Friday, September 24, 2004

Disciplined SDLC and technology start-up success

I’m back to utilizing my proven skills and knowledge again.  I was asked to perform technical due diligence on a couple of start-ups.  What usually happens is I show up and interview a few of the development team members for about 5 hours. I take a look at documentation, code, database schema, and a few other technical artifacts. Then I write a high level report about my findings.  It’s not meant to be detailed, and it can’t be, it’s all done within one days work. These are usually for angel investors who want better insight into an opportunity. During one of the summary sessions, I looked across the table to another technology person and said, “does a disciplined software development lifecycle (SDLC) have an effect on start-up success?”  Or is it all about having the right people with the right knowledge, in the right place at the right time. 

Does having a disciplined SDLC help you across the “valley of death” to commercialization?

Answer: I don’t know yet.  I will.  I read one document about the lightweight methodologies. These methodologies all speak to the importance of experienced developers and having some design and documentation standards. How much you ritualize depends on many factors, ritual can slow things down, yet, it keeps it all healthy. In a number of cases, ritual saved a projects success.  In others, it was undetermined. Either way what I have read so far is anecdotal.  I’ll write another blog entry about this when I find something quantitative and focused on software start-ups.