Software Project Management, Find a Pilot

A long time ago a CEO told me that the reason airplanes don’t crash is because they put a pilot in the front seat behind the windshield. The person in charge is the first to see the consequences of failure.  Well airplanes do crash but probably not as often as if they flew remotely with 10 different people working on the process.

What does it look like when there is no pilot? See Charles Babcock’s excellent coverage of the opening legal volleys in Monteclair State University v. Oracle.  www.informationweek.com/news/software/enterprise_apps/229800001?pgno=1

This is a classic tale about a project management without a pilot. Right now we do not know which side was missing the pilot. But Montclair mentions there were about 129 people worked on the project in a 12 month period. Something seems wrong with that. It would be hard keep track of that number of people let alone manage them. But then again if there was offshore coding or testing, the number is not that large. Time will tell who fouled this up.

The best practice is to get a pilot on both sides at the time the statement of work is prepared. Then have them follow through. If there are change orders, follow a change order process. Follow it through as though your life depended on it. That is what a pilot does and the planes land safely.