Thursday, March 25, 2004

Change Management

In class I discussed the value of having a transition agreement when you are required to complete items on an old project while starting a new one. It is in the best interest of both the old and new projects and their management and, most importantly, it usually saves the Developer's sanity. Julie Robbins provides a great case study of what happens when you can't get this sort of agreement. Anyone else have similar experiences? Later!

Julie Robbins entry:

In class we have discussed transition documents that allow the developer to cleanly move from one task to another. I think this is something that every developer has experienced and it's exactly what I needed in my last job. I was the team leader and main developer on a project before my family and I had to move to Florida. My company had an office there so I worked remotely on the project for a while. The powers-that-be thought it would be great for business if I began work on a new project they were trying to kick-off there in Florida as well.

So I began designing an application, working from a set of requirements created by someone else. I soon learned that the requirements didn't have the buy-in from all the stakeholders and that the IT support at the site was ineffective. As I tried to meet with the customers and determine where the holes were, the original person on the project who wrote the requirements left the company.

So there I was, in a chaotic environment with way too many variables that were out of my control. And.. I was still supporting the previous product by visiting customer sites in Florida and flying back and forth to meet with my old team to discuss new development.

Although a transition document would have been ideal in this situation, I'm afraid that in reality the voice of politics did not allow it. Management in both locations was in competition for new business and visibility to the main office. I didn't know it until too late but I was caught in the middle with no hope for an easy way out. Over the years, I've been able to see it clearly happen to others as well. The developer is, more often than not, the powerless pawn in the political side of software development.

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