Software Development: Phase II is a Fallacy

Anyone who has contributed to a software development effort (which could be any stakeholder, a project sponsor, business analyst, project manager, or SME…) has likely reached a crossroads in designing a system. Here, the three fundamental project-planning pillars, Cost, Time, and Resources (CTR) come to a head. Many times, the proposed method for getting past a roadblock where one of these three pillars is out of alignment is to push a deliverable to "Phase II" of the project. In my experience, "Phase II" is a fallacy.

Fallacy (fal·la·cy): a failure in reasoning which renders an argument invalid.

Why is this a fallacy? Simple - because there is never a future open spot in the CTR equation that will allow you to complete Phase II. 

IT operations, support, and projects are an ongoing, never-ending effort within any business. Wish lists, backlogs, support tasks, and upgrade requirements keep the team in continual demand. As a result, IT teams live in a constant state of technical debt.  

So, the concept of pushing functionality to Phase II is the equivalent of buying something on a credit card. You may have intentions of immediately paying it back. However, when you ignore that you have thousands of dollars of bills that are charged to the same credit card monthly and other big purchases in the pipeline, you are heading toward dangerous territory.

The truth is, functionalities will need to be placed out of the project's scope and deferred to "some time" in the future. So, If you feel that a feature is essential, sell the merits of why the element is critical and is necessary for the initial version of the software. Don't let it slip to a "Phase II"… unless you can accept that it may never happen.

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