate action… and Imaginet can help.
One of Imaginet’s core business strengths is helping organizations continually improve their processes, practices, and tools for managing and enabling the software application lifecycle. With our strong team of ALM experts and coaches, we can help you assess your current state of software development maturity and identify areas of improvement so you don’t incur the cost of failed projects.
Get started with our Free 1-hour ALM Discovery Session with an Imaginet ALM Specialist to openly discuss any of your ALM issues or challenges that may be preventing your teams success. Join us again next month as we explore even more business scenarios on how great ALM practices can help improve your bottom line.
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