There are all kinds of books, articles, and seminars describing in detail the various theories on how to best manage software development efforts. Each of them certain that their approach is the only way to ensure on-time delivery while meeting budgetary requirements.

In reality, many of these theories will fail if applied without the insight of years of experience and an understanding of the real-world dynamics present during the life cycle of most projects.

Throwing around terms like agile and waterfall, along with other terms, to describe ‘the proper way to manage a software development effort’ prove that one can read.  But, does it really guarantee the success of a project? 

While the processes described by many of these theories have their place, the various aspects of a project must be taken into consideration before jumping on the bandwagon with a single methodology and blindly following. Some of these aspects include the culture of an organization, the tools available, the technical acumen of a team, and the audience (business or technical) being engaged.

There are three primary areas of concern for any project that require constant attention and ultimately determine the success or failure of any project: time, money, and product quality.

Is the project staying on schedule?

Is it within the defined budget?

Does it meet the functional requirements?

So, choose a methodology to preach if you must. But, remember that in the end the best methodology is one that accomplishes the three primary goals.

Wes Buxton is a co-founder of Momentum3, a software development and business solution company located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has worked with reputable companies such as Deloitte and Touche, TV Guide, The Williams Companies, SolArc, and Anadarko, creating & presenting training programs, developing project methodologies, mentoring software engineers and building large-scale business systems. Wes works through Momentum3 to offer a diverse amount of solutions in technology, application and website development and more.