I’ve read a lot about process, methodologies, and project life cycles. I’ve been able to put those practices in place quite a bit, and I never though I would be involved in the type of project I am involved with now. I can’t but help blog about it, even though I know its not in my best interest to do so. Anyway, on with the show.

We (as in Method SF) were pulled in about 2 weeks ago to help out on a project that was frankly going into the toilet, quickly. The team had estimated about 8 days of work, for 3 developers to get it all done, and it turns out they were just freakishly optimistic.

The first thing that happens is that our two best flash guys get immediately put on the super hard feature of the site which is this fancy flash video selector.  Then, me and another guy get pulled in to do QA on HTML templates, which have yet to be integrated with the system. Finally, we pull in the last remaining guy on our tech team who wasn’t involved with the project (now 5 of us) to do additional QA and help out any way he can.

Now besides the fact that we know this is a recipe for failure (people go around quoting Mythical Man Month, and something about 9, 1 month baby’s) we still think it is the only way to get the project done by Monday. No not this next Monday (its Tuesday as I write this) but yesterday, which was supposed to be the end of development and the start of QA. They actually worked over the weekend to try to his this date, which doesn’t seem that silly but it gets more ridiculous.

They worked over the weekend, did a whole bunch of work, but it still turns out we won’t be ready to integrate what we are doing in our office with the other groups work till Thursday. We don’t actually expect to be done with development till Friday, and of course they are presenting to the client on Monday.

Now if its a little hard to understand the big WTF here, the gist is that they plan to code 12-14 hour days just to get every feature implemented by Friday, so they can show the client their nearly finished product. The expectations here are not beta quality, but QA complete, getting ready to ship work. That’s never going to happen. The project will be smoke, mirrors, and most likely a Blue Screen of Death.

Monday also happens to be the day that the other group is planning to start phase 2 of the project, with a whole new set of requirements. Not only do they plan to be finished with the current site, they want to add on a whole new batch of work, basically making a QA pass impossible.

All through this process we’ve made attempts to get the left over work estimated and real expectations set, tried to get the customers expectations modified, and basically try to do everything in a smart intelligent way considering we know that the site won’t actually be ready when everyone is really really hoping it will be.

Hoping won’t change reality, if there are 10 people working on 30 features, and its going to take a month, then stop hoping and start doing something productive. Like managing the client, telling them you F’d up and that its going to take longer then expected.

I can’t believe I’m on a project like this, absolutely horrendous.

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