Wednesday 5 April 2017

Cost Cutting in Custom Software – 6 : 52Hz Whale

52 Hz Whale - Designed by Srivatsan Aravamudan

Welcome to Cost cutting on Custom Software web series. To read the previous articles in the series please access the links below.

Post 1 – The introduction & 3 vital areas for cost cutting in custom software

Post 2 – The flash effect, describes how time management can help in cost cutting efforts

Post 3 – How preventative measures such as requirement document can help in cost reduction

Post 4 – Cosmetic Clutter, describes the effect of design and features on the cost of the software

Post 5 – Owlsome view, defines the wholes approach in estimation and use of draft RFP.

And, now the topic for today on this series is 52Hz Whale.

If you are wondering how whale language is synonym with cost of software development outsourcing, bear with me: we will get there soon. IEEE, a reach organization for programmers, developers and engineers in their article “why software fails” has stated that the amount spent on Information Technology is 1 Trillion dollars a year. Of all those projects 15% are abandoned because they are hopelessly inadequate. The article also explores the top three reasons why project fails, and they are:

  1. Badly defined user requirements – This we discussed in post 3,4 and 5
  2. Stake holder politics and
  3. Poor communication amongst customers, developers and user

Leaving the stake holder politics out of the equation,( which I believe must be handled within the organization) we are left with poor communication. Can you believe that one of the top 3 reasons to project failure lies in simplest and most preventative factor?

Now let us bring our focus to whales. Whales communicate to each other in unique sonic frequency. Much like different voices we humans have, whales have their signature frequencies ranging from 10-39 Hz. In late 90s, a research team working on whale communication found out there is a whale whose frequency is 52Hz, which as you can see, is outside the audible range for other whales.

The call to mate pattern of this whale neither resembles blue or fin whales. In other words, this whale would probably never find a mate or friend, and considered as the loneliest whale in the world. Whilst scientists believe- it could be because of mutation or deafness, (I guess you may now draw parallel to what I am focusing on this post) it proves how important it is communicate in the language understood by others. Customers, Project Managers and Developers often communicate in their own frequencies thus each mimicking the 52Hz Whale scenario.

Solution: Business Analyst to the rescue

An IT Business Analyst primary job is to understand and document the needs of the customers in the form of requirement specifications. And he acts as mediator between Developers, Technical Project Managers and Customers by translating Technical issues into Customer understandable business terms and vice versa. While BA is vital to any software development project, their presence is not a mandatory element in choosing the right software company for outsourcing.

If corporates are only looking at cost estimate timeline and experience of consultants, they are leaving out the most important factor out of the equation i.e. the importance of communication expert (BA who could translate and coordinate between the different frequencies of the stake holders). A clear communication can mean comprehensive estimation, and seamless delivery of the project.

I shall let you imagine the ROI and cost reduction benefits of such scenario. I urge you to verify whether the software consultancy has a Business Analyst, and make that verfication part of your outsourcing checklist. Thanks for dropping by and Have a great day!

   Srivatsan Aravamudan
   Telephone:+65 62689551
   Fax:+65 62689858
   Business Analyst - Snr Software Consultant.


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