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Interesting article on the software development process

On Tue, 4 Jun 2002, John Whitfield wrote:

> I'd agree for the most part, but it leaves out the critical issue of
> scope creep.  Somebody inevitably tries to push more features while
> insisting on the same schedule and budget.  You always need an up front
> agreement on how you're going to handle changes of scope.

I thought it went quite deeply into that.  

13) A schedule is like wood blocks. If you have a bunch of wood blocks, 
and you can't fit them into a box, you have two choices: get a bigger box, 
or remove some blocks. If you thought you could ship in 6 months, but you 
have 12 months on the schedule, you are either going to have to delay 
shipping, or find some features to delete. You just can't shrink the 
blocks, and if you pretend you can, then you are merely depriving yourself 
of a useful opportunity to actually see into the future by lying to 
yourself about what you see there.

And you know, the other great byproduct of keeping schedules like this is 
that you are forced to delete features. Why is this good? Suppose you have 
two features: one which is really useful and will make your product really 
great (example: tables in Netscape 2.0), and another one which is really 
easy and which the programmers would love to code (example: the BLINK 
tag), but which serves no useful or marketing purpose.

I don't think the feature set needs to be carved in stone (or in wood
blocks), but there has to be an understanding of "cost" and "worth" for
each feature, so when it looks like the box isn't big enough to hold all 
the blocks, you can make informed decisions about what to cut, and what 
must be done.  And the numbers have to add up.  Managers _hate_ that.

DDDD   David Kramer         
DK KD  "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. 
DKK D  It says that the best drink in existance is the Pan Galactic
DK KD  Gargle Blaster."
DDDD             Douglas Adams, "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

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