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Re: [hackers-il] Rate of failure of Israeli software projects?

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  • Omer Zak
    ... [... snipped ...] ... If a project was 5% over schedule and 5% over budget but achieved its set goals, then its overall management was not bad enough to
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 23, 2005
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      On Tue, 2005-08-23 at 08:34 +1000, amos@... wrote:
      > Every serious project should have set goals.
      >
      > "Failed" should be "not reached set goals".

      [... snipped ...]

      > How does that sound?

      If a project was 5% over schedule and 5% over budget but achieved its
      set goals, then its overall management was not bad enough to serve as an
      example of bad project management (although there may have been some
      problematic practices).

      Also, a project can be well-managed but cancelled midway due to external
      causes. Since the external causes are not project mismanagement per se,
      we cannot learn from such a project. Usually, it can be ascribed to
      marketing failure of predicting the future. But if it was one of 5
      parallel projects initiated by a very rich and profitable corporation,
      with the intention that one succeeds and four fail, yet the successful
      one covers the expenses of all five projects - then the four
      failing/cancelled projects are not necessarily mismanaged.

      Now, that we have discussed criteria and clarified them a bit, can we
      turn to the main subject - that of cultural influences on Israeli
      project managers, which cause their projects to fail.

      Are there such adverse cultural influences (the way there are in USA,
      for example)? Are there any countries, in which project managers
      consistently excel, thanks to the beneficial influence of their national
      management culture?
      --- Omer
      --
      MS-Windows is the Pal-Kal of the PC world.
      My own blog is at http://www.livejournal.com/users/tddpirate/

      My opinions, as expressed in this E-mail message, are mine alone.
      They do not represent the official policy of any organization with which
      I may be affiliated in any way.
      WARNING TO SPAMMERS: at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
    • amos@amos.mailshell.com
      ... You can quantify these 5% in the goals too: Over 5% - failed. Within 5% - goal reached . And so on and so forth for other resources. (As an anacdot, I ve
      Message 2 of 13 , Aug 23, 2005
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        On 8/23/05, Omer Zak <omerz.at.actcom.co.il@...> wrote:
        > On Tue, 2005-08-23 at 08:34 +1000, amos@... wrote:
        > > Every serious project should have set goals.
        > >
        > > "Failed" should be "not reached set goals".
        >
        > [... snipped ...]
        >
        > > How does that sound?
        >
        > If a project was 5% over schedule and 5% over budget but achieved its
        > set goals, then its overall management was not bad enough to serve as an
        > example of bad project management (although there may have been some
        > problematic practices).

        You can quantify these 5% in the goals too: "Over 5% - failed. Within 5% - goal
        reached". And so on and so forth for other resources.

        (As an anacdot, I've just checked CRM solutions where a manager could set
        "predicted time" and "predicted deviation").

        > Now, that we have discussed criteria and clarified them a bit, can we
        > turn to the main subject - that of cultural influences on Israeli
        > project managers, which cause their projects to fail.

        Where do you expect to find such data? I'd look it up in publications of
        companies like Deloyt-Tusch(sp) and maybe the IDC, if it's available for
        the public at all...

        > Are there such adverse cultural influences (the way there are in USA,
        > for example)? Are there any countries, in which project managers
        > consistently excel, thanks to the beneficial influence of their national
        > management culture?

        I don't know. I can only tell from my personal experience - the most well
        managed software development organization I've ever seen is completly
        run by Israelis (plus a russian-born R&D manager). Don't know how to
        extrapolate from this or my other experience on the rest of the industry,
        some are better and some are worse in any country.

        --Amos
      • Omer Zak
        ... Lacking access to such publications, and knowing that the publications do not capture informal anecdotes, I threw the question to the Hackers-IL mailing
        Message 3 of 13 , Aug 23, 2005
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          On Tue, 2005-08-23 at 18:00 +1000, amos@... wrote:
          > On 8/23/05, Omer Zak <omerz.at.actcom.co.il@...> wrote:
          > > Now, that we have discussed criteria and clarified them a bit, can we
          > > turn to the main subject - that of cultural influences on Israeli
          > > project managers, which cause their projects to fail.
          >
          > Where do you expect to find such data? I'd look it up in publications of
          > companies like Deloyt-Tusch(sp) and maybe the IDC, if it's available for
          > the public at all...

          Lacking access to such publications, and knowing that the publications
          do not capture informal anecdotes, I threw the question to the
          Hackers-IL mailing list to see whether some subscribers have anything to
          contribute.

          > > Are there such adverse cultural influences (the way there are in USA,
          > > for example)? Are there any countries, in which project managers
          > > consistently excel, thanks to the beneficial influence of their national
          > > management culture?
          >
          > I don't know. I can only tell from my personal experience - the most well
          > managed software development organization I've ever seen is completly
          > run by Israelis (plus a russian-born R&D manager). Don't know how to
          > extrapolate from this or my other experience on the rest of the industry,
          > some are better and some are worse in any country.

          What can you tell us about the average case - the average software
          development organization in Israel (or at least among those which you
          encountered)?

