Rusty Divine

Live, Love, Learn, Teach

Beta max

Part five of a series of storied experiences on a small project at a large consulting company in the Pacific Northwest.

"Can we add a link for Trip Reports under the Correspondence section?" Brett, our client on a small web application project, asked during the alpha demonstration.

"Of course," was my gut reaction, "Do you want it below the link for Meeting Minutes?" And with that, the scope crept incrementally.

Overall, the alpha demonstration went very smoothly. We used Live Meeting to share our desktop with the client, which worked great, even through the firewalls. Brett was happy with the progress we had made in short order, and besides the few new features they asked for during the demo, we were right on schedule.

Those few innocuous-seeming feature requests, though, would be starting to threaten our deadline if it weren't set in stone - instead, usability and quality will take a hit, or other features would be dropped. I was using a variation on Joel's schedule tool that included release version, and a column for date added, and one for notes on scope creep.

After updating the schedule, it was obvious that we had more features than we could finish. What should we do? Cut features? Skimp on quality? Add more developers? From cheap, fast, and good, we needed to pick two. Robert decided to call the client and ask what their preference was. We knew they had some money in reserve for contingency. Meanwhile, we'd finish the core features.

Continued next week...

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