1. Recruit skilled and experienced people - Today's environment is more complex than ever. Tools like WebSphere® Studiohelp; but in the end, inexperienced people produce, at best, only mediocre results and, in most cases, fail because they do not understand good project management and the best ways to apply new technologies. An excellent Project Manager and Architect or Technical Lead provide joint leadership of the project. They set the tone of the project and have a vast impact on its ultimate success. If you have this type of resource, treat them well, very well. The project manager and technical lead should interview the other team members and they should have the final say about who joins the team. The rest of the team also needs to have above average skill and inexperience. Poor performers need constant attention and usually never "get it". In the end, they usually drag the team and slow down the progress. However, that does not mean the team cannot have junior level people. Often, they are more motivated to do well and shine given the opportunity. For example, in a team of 20 people, there might be 2 leaders, 6 senior resources, 9 mid-range resources, and 3 junior resources. This team of 20 people is broken down into 4 or 5 small sub-teams each with a team lead. IBM Software Services and IBM Global Services (IGS) have experienced Project Managers, Architects, Technical Leaders, and Consultants who can help with your project.
2. Use leading edge, not bleeding edge technology - Many Fortune 500 companies have successfully used mature technologies, such as J2EE and the WebSphere product family, for software projects that have had huge impacts on the way the company did business. In some cases, it is necessary to apply a leading edge technology that helps gain a distinct advantage over competition. However, there are risks with such a strategy and in this case, it is even more important to have excellent people on the project. Because there are few people with this kind of experience, it is important to get outside expert help. Projects that employ bleeding edge or untested technology should consider research projects. It might be useful to perform early proof of concepts on an emerging technology. However, it is unrealistic that a project based on such a technology can deliver in the same way or with the same costs as a project using more mature technology.
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