The Due Diligence Checklist for Software Projects (Part 1)

Tech Advisors are first and foremost about due diligence.  They can support organizations in doing their due diligence at several different points in a software project.  Here is a checklist to help organizations do their own due diligence.  The detailed explanations will be covered in other posts.

Make Sure You Understand Pricing.

Watch out for disguised up-charges and price structures designed to trip the buyer into a higher bracket or overage charges quickly.

Make sure that you understand the full costs of a project, and are not leaving out some of the essential pieces in your calculations.

Get Multiple Perspectives for System Design.

A great software system will be built to serve all the users.  Be careful not to limit your intelligence to one-pointed managers or “domain experts.”  In any organization, as in the army, there are many more privates than lieutenants, and many more lieutenants than generals.  Even if a highly paid manager is “more important” than a subordinate worker, when you do the math on the number of workers versus managers, you can see the importance of making a system that serves all.

Honor Your Soft Assets, Your Human Capital.

Different individuals contribute in their own ways, for example, through efforts and diligence, ideas and creativity, knowledge and experience, leadership and consensus-building, specialized skills and competencies, connections and affiliations, and a willingness to offer feedback.  The goal is to bring out the greatness in the whole.  This means encouraging people to use their unique abilities in support of the overall effort, while minimizing the complaining and dissent that hinders progress.

Don’t Overestimate the Usefulness of Planning Sessions.

Planning sessions may waste valuable time and resources when they lack good structure and leadership, and when they are not guided in the right direction.  They are great for building initial consensus and generating high level goals.  However, when they try to formalize or do detailed specifications without the benefit of expertise, much of the work may have to be redone and reinterpreted at a later stage.

The Due Diligence Checklist to Be Continued in Part 2.

Copyright © 2011 Patrick D. Russell
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