Last night at eleven thirty, when I was taking a shower after playing volleyball for an hour and a half, I thought of a link between risk-based software development and….. a pop song*. Sometimes you think of stuff at the weirdest moments.
I’m a big fan of risk-based development. By addressing risks first, you are able to prove the feasibility of the project you are doing in an early stage. Also, by defining mitigation and contingency measures you do not only make sure you know how to minimize the chance the risk manifests itself. You know what to do when a risk manifests itself and you reassure the team members and, not unimportant, the constituent.
People tend to push difficult work back. I have to admit it can be more appealing to start out with a highly interesting or fun part of the work that needs to be done, in stead of doing the difficult stuff first. I’ve done that myself in the past. But by doing that you enable Mr. Murphy to come and ruin your project. Especially when his visit occurs in the final phase of your project! If you start out eliminating risks and Mr. Murphy does show up, you have the possibility to inform the constituent about a postponed release in time, get more developers to do the work, let the business make choices as to which features should be cut from the release, and so on. In short: in that case you’re still able to do something about it.
Last night, it was Madonna who pointed it out to me in a single way. Her song ‘Get together’ contains that one sentence that summarises it all: “If it’s bitter at the start, then it’s sweeter in the end.” I think there’s nothing more to be said. It might be it’s not so much fun to start out with, it will payback in the end…
* Whether or not Madonna can be classified as an artist making ‘pop music’ is not the issue here. However, if you would like to discuss this: drop me a line ;)