Management in Practice

Beyond the alphabet soup of PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, PMBOK, ITIL, Agile

Handling emotions in projects


Most people get emotionally attached to any creative work. While there is considerable element of science in breaking problems down, in software development, there is an equally significant element of creativity in resolving complex requirements. This is further heightened if you get to design the solution from ground up. I was part of such a solution – my role included business analysis and project management, but no development. However, I still felt significant ownership of the application, as I had contributed to ultimately what was delivered to the client and it had won awards in geospatial and port domains.

We had built the application with a view to making it modular enough to take individual functionality off and build another solution without having to start from first principles. Our lead developer had put it this way – a box of Legos – build what you will with it. We had tried to build this level of re-usability for some time and had finally looked like we had made a breakthrough. We were really excited with the prospect and the awards seemed a perfect vindication of our approach.

In a similar timeline our company became re-seller for a similar product. That product had a significantly larger development team behind it. As we provide implementation and customization on that product, it is becoming increasingly obvious that our original development would eventually be swallowed up by this product. One of the weaknesses of our development was a lack of configuration utility – which the new product addresses quite elegantly.

We are currently undertaking an exercise to upgrade the existing application to the latest Silverlight design patterns. We have had to think long and hard about whether that is indeed something that makes sense. What we have now decided is to produce a migration plan that would eventually merge the two together – hopefully leveraging best of both. This relies on design patterns of both being compatible. We’re in the process of undertaking a study to establish whether that is a realistic option.

From a business and technical point of view this makes good sense. We are simply not large enough sustain both and do justice to either. However, when you have your blood, sweat and tears invested in something, it is hard to let go. Mine was less than the developers … and it was no easier.

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