home-improvement-sledgehammer-demolish-wall-590jn051010When an IT project fails, the post-mortem erupts in more finger-pointing than a streaker at the Super Bowl.  The developers blame the stakeholders for not being specific; for not staying engaged throughout the process; for not reading the updates to the requirements document, for having unreasonable expectations and so-on.  The Stakeholders’ blame the developers for (I know you’ve heard it) not listening; not understanding; burying them in text, spreadsheets and charts.

So who’s right?

Everyone. The fact is, the prevailing software development process is a mess. Sure, Agile, Scrum, and their variants help – but when you get down to it – all of them are tedious, boring and do little to affect the root of the problem — text. The root of all evil. If you don’t believe me, think of the last time you unintentionally upset or angered someone by email (or is that just me?)

Don’t rely on words – they will come back to bite you. Instead, build a fully-functional simulation. Let the stakeholders see, touch and experience your design first. No, not using the IDE of your chosen platform – that’s time-consuming and expensive. Use a modern visualization tool. One that enables you to build it in a few hours, without writing a single line of code.  If they can see it and take it for a test drive before you build it, then you can be assured that the stakeholders will be happy with the result, because they know exactly what they’re getting.

To paraphrase Frank Lloyd Wright “You can fix it now with an erasure, or after you build it with a sledgehammer.”

Jack Fischl (8 Posts)