Chaotic Project Management, part 1

I always thought that writing a good spec before programming is mandatory.

I like short but frequent discussions where a project spec is being written. I found out that having a spec (Agile, or not) is something mandatory. Ever since I understood I have to demand a spec from the customer, even if I have to sit down with him and write it together (frequently), programming became a much faster and easier task to commit.

It is funny that in our world of ‘thinking’ people, so many times we don’t think and rush to program without a true moment of thinking.

If you know the road, you can reach the target.

If you start programming before having a plan, you might find yourself in a chaotic situation. You spent a lot of time programming stuff that isn’t needed at all and now you have 20 waiting tasks with unknown priorities. Chaos. The customer isn’t nice anymore, you are frustrated and the project becomes more and more complicated.

In cases where the possibility of getting a good spec is low there’s a project management style that has to be considered – the chaotic one.

The Chaotic Project Management

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis I, 1-2

Bring the customer to your office for a couple of days or go sit with him in his. Define short tasks together and to them with his constant observation. The customer should understand that for this matter you function as his ‘hands’ and to the actual programming but what will be is what he asks.

Don’t think about performance or beauty of code. Don’t think about good DB structure, think about getting it done.

This project management style gets results very fast but it is pricey and demands great patience. It should only be used when you know you can’t go a step forward in the project because of lousy communication and bad specs.

It should be done only with customers you have intimate relation with and are ready to go into this adventure with the price it demands.

Many clients don’t understand what project they wish to have. This project management style is all about getting to know the project. It’s about managing something that has yet been formed (“without form and void”).

After a while, you’ll have a clearer picture of what the project is and so would your customer.

Now will be a good time for both of you to write a good spec and manage this project in a more conservative way.

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