A study by Standish Group reports 80% of the IT projects fail due to over budget, late, missing functionality or due to combination of these. Worse 30% of software projects are so poorly executed that they are canceled before completion. There are uncountable reasons for a project to fail and enough has been said and talked about it. What we are not talking is about success. Strange isn’t it? But its true.
I have been in IT industry for six years now. I have been in more than dozen projects of varying types, size and period. One thing which is common across these projects – every successful project needs a hero (s if the project is big). He is the man/woman who can think, design, code, he/she is super productive and above all he/she can help others. Its because of these heroes those 20% projects see shine of the day. My heroes are same as Bruce Eckel’s 20% struggling programmers.
Bruce Eckel’s The Mythical 5% people
Let’s say that this follows the 80-20 rule. Roughly 80% of programmers don’t read books, don’t go to conferences, don’t continue learning, don’t do anything but what they covered in college. Maybe they’ve gotten a job in a big company where they can do the same thing over and over. The other 20% struggle with their profession: they read, try to learn things, listen to podcasts, go to user group meetings and sometimes a conference. 80% of this 20% are not very successful yet; they’re still beginning, still trying. The other 20% of this 20% — that’s about 5% of the whole who are 20x more productive.
Now I am more confident about my theory of “Every project needs a hero”. Most of you would say successful projects are more of a team work than few individuals. That is true only in an ideal world where the team members are equal. I am sure most of teams are far from being ideal. Every team has some average, some below average, some idiots and to nullify the effect one or two above average members. I am referring these above average members as heroes. They will bring expertise, confidence and enthusiasm to the team which are required for any kind success.
We don’t have enough heroes in the market. We don’t even have average workers in the market!!.Worse we don’t have a process create them. Years of experience or big college name or hours of training won’t help. Only way I see is to get inspired by another hero. All I can say is if you find one hire him for your project. (You want your project to be in 20% right?). And don’t forget feed him! He might be a hero but he too needs food!