Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Decoupling the Problem Child

Sometimes you have a big project that has to get buy-offs from other internal teams, plus approval from your management and possibly executives. There will be a few different pieces to the project, some that should be a slam-dunk, and others that are likely to prove contentious. Before you start down the buy-off/approval process, ask yourself, "Is there a way to decouple the strong piece from the problem area?"

If you plow forward with a single, monolithic project you're likely going to be caught up in review cycles for additional weeks or months while your dev team works on less important stuff. If you can decouple the two you have two options:

  1. Parts A and B - Review both projects together in each round, but clearly delineate them. With each stakeholder, seek to gain approval for both pieces, but if part B gets stuck, try to get buy-off on part A.
  2. Projects 1 and 2 - Move project 1 through the phases and try to achieve final approvals as fast as possible. Behind project 1, schedule a second round of discussions around project 2. That way project 2 can get mired while project 1 sails forward.
You have to use your judgment about which approach is the best, just beware that if you choose the Parts A and B model, you might be forced to couple them back up - badness (potentially).


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