e-Talk Radio: DeMarco, Tom, 22 February 2001

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Summary:

Staff turnover, mis-sizing a project, inflation of size during the project, failure to specify, and variation in delivery rates are the top risks common to all IT projects. Listen as Ms. Dekkers and Mr. DeMarco talk about coming face to face with risks in software development projects.

TEXT TRANSCRIPT: 22 February 2001
Copyright 2001 Quality Plus Technologies and Carol Dekkers. All rights reserved.

ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Quality Plus e-Talk with Carol Dekkers, brought to you by StickyMinds.com, your online resource for building better software. This program will focus on the latest in the field of technology. All comments, views, and opinions are those of the host, guests, and callers. Now let's join your host, Carol Dekkers.

CAROL: Welcome to Quality Plus e-Talk! with Carol Dekkers. I am Carol Dekkers and welcome to show number eight. To anyone who is listening through the Internet or around the world, we would like to say welcome to our audience. This week's show number eight. I would like to mention for show number seven, Elizabeth Hendrickson, last week, there was a mixup. We had pre-taped the show. We will be re-airing that show on March 29, the show number thirteen. So on March 29, Elizabeth Hendrickson will be talking about how to evaluate software tools. This week I've got an incredible guest. I have had people that have sent me emails, they've phoned me, and they've said when is Tom DeMarco, the great Tom DeMarco, going to be on your show, and this is it. This is the show and I am, I am tickled pink I guess I should say. Welcome to the show, Tom.

TOM: Well, thank you Carol.

CAROL: I would like to introduce you by saying Tom is a principal of the Atlantic Systems Guild, a Fellow of the Cutter Consortium. He has made outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of software development through his writing, lecturing, and consulting. From his early work on structured analysis to his later contributions, he has absolutely, he epitomizes to me the world of software quality, the world of risk management, and the awards are just...they go on and on: the 1986 Warnier Prize for lifetime contributions in the field of computing; the 1999 Stephens Award for contributions to the methods of software development; the 1986 J.D. Warner Prize for lifetime contributions to the information science, is like the lifetime achievement awards for the Grammys, Academy Awards, and The Golden Globe all rolled into one, and I am absolutely thrilled to have you on the show, Tom.

TOM: Well, thank you, Carol. I am not sure if that is as great as all that...I think the right way to think of me is someone with scars all over his body from having personally made all the mistakes that characterize software projects and management of software projects. I just had a good memory of what caused each one of those scars.

CAROL: And...and one thing that I always remember about one of the first times that I met you, Tom, was in...I think it was in Minneapolis and you came out for dinner with us, and I was so stunned that Tom DeMarco would grace us at a dinner table, and it was great! Today, we're gonna talk about risk management, making success possible, an area of where absolutely you have had scars, battle...battle scars, and you have seen a lot of projects that have been good, bad, failed, and...and really I think that risk is something that you and Tim Lister in your seminars have really focused on and really made a lot of headway in that area. Would you agree?

TOM: Software is an intrinsically risky business, so it's not just myself, Tim, and other experts on the subject, who have come face to face with risk. In fact, all projects incur a lot of risks...and paradoxically it, it...the

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