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3 September 2015
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Services in IT field. Materiel– part 5: not all projects are identical

In the IT field the domain areas of services and management are rather complex and non-trivial. This difficulty is connected with intangibility of most subjects in these fields. Despite this, people somehow use very simple approaches to classify the items, literally by few attributes.

This is what happens with the notion of «project». If there are restrictions on financing and terms and it is a single task, it is already deemed a project. So let’s apply the project management procedure, and everything will be fine!

But it will not be fine in fact, especially if it is software development project. If persons concerned perceive any of activities in that way, this is NOT a project, and/or project, but with a huge disappointment and pain at the end.

What is a true project?

I see the concept of the «project» through the eyes of PRINCE2. According to PRINCE2, project has 3 generating each other categories of the useful outcome resulting in the course of the project:

  1. Immediate «end products» at the end of the project (Outputs). It includes the tangible matter which will be created under the project and delivered to users. For example,
    • «software for the process automation»;
    • «updated operating instructions for the process»;
    • «efficient support service of the process automation».
  2. «End results» of the project (Outcomes). These are the actual results of changes that occurred as a result of use of «products» and activities under the project. For example,
    • «10% increase of the average number of orders processed per day»
  3. «Benefits» of the project. These are the measurable benefits (profits, savings, market share, etc.) obtained as a result of the fact that the project had changed the reality. For example,
    • «10% reduction of the order processing cost»
    • «10% increase of the customer loyalty due to reduction of the order processing time».
In other words, a true project always involves a change in organization, and the «outputs — outcomes — benefits» chain should always be under control. And organizational change can be really done only from within the company. Accordingly, the true project can be called and considered only the temporary arrangement, managed by the company which receives benefits and outcomes from this project. In fact, the company grants to the project manager the powers to change it (the company).

The project should be named, first of all, by its outcomes. Accordingly, what is deemed a «development project» that exists within the company who receives the benefits, should, for example, be understood as:

  • The project to increase productivity through the process automation;
  • The project to create a new business line based on the created software product or anything else, according to the possibility of obtaining benefits through the project.

What do you think, how many similarities between the above two «software development projects»? I hope, the difference is clear, and now a «development project» will mean to you a «hammer assembly project».

There should be no projects that create software. They are excellent projects for software developers, but horrible ones for business projects. The project must implement a business change, a behavior change, and/or the way people work, and show a measurable positive effect before its completion. Most people do not like changes, and any innovation will make them resist. For any true project this is one of the biggest risks, and the project should not be finished while this issue still exists.

What the developers of custom software do and an example of a true project can be found in our blog on the portal Megamozg.


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