Home > Agile > Carried away by numbers

Carried away by numbers

I'm currently evaluating the result of a project completed before I started working for TUI Nordic. I'm going through objectives documents, requirement lists, budgets, time schedules and business cases trying to find out if the project was a success or not.

Since many of the people have moved on to other projects, it almost feel like I'm doing historic research and that is perhaps a curse of the movern project culture within software development. A project is planned, born, lives but dies when it's completed. Completed projects are almost like old newspapers. They are so dead.

But when I entered this project graveyard, I found myself consumed by these numbers and ideas from the not so distant past. I dug into the numbers, crunching them, comparing, trying to find the answer to my question. I had to stop myself many times, drawing conclusions from incomplete data. Our minds are hard wired to draw conclusions and see patterns, even when there aren't any.

It is all to easy to just take two numbers and draw conclusions, make calculations, etc. In a way it's easier to make these calculations than not to.

So, is the project a success? Well, I've not completed my review but my response will probably be that it depends. It depends on who you ask and which aspect you look at. When we talk about successful projects, it's easy getting stuck in Time, Quality/Features and Cost. But what about learnings? There are always stuff which works less than well in a large project but if you don't see that and act on it so you avoid it in the next project, that must be the greatest failure of all.

It's probably easier just to stick to the numbers and lists, comparing and calculating. But who said one must always pick the easy road?

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Categories: Agile
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