Saturday, February 7, 2009

Changing Project Requirements and Employee Turnover

Many studies indicate that two of the major reasons that a project is late are changing requirements and employee turnover. Discuss this projection and state real world scenarios.

I agree that two of the major reasons that a project is late are changing requirements and employee turnover. Let us trace the software development lifecycle. First phase is planning. This is where the project schedule is laid down, risks are identified and such. No harm done here yet. Now comes the analysis phase. This is where you conduct interviews and prompt the users or customers to express their needs and requirements. Usually, in this phase, you as the developer/interviewer would have to keep initiating questions because the customers don’t know where to begin expressing what they want in the project. Say that you have finished gathering all the requirements and now decided to move on to the rest of the project. In the middle of developing the project, the customer changes his requirements. Of course, you would have to remodel the project to fit the customer’s new requirements. This would result in more time expense because you would have to modify and rework the project based on the customer’s new requirements. This extends the time needed to finish the project. If this situation keeps on happening, there is no doubt that the project will run late. However, I can’t also put all the blame on the customer’s for changing the requirements because I know that developing software usually takes months. And during that span of time, anything can happen and the customer’s needs may change. Thus, it is important to maintain constant communication with the customer and have him check the progress of the project. I believe this would be helpful in coping with the schedule.

Employee turnover also contributes to the delay of a project. This is related to the previous activity sheet question about adding manpower to a project, except that this time (in my understanding) the project is “transferred” to other people. What are the effects of employee turnover to the project schedule? First of all, the “newbies” would have to be oriented and familiarized with the project. This requires time allotment for educating and getting them trained and familiar with the project. The new project members should have to know what the project is, what the requirements are, what the project is supposed to do, and how far the project has progressed. They don’t automatically just pick up from where the previous team left off because they still have to equip themselves with the knowledge necessary to complete the project. Also, another thing is they would need to adapt to the manner the project was carried by the previous team. This is necessary for the project to be consistent.

These two factors, changing requirements and employee turnover, are not the only things that delay a project. There are so many other factors, however, these two have quite significant effects on the project. While it may be impossible to avoid them completely, at least we can diminish their effect.

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