This case illustrates a common problem in software and IT development, where programmers and IT staff are anxious to lock in specifications as early as possible so they can “get to work” without having to worry about invasive or disruptive input from the end users. Unfortunately, what typically happens is that the finished product is not what the users needed or thought they needed and a long list of fixes and modifications are needed to make it work correctly. This case is based on a true story in a hospital IT department that routinely struggled with these sorts of user conflicts until they sifted to an Agile methodology.
- Why does the classic waterfall project planning model fail in this situation? What is it about the IT department’s processes that leads to their finished systems being rejected constantly?
- How would an Agile methodology correct some of these problems? What new development cycle would you propose?
- Why are “user stories” and system “features” critical components of an effective IT software development process?
- Using the terms “Scrum,” “Sprint,” and “User stories,” create an alternative development cycle for a hypothetical software development process at Northwest Regional Hospital.
Case Study 12.2: “First Come, First Served”: Resource Challenges for Sunrise Restoration
This case is intended to highlight the challenges in resource assignment, particularly in the common cases where project managers within the same firm are competing with each other for the use of scarce and valuable human resources to accomplish their tasks. Without clear guidance from top management and a valid priority system, the ability to acquire resources is often the result of chaotic bargaining and negotiation among equals. This case is based on a real situation and the outcomes were very much in line with the way they are described in the case. The business owner did not want to simply invest in more resources for fear that they would be underutilized. He much preferred the system of negotiating among his project managers, even if that led to inefficient utilization of the resources that were available. Students can be asked to take the side of the owner or Tyler to debate the options that Sunrise can use to manage its resources.
- Describe some of the resource constraints that Sunrise and its project managers are facing.
- Is Sunrise’s current model of prioritizing resource assignments viable? Why or why not?
- How could technology alleviate some of Sunrise’s resource management issues?
- Would Tyler’s suggestion to hire additional technicians and purchase more equipment solve the resource problems at Sunrise? Why or why not?