“Heathrow approach, this is Charlie Delta Bravo Foxtrot on final. Advising you of a major architectural change in-flight.”
It was the last words recorded on the IT Project “Blackbox” recorder before the project slammed into the ground at 200 MPH. When the recorder was recovered from the wreckage, specialists at the NTSB advised that a full analysis may take weeks, but the cause is currently expected to be pilot-error.
There is an old EDS (now HP) commercial that shows the EDS team exchanging bits of an aircraft in-flight. Followed by the tag-line. “In a sense, IT’s what we do”.
Great commercial but in reality, we don’t do this or our client’s projects end up as a NTSB statistic. There are always choices in projects. Every new person to join a project will bring different perspectives, technology will evolve and the lure of a “better-way” will always be present.
In my blog post Keeping the vision is harder than creating it I talked about the necessity for achieving a balance between letting new ideas in and keeping on track with the original vision. What I did not cover was the timing of those actions.
In any project, like any flight there are critical moments. Take-off and landing. At project take-off, failure to have full throttle and single minded focus on keeping the aircraft pointed down the runway will end in disaster. While some changes can be made in-flight, ones that affect the flight stability are not the ones to pick and again at landing, no changes should be allowed when your only a few feet from the ground and require that things perform consistently.
Every IT Project “Blackbox” recovered reinforces the message.