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Friday, July 27, 2012

What are the causes for the failure of traditional planning approach?

The traditional planning approaches does not always lead to very satisfactory results.

Causes for Planning Failure

Cause #1: Planning is done by activity and not feature
- The traditional approaches to planning focus on activity completion rather than on delivery of features.
- Activity based plans generally lead to projects that overrun their schedules.
- Hence, quality is reduced.

Cause #2: Activities do not finish early
Cause #3: Lateness is passed down the schedule
- Traditional approaches being activity based, their main focus is to focus on dependencies between activities.
- Testing will start late if anything goes worse than planned according to traditional approach.
- Testing will start early if everything goes better than planned.

Ways to avoid late start of testing are:
1. User interface coding finishes late.
2. Middle tier coding takes longer than planned and finishes late.
3. Middle tier coding starts late as tables adding to database finishes late.
4. Tester is not available.

Cause #4: Activities are not independent
- Activities are independent if duration of one activity does not influence the duration of another activity.
- For independent activities, late finish on one activity can be offset by an early finish on another.

Cause #5: Delay caused by multitasking
- Multitasking exacts a horrible toll on productivity.
- It becomes an issue once a project starts to have some activities that finish late.
- Dependencies between activities become critical.
- For a traditionally planned project, multitasking becomes a problem for two reasons:
1. Work is assigned in advance and it is impossible to allocate work efficiently in advance.
2. It focuses on achieving high level of utilization of all individuals rather than on maintaining sufficient slack.

Cause #6: Features are not developed by priority
Cause #7: Ignoring Uncertainty
- We fail to acknowledge uncertainty in traditional approach.
- Ignore the uncertainty about product.
- Assuming initial requirement analysis will lead to complete specification of product.
- Ignoring uncertainty about how we will build the product.
- The best way to deal with uncertainty is to iterate.

After looking at the problems with traditional approaches to planning, many projects are disappointing. Planning based on activity diverts us from features and as a result, a variety of problems leads to the likelihood of delivering late against a schedule.

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