Elements of a Successful Project - Part I Client Maturity
I think the greatest challenges we have overcome in developing the BLISS system have been in dealing with our own naiveté, unrealistic expectations and lack of experience planning and managing a major software development project. Peter often lovingly refers to our staff as “Professional Amateurs” and the BLISS project presents no better example of this concept at work. So when answering questions like “…is the system fully integrated with your database.” and “Is it now fully functioning with all the aspects you were hoping for within the system,” I have to first establish the context, which is that we entered this project with a very ambitious development plan, extremely high expectations for what could be accomplished, and very little real-world experience with how and how fast our goals might be realized. Particularly in the rocky early days of development, this has been a largely educational process for us. Given all of that, I believe what we have achieved is quite remarkable.
BLISS stands for The Breitenbush Living Information Sharing System and was envisioned as being a central repository and management system for all aspects of guest stays, including reservations for Personal Retreats, Events, Day Use, and Massages, cabin cleaning and maintenance, guest satisfaction and feedback, and all financial transactions of the business. We also envisioned a robust reporting system that would allow us to track and respond to trends in our business. The system was originally designed for in-house use by Office Team and Events Team expert users, with the ultimate goal of presenting a simple user interface for our guests to use for making their own reservations online.
Above is an excerpt from an email by Paul at Breitenbush Hot Springs, one of our most valued clients, sent to a friend describing his experience working with us.
In this part of the email, Paul points out to two very important aspects.
“I think the greatest challenges we have overcome in developing the BLISS system have been in dealing with our own naiveté, unrealistic expectations and lack of experience planning and managing a major software development project.”
“..we entered this project with a very ambitious development plan, extremely high expectations for what could be accomplished, and very little real-world experience with how and how fast our goals might be realized..”
“..this has been a largely educational process for us..”
What Paul points out here is very common. The expectations are unrealistic and the budgets are too tight.
Project Management should not be the responsibility of a client who does not have the necessary background and experience. It is here that the technology partner should take ownership of the project and work with the client towards the successful execution of the project.
Though Paul seems to say that their team made a mistake, I believe the development partner has a higher responsibility. It was the development partner’s responsibility to help the team at Breitenbush and educate them about the unrealistic expectations. It was their job to put the foot down and tell Paul and his team that the goals were not achievable given the time and budget. Rather, they should have outlined what could be done in the given budget and timeline.
They should have played the role of a true partner and focussed on building a success story.
At BoTree Technologies, we build web and mobile applications to add value to our client’s business. We align ourselves to ensure that our client benefits the most out of our engagement.
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