Software Project Rescue: A Fairy Tale

with Andrew Harcourt


This is a tale of a naïve protagonist, misguided advisors, princesses[1], dragons[2] and knights[3] in shining armour[4].

Like most fairy tales, this story has an idyllic beginning, a middle, and a happy ending. Also like most fairy tales, the middle of this tale is a grim, dark, scary journey through the Woods of Requirements, blithely past the Ivory Tower of Architecture, into the Depths of Design Despair,  under the Mountain of Technical Debt and finishing with an agile leap of faith over the Waterfall of Doom to reach the rainbow on the other side.[5]

This talk starts with a post-mortem of a 3.5-year, $2m project that went horribly wrong. We’ll look at where the project failed: the architectural choices; the management strategies; the personalities involved and some sample code. We’ll also look at the changes that were made to bring the project back on track, get its wildly spiralling technical debt under control, re-release a functioning version and refactor it to something testable – and all in 3.5 weeks.

Finally, we’ll discuss ways to identify the issues encountered in this project so that you can spot them before they bite, strategies for regaining control over a project that’s already in trouble, and effective methods for managing troublesome stakeholders.

[1] There may or may not be actual princesses.
[2] Or dragons.
[3] Or knights.
[4] Motorcycle helmets.
[5] Bingo!

Friday, 3rd February 2012

7:30am Breakfast – 8:00am Presentation – 9:00am Finish

Microsoft Office – South Stradbroke Island room
Level 28, 400 George Street

RSVP: Reserve your free ticket now

Speaker BIO

Andrew Harcourt is a Senior Consultant at Readify.

Andrew is a solutions architect and software engineer with experience in large-scale, high-load, geographically-distributed systems. Andrew specialises in project rescue, governance and development methodologies. Andrew’s main areas of technical expertise are in the web and mobile space with interests in WPF, Silverlight and cloud computing. Andrew’s mother wrote COBOL on punch cards, and Andrew has been coding in one form or another since he was five years old.

Last month’s meeting

A big thanks to David Cook for his talk in December.