Phase 3: Rude Awakening
The next phase is painful indeed. During system integration, many defects are discovered, some of them design-related (uh oh, lots of rework), and the dreaded defect-triage process begins.
Now it's obvious that the schedule will not be met, and communication of that prospect begins. Worse, in the early period, the defect "find rate" exceeds the "fix rate," and the schedule becomes less and less certain as product delivery looks further and further out. Even worse, the customer typically now has his first opportunity to see the actual software and discover that it's not what he currently needs. This has happened for one of two reasons:
- The customer didn't know what he wanted earlier on.
- The customer's needs have changed in the last year.
Whatever the cause, substantive additional rework will be required before the product can be deployed.
This is a period of substantial pain for the product manager and for all key stakeholders in the process.
Phase 4: Resetting Expectations
The tech industry couldn't have advanced to its present state without most program teams eventually figuring out how to deliver software, so a period of rework and recovery begins. During this period, the scope is typically slashed dramatically, and commitments for schedule and functionality are renegotiated. Of course, credibility has now been lost throughout the enterprise; the development team has lost credibility with its internal stakeholders, and the product managers with their external stakeholders.
Phase 5: Persistent Mistrust
What follows is a long, persistent period of mistrust between the development and product management organizations, often characterized by cross-department hostility, reduced communication, and even complete dysfunction.
Worse, because the product managers have learned that they only get about half of what they request, they often resolve to ask for twice as much next time, to ensure that something meaningful is delivered. And we all know how well that system works.
So the vicious cycle continues.