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We are still getting distracted from our main task. Two of the four developers have spent more than 50% of their time looking at a production memory leak. I am spending a lot of time doing interviews and attending meetings. All of it is important but it is impeding progress badly.

Welcome to the waterfall

We have made some progress in the last week of development but it has not been as I envisaged. We have spent a lot of time talking through the use cases and that has helped the dev team understand some of the issues facing us. Those use cases have been typed up using our standard template but they lack structure.

I traveled to overseas for a technical alignment meeting. 05:30 start. Back home at 21:30. Shattered. All for thirty minutes where I stepped through one of the sequence diagrams. It was helpful as for that one use case we have agreement on the design. Half an hour for an extended day (which took me another day to recover from) is not startlingly efficient.

What we have failed to do is produce the product backlog. Instead we have identified some massive issues around complexity and spent days trying to thrash them out. This has also involved presenting back to the stakeholders and trying to educate them on the relative cost in complexity in comparison to the possibly limited returns in functionality. We failed to make any impression and were told that they would reconsider but the the requirements would stand unchanged. Not sure who is doing something wrong here.

We are now slotting back into the feasibility process that the clients financial processes mandate. We are producing very short summaries of the options, impact on required functionality and potential risk (expressed as a percentage). We are doing this for the entire scope of the project (9 months). This does not feel agile at all as we are having to sketch out designs for the entire system. We cannot get round this as completion of the feasibility is a payment milestone.

I am also finding that the feasibility document in its current form has been overloaded with very detailed design narrative. The narrative captures the developers thought process through out the exercise. It makes the classic mistake of documenting parts of the solution we have since discounted because the author has a significant emotional investment in those words and cannot bear to see them all deleted. The detailed design narrative also needs to go (hopefully). I am thinking of it as necessary scaffolding for the developers thought process. It helped them organize their thoughts and was useful. Now it needs to be binned as it is already out of date and has no audience.