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All That Sparkles...

Sparkles I hope you've enjoyed the recent interviews with Chad and Kristin ... I'm lining up a new set of interesting people/topics for early spring, so be on the lookout.

Right now, though, there's a more pressing issue to discuss:  laundry.  At my house, I'm "laundry boy" (sounds like a rather domesticated superhero, doesn't it?).  I have my processes and techniques an secrets.  I know how to queue the washer and dryer for maximum effectiveness.  The hampers are color coded based on type of laundry.  I research different folding techniques (although fitted sheets still get wadded into a ball and stuffed in the linen closet).  There is just something therapeutic about laundry.

Recently, my goal of efficient laundering has hit an impasse with the female offspring in the house.  You see, I like low maintenance laundry.  Sort - wash - dry - fold ... nobody gets hurt.  But my girls - 9 and 4 - like sparkely things that have to be turned inside-out for washing and cannot be dried or the sparkles fall off and attach to other things.  (Trust me, you do not want to have sparkles embedded in your Under Armour on workout day... people at the gym will talk.)  Hence, my design criteria for clothing selection is now different from my daughters... and of course, they will win.

This happens all the time on projects.  Different stakeholders have different needs and criteria.  Unless these are communicated and reconciled during scope planning, there's going to be trouble.  Somebody will be unpleasantly surprised by the time implementation hits.  Scott Berkun posted the top reasons why designs fail in his blog a few months ago... all great stuff.  It all boils down to communication, doesn't it?

The bottom line is that design and scope management are PROACTIVE activities... don't just start executing things until you've come to concensus on what you are doing, what's important to the stakeholders, and why people care about the things they do.  Even if you give every stakeholder 10 note cards, and ask them to write one critical function or feature on each card, you'll still be light years ahead of those who make assumptions and then blindly proceed.

Otherwise, you may find sparkly things on your requirements when all you really wanted was clean laundry.

Carpe Factum!


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