THE NUMERATOR

Schedule extensions hot, overtime not

What does an organization do when a software project takes longer than expected to complete? The Cutter Consortium, an information technology advisory firm, surveyed more than 100 organizations that did software development and found that extending the schedule and removing product features were the top two responses.

QUESTION: Which are the most common ways to resolve problems caused by an underestimated schedule?

Extend the schedule: 38 percent
Remove product features: 20 percent
Work overtime: 16 percent
Add development staff: 13 percent
Reduce quality (less testing, etc): 4 percent
Change project manager/team: 3 percent
Cancel the project: 0 percent
Other: 6 percent

Here's one interesting wrinkle: In a similar Cutter survey in 2002, working overtime was the most popular solution, picked by 72 percent of the respondents. The survey finds overtime only the third most popular response, though respondents were allowed to choose more than one option in the previous survey. Still, the trend is clear: "To a large degree, the shift away from adding overtime indicates a positive change in culture," said Cutter Consortium Senior Consultant E.M. Bennatan.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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