Thursday, November 10, 2011

Waterfall project management was a mistake

Last week I was reading the ‘Are project managers living a lie?’ blog post by Peter Saddington, when I noticed the following eye-opening paragraph:

“It has always been eye-opening to many people when I tell my workshop participants or clients that they old waterfall way of doing software was never intended to be used. It was a misinterpretation of Dr. Royce’s seminal paper. What happened was that government agencies read the first page, saw a diagram (with a poorly chosen caption), and said: “Hey, that’s how we do software development!

Yes, that’s right. Waterfall project management was never the point. It was actually iterative development that Dr. Winston Royce was pointing to… later in his paper.

If they had read the second page of Dr. Royce’s paper, they would have found the following quotes:

“I believe in this concept, but the implementation described above is risky and invites failure.”

“Yet if these phenomena fail to satisfy the various external constraints, then invariably a major redesign is required.”

“The required design changes are likely to be so disruptive that the software requirements upon which the design is based and which provides the rationale for everything are violated. Either the requirements must be modified, or a substantial change in the design is required. In effect the development process has returned to the origin and one can expect up to a 100-percent overrun in schedule and/or costs.”

It’s kind of sad that the most used Project Management technology today is based on a misinterpretation of a paper. I hope that some (project) managers will read this paper and maybe even start thinking about how they are managing their projects today… (and yes, I’m also talking about the ‘Scrum but…’ adepts!)

Waterfall Managing the Development of Large Software Systems Royce

5 comments:

Unknown said...

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!



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Perry Joel said...

Yeah its a good article. According to you what we project managers do is communicating. And a lot of this communication is done during project meetings. It can sometimes feel like you are running from one meeting to another and that your time is often wasted. Meetings don’t start on time, the issues aren’t dealt with, there is no agenda, there is no focus, nobody assigns any follow ups or tasks and of course then they also don’t end on time. An efficient project manager is required for the good management of a project. I think a project manager should PMP certified. Looking forwards to apply what I learned in PMP classes in my company.