M. A. P. Insights

Every year, I look forward to June as the Philippine National ICT Month. I’m not really sure what I want to celebrate this year in terms of what have been accomplished in ICT as a country.
In 2016, it was to celebrate the signing into law of the creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) which took almost 15 years in the making.
June 2017 was a bit quiet for the ICT Month for me because I was too eager to apply for my senior citizen card. But this year, I’m up and about to share with you the excitement of things I am unlearning to give room to new thinking in software delivery at this age of disruption.
This year’s theme of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), “Competing in the Age of Disruption,” is indeed relevant in the past and coming years for businesses and industries.
We have seen how software and technologies have transformed businesses and industries like Uber, Grab, Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, Google and many more.
Having spent the last 35 years in software delivery, I obsess with the goal of ICT to deliver software projects on time and within budget. Statistics have not been encouraging on successful software delivery.
In a McKinsey & Co research, conducted in collaboration with the University of Oxford, half of large IT projects, with initial price tags over $15 million — massively blow their budgets.
On average, large IT projects run 45% over budget and 7% over time, while delivering 56% less value than predicted. The study finds software projects run the highest risk of cost and schedule overruns. Even recently, Enterprise Project Management Hub reports the failure rates of IT projects are as high as 70%.
If we consider software as a complex product, then the use of management processes and work techniques that are radically different from software development which failed to deliver should be at the top Board agenda.
What can address the complex adaptive problems of businesses and effectively deliver products of the highest value? How can we enhance customer experience that would provide for a disruption-proof business and would leave competitors scrambling to catch up? There can be no room for complacency in an increasingly complex and competitive world; business must open to new ways of software delivery and be one step ahead of disruption.
In the AGILE software community, the manifesto is to uncover better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Organizations expect quality software delivered on time and within budget; but requirements keep changing! So instead of getting stuck with requirements defined months before, an agile ICT embraces the change and delivers product with the greatest business value first, while costs, time, and scope are still managed.
Software delivery in this age of disruption can be managed by specifying small, usable features of the product, avoiding costly year-long project surprises, in order for a working software to be delivered in weeks rather than months or years.
Many companies are embracing new ways like SCRUM, a process framework within which management can address complex adaptive problems while delivering products, like software, of the highest possible value.
In traditional waterfall software delivery, the Project Manager is responsible for scope, cost, quality, risk, and requirements.
In the SCRUM framework, these responsibilities are shared in different roles: SCRUM Master — guides the team in handling their tasks, makes sure there are no impediments; Product Owner — responsible for maximizing the value of the product by setting priorities for features; and the Development Team — professionals who do the work of delivering a releasable increment of the product, progress reporting and quality control. Organizations need not stick to slow and tedious ways when there are possibilities for flexibility to respond quickly to changes in requirements. Users can see a working software in days not months or years.
The SCRUM Master, the Product Owner and the Development Team work together as an agile team every day. Other management processes can also be integrated with the SCRUM framework in order to generate the productivity and much awaited value from software.
It is clear then — Agile software delivery is exciting and can prepare us for the age of disruption.
I look forward to see you at the Dusit Hotel in celebration of the National ICT Month and to moderate a panel of MAP members to discuss how technologies are preparing their businesses and industries to compete in this Age of Disruption.
The article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or the MAP.
Helen Perez-Macasaet is the Chair of the MAP ICT Committee and Chair of Pentathlon Systems Resources Inc.