          My own experience (which may be obsolete by now) is that I personally am
          more aggressive than the average organization in developing or deploying
          tools to assist them in the work.
          (I remember an organization, for which I worked several years ago, in
          which there was resistance to using 'make' and it was broken down only
          after they added another employee in the role of 100% software
          engineer.)
          --- Omer
          --
          MS-Windows is the Pal-Kal of the PC world.
          My own blog is at http://www.livejournal.com/users/tddpirate/

          My opinions, as expressed in this E-mail message, are mine alone.
          They do not represent the official policy of any organization with which
          I may be affiliated in any way.
          WARNING TO SPAMMERS: at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
        • Ori Idan
          Resistance to using make ? why because it was hard to use or because they did not realize the potential and the need for such a tool? -- Ori Idan
          Message 4 of 13 , Aug 23, 2005
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            Resistance to using 'make'? why because it was hard to use or because
            they did not realize the potential and the need for such a tool?

            --

            Ori Idan


            Omer Zak wrote:

            >On Tue, 2005-08-23 at 18:00 +1000, amos@... wrote:
            >
            >
            >>On 8/23/05, Omer Zak <omerz.at.actcom.co.il@...> wrote:
            >>
            >>
            >>>Now, that we have discussed criteria and clarified them a bit, can we
            >>>turn to the main subject - that of cultural influences on Israeli
            >>>project managers, which cause their projects to fail.
            >>>
            >>>
            >>Where do you expect to find such data? I'd look it up in publications of
            >>companies like Deloyt-Tusch(sp) and maybe the IDC, if it's available for
            >>the public at all...
            >>
            >>
            >
            >Lacking access to such publications, and knowing that the publications
            >do not capture informal anecdotes, I threw the question to the
            >Hackers-IL mailing list to see whether some subscribers have anything to
            >contribute.
            >
            >
            >
            >>>Are there such adverse cultural influences (the way there are in USA,
            >>>for example)? Are there any countries, in which project managers
            >>>consistently excel, thanks to the beneficial influence of their national
            >>>management culture?
            >>>
            >>>
            >>I don't know. I can only tell from my personal experience - the most well
            >>managed software development organization I've ever seen is completly
            >>run by Israelis (plus a russian-born R&D manager). Don't know how to
            >>extrapolate from this or my other experience on the rest of the industry,
            >>some are better and some are worse in any country.
            >>
            >>
            >
            >What can you tell us about the average case - the average software
            >development organization in Israel (or at least among those which you
            >encountered)?
            >
            >My own experience (which may be obsolete by now) is that I personally am
            >more aggressive than the average organization in developing or deploying
            >tools to assist them in the work.
            >(I remember an organization, for which I worked several years ago, in
            >which there was resistance to using 'make' and it was broken down only
            >after they added another employee in the role of 100% software
            >engineer.)
            > --- Omer
            >
            >
          • Omer Zak
            ... They were used to typing in the commands to build and link the modules and were set in their ways. The software in question was simple, though (about 3-4
            Message 5 of 13 , Aug 23, 2005
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              On Tue, 2005-08-23 at 13:11 +0300, Ori Idan wrote:
              > Resistance to using 'make'? why because it was hard to use or because
              > they did not realize the potential and the need for such a tool?

              They were used to typing in the commands to build and link the modules
              and were set in their ways.

              The software in question was simple, though (about 3-4 modules per
              build).
              --- Omer
              --
              Delay is the deadliest form of denial. C. Northcote Parkinson
              My own blog is at http://www.livejournal.com/users/tddpirate/

              My opinions, as expressed in this E-mail message, are mine alone.
              They do not represent the official policy of any organization with which
              I may be affiliated in any way.
              WARNING TO SPAMMERS: at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
            • amos@amos.mailshell.com
              ... At least the ones I took part in delivered their goals and as far as I can tell they have done so within the allocated resources (time, manpower, badget).
              Message 6 of 13 , Aug 23, 2005
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                On 8/23/05, Omer Zak <omerz.at.actcom.co.il@...> wrote:
                > What can you tell us about the average case - the average software
                > development organization in Israel (or at least among those which you
                > encountered)?

                At least the ones I took part in delivered their goals and as far as I can
                tell they have done so within the allocated resources (time, manpower,
                badget). There were a couple of exceptions I am aware of:

                1. The "Big Project" at Comverse to move the entire platform from an
                ancient real-time 386 OS + PL/I + C etc to Windows NT + C++ failed,
                possibly due to mis-management and unfamiliarity with the technology
                and maybe also unfamiliarity with the development process they tried to
                use.
                (I haven't stayed there to watch the failure, I was just fed-up with
                Windows NT and moved on to other projects which involved
                UNIX programming).

                2. During a one-year stint at Sun I was mostly responsible to help Amdocs
                convert from HP to Solaris. Their way of working is to use lots of zombie-level
                programmers who understand pretty much nothing at what they are doing
                and just keep throwing more and more people at late projects. It works,
                eventually, but at a much higher cost for the customer than he bargained for.
                (who's apparently a captive by the time this happens).
                You get to see wierd things in Amdocs (e.g. in parallel to the project I was
                helping with, I slowly discovered three other projects to do the same (convert
                their HP code to Solaris).
                I don't know if this is considered "failure" since Amdocs generally succeed in
                winning and retaining contracts but still their line of work is very distressing
                just to be reminded about.

                My refference: a few years of sub-contracting for various projects in Comverse,
                and a few years of working for software startups. With side-kicks for the
                army and others.

                --Amos
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