Speed by removal

If the goal is to get software out fast, a way to get there is to remove unnecessary work. Like this:

Contracts over the project scope. Plans change. Contracts either slow work down by necessiating negotiation before change, or speed it up by making change as easy as possible.

Deadlines. They seem like a good idea: by promising we will be ready by some day we commit ourselves to stripping away the unnecessary work. The problem is that committing to a deadline requires us to make guesses about the scope and implementation of the project before we have the required information. If our guess turns out optimistic, we miss the deadline. If it turns out pessimistic, we have unnecessarily postponed the delivery.

Coding. Many problems can be solved with a pen and a paper, or using existing software. Developing code is slow and expensive.

4 thoughts on “Speed by removal

  1. ‘Coding. Many problems can be solved with a pen and a paper, or using existing software. Developing code is slow and expensive.’

    Totally agree! It’s much better to reuse existing stuff if it fits the purpose.

    • Antti Tarvainen says:

      Thanks for the comment, Vladimir.

      Even in the case where there is no existing software to reuse, it is often good to postpone coding until you are really sure coding is needed. But at the point when code becomes the best solution, there is not many good reasons to wait.

  2. PM Hut says:

    You are presenting the problems but you’re not offering a solution/replacement. What’s the replacement of a deadline in project management? Show me one client who doesn’t ask for a deadline and I show you a client who doesn’t want to pay.

    • Antti Tarvainen says:

      You have a point.

      My idea is that deadlines are potential waste and if the goal is to be fast, getting rid of deadlines is one solution. Often the goal is not to be fast but to meet a certain deadline. In that case, you obviously choose your methods differently. Incidentally, in my experience there are plenty of clients who don’t have a deadline, or whose deadline is not of the essence.

      Actually, what really was in my mind when I was writing this, is that when one thinks of doing things “fast”, one starts to conjure up all kinds of things that often actually hinder the pace of the project. Like “let’s fix the scope now”, “let’s choose a deadline”, or “let’s start coding right away”. There are many others, I am sure.

      I probably didn’t make my point too well in the actual post. I much appreciate the feedback.

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