Monday, 2 August 1999
This week the final episode of a triptych, an alternative approach with the key success factors for a project:
  1. Throw a Party.
    Software Engineering should be fun, a slogan that SUMit subscribes wholeheartedly. Make sure that employees of various skill cooperate in a pleasant atmosphere ( Humour at the workplace Select project members not only based on knowledge and experience, but above all on enthusiasm and a sense of humour. ( Celebrate every achieved result. Shoot the less successful intermediate results to heaven, with a good share of joy.
  2. Speak the customer's language.
    Hide all kinds of schema's from the user. Translate analysis results to a language that the user understands: paper prototypes. Sketched prototypes Fill in those designs with a realistic example. Create a few alternatives and show them to the user. Have the user 'crack' those designs by refilling them with a tricky example from practical experience. Paper sketches really work and have a number of sweet effects:
    • The user gets the chance to contribute his expertise.
    • The user will realise that his input really matters. Moral will grow as a result. The very same user that was 'too busy' before, will come up with valuable suggestions for improvement, and in an convenient early stage of the project too.
    Elaborate on the best alternative. Design a few new versions. Dare to restart from scratch if required.
  3. Build on Quality
    Focus your attention on one thing at a time, finish it and do it well. That is the core message of PEP, the personal efficiency program ( It assures that you can rely on the quality and continue to build on what you have achieved so far.

    Now is the time, with the unique combination of experts, knowledge, overview and the right focus. You'll never get a better chance.

    Moreover, the amount of work grows during the project. So do it right first time and save enormously on costs and effort. The overview on pieces during the start will vanish. Those small pieces will grow to be big sub projects. The effort to correct errors will grow accordingly.

  4. Small is beautiful.
    Keep the team size small, preferably just 2 or 3 persons, with 5 being an absolute maximum. People works closely together in small teams, and take personal responsibility. Keep projects short and let the members do the whole project, from start to finish.
In the northern hemisphere the summer holidays are almost over. Just another few weeks and Holland will be fully staffed again. From this side, I wish you successful party projects.

Till next week!