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The 4 Phases of Implementation

Filed Under Software Process, Thought Stuff

Let’s admit it, sometimes building software is an emotional roller coaster for both developer and management. Most project kick offs happen with enthusiasm and optimism; when in fact, crossing your fingers, closing your eyes, and jumping into the unknown would probably more accurately describe it.

Awhile back, Scott Sehlhorst helped visualize a reference to the 4 phases that customers go through when interacting with new software. However, when I glanced at it, I thought that it was very similar to the morale of a team during the development lifecycle.

4 Phases of Implementation Chart
Photo provided by Tyner Blain

Regardless of team maturity, every project initially falls prey to the optimism of the Gut Instinct Equation. Even in tightly run SCRUM projects where velocity is being tracked rigorously, I have seen over zealous perceptions of progress followed by the Oh Shoot! moment.

Eventually teams rebound, acceptance of reality occurs, and they move onto victory. Just remember that if you have a Oh Shoot! moment follow these simple steps to get yourself out:

  1. Calculate your team’s velocity
  2. Estimate the remaining amount of work
  3. Build a battle plan around your calculations and estimates
  4. Make a contingency plan in case the Oh Shoot! was actually Oh Shit!

Going through a Oh Shoot! phase is never a project killer. Just be willing to adapt and eventually your Oh Shoot! will evolve to the Oh Wow! phase.

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2 Responses to “The 4 Phases of Implementation”

  1. Chip Overclock on September 26th, 2007 6:07 am

    I’ve always likened large development projects to those “magic eye” pictures: they seem utter chaos then suddenly they come into focus and you see dolphins flying in space or something other silly thing. Projects over the past decade have been that way to me: iteration after iteration, bug fix after bug fix, meeting after meeting, and then they come into focus and you ship. To be fair, the project manager has a better vision of project progress than I do, with my arms in code up to my shoulders and thinking more about the current iteration than the big picture.

  2. Scott Sehlhorst on September 26th, 2007 6:50 am

    Great article, Max. I would add that the ‘estimate amount of remaining work’ step also involves communication with the team (and external stakeholders) about the nearness of goals and objectives. Think about it in terms of running a race – you focus on how close you are to the finish line, not how far you are from the starting blocks.

    Thanks for the reference, keep up the good.

    Also – love the magic-eye reference, Chip!

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