Frank Hayes makes a strong case for smaller, more transparent IT projects. He says that smaller projects (nibbles) are more manageable and controllable than the larger big-bang projects (bites) that we’ve all come to know and love (and also hate). From his article:
Call that the “little nibble” approach — and recognize that it’s heresy. In IT, we don’t take little nibbles. We take big bites.
We roll up lots of changes in hardware, applications, infrastructure and process into one huge blowout project. Sure, that takes longer. It’s more complex, harder to change and more likely to fail. And it drives users crazy, because it forces them to lose all their productive habits and learn their jobs all over again.
But big-bite projects are big and impressive. They have big budgets, big staffs and big schedules — all of which are highly beneficial for IT empire-builders or anyone who leaves before a big-bite project is done, because a huge, ambitious project that’s still in development looks great on a résumé.
True, most huge projects are doomed to failure. But huge projects are also hard to kill, because some business sponsor made a big bet by funding that big bite, and big bettors don’t like to admit they were wrong.
And big timelines make it easy to hide schedule slips and dead ends. In fact, the bigger a project is, the easier it is to hide failure of every kind for a long time.
No wonder we like big bites. They allow us to hide our failures, pad our résumés, indulge our egos and cover our butts.
Yeah, lots of good smarts, experience, and good sense in that. Do you find it surprising (read: amazing) that this combination is so unusual?